The sound of the babbeling brook relaxes me and helps my mind drift into
meditation. This is my Church. This is my Sacred Space. The creek's riffles and pools sparkle in the late afternoon sunlight, and the sound of the water rushing over the rocks sooths my soul and transports me to a calm and quiet place... even though I am less than two miles from my house!
Many people mistakenly think they need to leave the city limits to get in touch with Nature. The truth is, Springifled is blessed with many green spaces, all a short bicycle ride away.
The creek that so enchanted me is on the North Jordan Creek Trail of the Ozark Greenway Trails. This is just one of an ever-expanding bicycle and
pedestrian friendly trail system within Springfield. These trails also extend north to the town of Bolivar and west toward the Wilson Creek National Battlefield. Many of these trails run along side creeks. The North Jordan Creek Trail is an example of daylighting streams. For decades many urban streams were covered over by roads and infrastructure. In fact, at the end of the street where I lived in
the Detroit area had a bit of a "hill" - and for very flat Detroit it was quite noticeable. Someone told me it was a creek - Fox Creek. I could not imagine there being a creek under that mound of soil and road!
Springfield is blessed with many environmentally active people
and organizations. The Greater Ozarks Audubon Society (GOAS) is active in many conservation and education projects. Conservation efforts include the South Creek Trail of the Ozark Greenways. GOAS offfers frequent birding trips that are open to the public. And speaking of birds, you may be able to catch sight of a Yellow Crowned Night Heron in and around both the North Jordan Creek and South Creek trails!
There are numerous other groups in Springfield and the surrounding area, but one I would like to give a special shout-out to is the Missouri Master Naturalist, Springfield Plateau Chapter. This very active group is involved in many conservation, stewardship, and education projects throughout the Southwest Missouri region. The Master Naturalists partner with other organizations to foster environmental awareness. If there is project related to the environment happening in the Springfield area, chances are good a Springfield Plateau member of the Master Naturalists is a volunteer!
If you live in Springfield and desire to commune with nature, do not think you have to get into a car and drive a long distance to find beautiful groves of trees and fresh, clear springs! Get on your bicycle and ride "The Link" to one of the many wonderful Ozark Greenways Trails! Happy cycling!