Place Where You Live:

Inverness Park, California

A small deli, a bakery, a shop filled with treasures from around the world, and a quaint office building make up the small town of Inverness Park. Though the town may look small and deserted with an occasional passing car, so can a beehive but inside, the hive is vibrant and very much alive. Many houses fill the hills behind the town. Driving through Inverness Park takes a mere 15 seconds, lasting no more than 1500 feet. On the left side of the road are hills where the houses and stores are built. To the right of the road are recently restored wetlands. In the early 1900s the wetlands were dammed to create more grazing land for the Giacomini dairy cows. When my family and I moved back here in 1999, the dairy cows were still roaming the dammed wetlands standing at the fence, swatting flies with their tails while chewing grass. I saw them everyday driving home; the cows were part of the scenery, along with a few small goats in a pen along side the road. When we went to the deli, we would cross the street and watched the goats frolic and play, and we would feed them through the fence. The goats were always entertaining. Slowly the cows disappeared, so slowly that I didn’t even notice them leave. When things change slowly it’s hard to notice.

The dam was taken down in 2008 and the dairy cows were officially gone. The goats were on private property, where they were until a few months ago when I noticed they too had disappeared. Since 2008 the community has been working to restore the wetlands; more wild life, such as hawks, ducks, herons and other native birds, have began to appear again in the wetlands. Recently a bald eagle has been spotted across from the deli.

A road surrounds almost half of the wetlands and many people and children walk or ride bikes along the side of the road instead of driving. When the wetlands were restored, some of the community wanted to build a path inside the wetlands so that people wouldn’t have to walk along a busy road. In order to build the path a small footbridge would be built along one section of the path. Some people didn’t agree with building a bridge and thought that making a path through the wetlands would disturb the newly forming habitat. Others thought that making a path would encourage more people to walk; therefore fewer people would drive, which would help the overall environment. Who was right? Well, the bridge and path still haven’t been built, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be in the years to come. It may happen so slowly, we won’t even notice.