Volunteers ensure that the grass is always greener
By Sydney Coplin
The value of a park
By Morgan Tietz
The day the roses died: An audio story
By Orli Segall
Local climate literacy: Where does it come from?
By Eliana Schuster
Ode to a Park System
Poetry by Hailey Roos
Cedar Creek – the park, the trees, the green lawns
Developed a full century ago
But before that – what was it?
Untouched, natural, beautiful, pure nature
That we felt entitled to exploit,
For our own gains,
Our desire to get out of the city and into fresh air.
Recreation is no new phenomenon,
But it is a problem.
We use nature negligently.
Everywhere within the city limits of Allentown
Is within two blocks of a park.
But are those parks healthy?
Are we using them for our own health
To clear our minds
Breathe fresh air
Be away from it all
While trampling the very thing we love?
A century ago, untouched forest
Today, a public park exploited and redeveloped constantly
For its own betterment, of course
We know better than mother nature,
Allentown, a city with plenty of green space,
Two thousand acres of parks,
Thirty-five miles of trails,
Boastable for a city of this size.
Parks, oases, escapes from the tall grey and tan constraints
More green space, more recreational parks, more nature,
More and more and more.
To what end?
Warm childhood memories…
Eyes stinging with chlorine,
Laughing, splashing, cannonballing into the pool,
The ear-splitting whistle of the lifeguard,
Tightness of sunburnt skin,
Playing games in the park with friends,
Barreling down slides,
Swinging across monkey bars,
Racing from one end of the park to another,
Flying off swings,
Scraping knees on asphalt,
Happy, exhausted, content.
The innocence of loving something to death.
An unhealthy, impossible fantasy
“To him who seeks something more,
Recreation has become
A self-destructive process of seeking,
But never quite finding,
A major frustration of mechanized society.”
To enjoy the land, the parks, the precious green space,
We possess, invade, appropriate.
We destroy to create
Community pools, walking trails, basketball courts,
Skate parks, playgrounds, rose gardens,
Local recreational attractions.
Will it ever be enough?
Public outcry when these are not available,
We demand access and immediate fixes to public nature
The city spends a measly million or two annually
To fix the parks.
They are never good enough.
A petty crime, a constant state of dissatisfaction.
Do we spend more money on nature, or let it be?
By a city that is so obsessed with green space
That we cannot keep our hands off it.
Exploit and neglect.
Use what you can while you can.
The parks will always be there,
Is it natural to construct nature in this way?
Progress, connect, stabilize
Vicious cycle of flooding
Cedar Creek pinched by the bridge
Unable to flow naturally
And instead exploding.
We restructured nature for our own gains
And it backfired.
Years-long project to change what we had created and destroyed
Under the misconception that we were making nature more beautiful.
Remove the bridge,
Fix our mistakes,
But there is no way to fix the damage to our environment.
All other flood routes have been destroyed, beautified,
No longer can they serve their purpose.
When will the next flood drown the park?
Is it too late?
How much fixing can be done before nature is no longer natural?
West end of Allentown,
Far from the center of the city
But close enough
To need an escape.
Recreation, valuable in proportion
To the intensity of its experiences,
To the degree to which it differs from
And contrasts with
A life of work, industry, activity.
Cedar Creek Parkway,
The ideal retreat for city dwellers.
One hundred ten acres
Of carefully curated,
Nature – in its most unnatural state,
At the mercy of our recreational desires.
Roos graduated from Muhlenberg College with Bachelor’s degrees in both Media & Communication and Psychology. Growing up in the Pocono Mountains, Hailey developed a love for the outdoors. At Muhlenberg, she sought out the opportunity to create interdisciplinary work in both of her fields of study. When she is not writing about how the human species has caused a rapid demise of the planet, she enjoys hiking, reading horror novels, and binge watching Netflix.
The lanternfly invasion
By Julia Termine
Samantha Singman is studying her self-designed Digital Design major at Muhlenberg College. After transferring to the school, she took many journalism classes learning not only how to write for the media, but also the ethics. This prompted her to take environmental journalism so she could effectively convey the environmental concerns that she discusses with her friends during their walks in the Allentown parks. When not taking pictures in the parks, Samantha is playing around in photoshop while blasting Disney music.
Ella Bruck is a student at Muhlenberg College with a double major in Media & Communication and Anthropology . Ellaʼs hometown, Westchester, NY, is filled with preserved land that she doesn’t want to see destroyed. Outside the classroom, Ella enjoys exploring the surrounding Allentown area and spending time in nature with friends. Through classes and conversations with students and professors about land preservation, Ellaʼs passion for climate change prompted during her undergraduate career.