Saturday, July 5, 2008

Bad fences make bad neighbors

While strolling my two-year-old daughter, Rosa, over to the East Parkway playground today, I looked across the Greensward and noticed a big patch of weirdly discolored foliage along the Memphis Zoo's fence line.

Since that's not normal for this time of year, I walked over to check it out and noticed a lot of freshly-scraped bare dirt inside the fence.

Roy did a post two months ago on the shape of things to come that's worth re-reading at this point. Go ahead, I'll wait...

Back to today's view of the Zoo's landscaping adjacent to Rainbow Lake, it looks like someone got busy with the RoundUp (another Project Habitat Award Site, maybe?) because they wanted to kill those poison ivy vines.

Okay, well... nobody loves itchy blisters, but even if you were never taught to avoid the leaves of three, it's unlikely that anyone would choose to snuggle up next to a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire that's located at least ten feet away from the Rainbow Lake walking path. Why bother killing the vines? I'm sure the many bird species who feed on poison ivy berries would have appreciated the nourishment later this year.

Rosa and I resumed our walk along the paved road that makes the Old Forest such a freely accessible place for everyone to visit, and soon heard a motor approaching.

That ATV was loaded down with Zoo employees (and their extensive collection of weed-whackers) who had obviously just finished clearing out the rifle sight lines along the perimeter of the Zoo's 17-acre Green Zone.

Why else would the Zoo need to maintain a 15- to 30-foot wide DMZ inside their fence line, killing the understory outright and causing fatal and irreversible damage to the root systems of all of the adjacent trees?

Then, I walked around the corner and noticed that the telephone pole that normally blocks motorized access to the interior park roads had been shoved aside.

And a minute later, two stonefaced dudes in Zoo-burgundy polo shirts blew past in their zippy little utility cart. We waved. They didn't even slow down as they left us in the dust.


Stacey Greenberg said...


Bernhard Meck said...

Stoney-faced is what they all are. But then they are not hired to be social butterflies or thinking ambassadors. The zoological society doesn't pay decent living wages and employee turn-over is ever so high at the zoo now compared to the days the city ran it. Now under Brady and his autocratic rule there is only room for his personal yes-men and hired talking heads to make declarations of the official line to the media. Employees are, I understand, forbidden to talk to the media or 'outsiders' as some of them whispered to family members: "we are not allowed to talk especially not to media". If the zoo is trying to become a landmark attraction like DISNEY WORLD it has a long way to go - manners and communication skills are disturbing! The zoo is becoming more and more like a cult, an ugly cult of hacks, doing its 'business as usual', patrolling a DMZ, now possibly poisoning the forest(?) or cutting it down as it sees fit. Expect watch-towers, cameras and further alienation from the city. Before long the dear leader of the zoo will hire his next of kin and keep the more gullable citizens amused with dog-and-pony shows of cute baby animals every time the political heat comes on...
Memphis deserves better - maybe the park and the zoo can heal the day new management comes in.

gatesofmemphis said...

Chainsaws, bulldozers and now ATVs, weedeaters and Roundup. High, very high, impact.

Anonymous said...

funny that the zoo doesn't pay livable wages but Brady himself makes about $145,000 (or was making ... this was his salary in 2006). I understand that he is able to reward himself with wages as long as the zoo's revenue keeps increasing. Which makes one wonder if expansion is a revenue-increasing plan selfishly being pushed by Brady. Greed turns good people bad. In this case, though, citizens of Memphis are the losers.

rach said...

True the zoo does not pay much, I should know. but what job does now days. and these people are just doing their jobs just like the rest of you.

jhon said...

We believe it's high time for the Memphis Zoo to tear down the fence and return this 17.5 acres to the citizens who own it. Public parkland does not belong in a cage.swimming pool fence