In response to public outcry over the proposed development of Sanctuary Woods, Alderman John Dubinski offered an idea at the Wauwatosa Community Affairs Committee meeting April 11. His idea is to rezone previously protected County Grounds park land for development in “exchange” for preserving a portion of Sanctuary Woods. To me, the proposed development in County Grounds Park has no potential for true growth. Any venture that exploits (i.e. pollutes, destroys or extracts from) wild spaces in the name of economic growth does not acknowledge the inherent value of natural systems.

I want no more homogenization of diversity. I want no more bulldozed habitats. I want no more compromises on protecting wild spaces. I want no more development on the County Grounds; not in Sanctuary Woods, not on preserved prairieland, not anywhere.

We must shift away from a primarily economic viewpoint to encompass a broader framework. “The land ethic,” Aldo Leopold wrote, “simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals.” The city of Wauwatosa is not utilizing a land ethic. We continue to treat the biotic community as separate from us, and continue to see short-term benefits and profits rather than long-term solutions.

Why don't we put our energy and funding into renovating already-developed places in Milwaukee County, like downtown Milwaukee or sections of North Avenue in Tosa? Why is it necessary to destroy nature to create a “new metropolitan center” when we already have centers that feel abandoned?

The preserved prairieland in the County Grounds provides habitat for innumerable species of insects, plants and animals, and a place of respite for all of Milwaukee County's urban dwellers. In terms of these decisions having a “lasting impact on our entire community,” let us consider this: will our great-grandchildren have access to clean water and air? Will they be able to walk alongside deer, monarchs, catnip, milkweed and maple trees? Will all of these living beings be given proper acknowledgement as equals in our community? I pray that we shift our orientation quickly, so that they may.

To read the draft of the Wauwatosa Life Sciences District Plan, see To view a schedule of meetings regarding the approval process of the plan, including two dates with public comment periods (May 15 and July 18), go to:

In the name of wild things,

Rose Hayes-Dineen

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