Thank You, Country Park

It’s time to wrap up! I will talk about some final thoughts and two of my friends I made at Country Park.

MoMo!

Here is my first friend; let me introduce you to MoMo. MoMo is a monarch butterfly. I was so surprised to see a monarch butterfly in real life…for the first time! I stood near it for a few minutes, but not close enough to scare it away. I watched its moves and actions and captured a picture of the cute butterfly above. I have seen a few butterflies in science museums, but never a monarch butterfly living in its natural habitat. Maybe in the future, I will see more monarch butterflies or even see MoMo again!

Stella!

My next friend was a ladybug I named Stella. Since a young age, I have always been fond of ladybugs, whether it be drawing them, reading or writing about them, or even finding them in my backyard. I always believed they had such a stellar beauty that made them so unique and elegant. Therefore, when I witnessed this ladybug perched on this tree, I gave it the name Stella. The ladybug crawled around the tree starting from the bottom of the trunk around, in a swirl, to the top of the tree where it disappeared in the branches and leaves above.

Final Thoughts

Overall, my journey through the depths of Country Park has been spectacular, exciting, and unique. These are the days where I have felt my best and had so many things to jot down in my diary (yes, I still keep one of those). Along with that, I learned so much about nature, including trees and animals, and even expanded my knowledge in history by looking into Country Park. As someone who suffers from severe anxiety and depression, my life’s most prominent obstacles are mental illnesses, I struggle with. For the first time in years, I felt free of those traps, like someone had found the key to unlock them from my mind, body, and soul, and set them free. Not only did it provide me with a sense of relief, but it also led me to feel a genuine feeling of peacefulness. In the other world, I am constantly inundated with voices and demands that become overwhelming at a certain point. But, in the woods of Country Park, it is as if these voices are put into a box, locked with a key, and thrown a million miles away to where their voices are nonexistent. The thought of being stripped from accessing this simple place for the rest of my life frightens me. In such a short time, I have gained an unforgettable and astounding connection—a new sense of independence, freedom, and ingenuousness connection with nature that I had never imagined having. Now, I look at Country Park as not only another home but a secret place to escape from reality. Thank you, Country Park, for giving me new knowledge and discoveries I never thought I would see.

Everything Has Flaws

Hey guys! I am back! Today, we are going to take a break from talking about interesting natural discoveries and look in to what I love about Country Park and things I wish were different.

It’s an Escape

Most people love to find a place where they feel they can let loose and relax. In a natural busy world, we as students, are piled up with assignments, tests, projects, and even finals coming up. However, the stress can be lifted when you feel like you are within a calm, serene environment. By spending more days in Country Park, I have grown to feel comfortable in the environment. Although insects and bugs, sometimes even animals, are not my favorite things to be around, I always enjoy being in the company of the quiet walls that trees form around me. I have found places where I can sit and read books or listen to my acoustic music. Furthermore, I even discovered a few places where the sunlight bounces off my skin and provides for some much needed Vitamin D. The picture above is where I sat one day doodling in my journal and thought the view above me was just gorgeous. Small things like this can make your day!

How my Mental Health has changed

Anxiety is a large part of my daily life. With social interactions to even stress that bump it to its max. Now, I have found a place where I do not feel those typical tensions and worrisome stomach butterflies. Yes, I know in the back of my head I have so much to do, but as soon as I enter Country Park, I try to forget it. This is a place that allows me to take a moment for myself and learn about naturally occurring processes and the plethora of natural beings I am surrounded with. Overall, Country Park and many places with trees, flowers, and more are beautiful and essential places for one to have and enjoy in their lifetime.

Invasive Species

As much as I love my place, there are some things that I have noticed that saddens me. First, are invasive species. It is virtually impossible to control those because they naturally occur, but affect the environment negatively. One that I have noticed are bush killers (Cayratia japonica) which shade trees to death. Also, I have seen lots and lots of kudzu. Kudzu may be beautiful to look out, but it kills plants by growing on them in such a fast-paced rate. In the lake, I saw many Brazilian water weeds (Egeria densa)which degrades the waterfowl. In regards to waterfowl, the park has instated a rule of not feeding any of the waterfowl to protect their health and help them live their lives. Here is a link to the brochure that the made regarding this topic: https://www.greensboro-nc.gov/home/showdocument?id=3026

Why do Humans Destroy?

Humans take advantage of all the natural beauty around them. They throw candy wrappers, chip bags, and a bunch of their junk all over the ground like the entire planet is their trash can. I have noticed people sit and have picnics with their family in the gorgeous park, but then ruin the moment by leaving their trash on the ground. Sometimes, people throw their junk in the lake too, which ruins the sparkle and glow of the water, just making it more green and brown. Some individuals do not take the time to realize what they are taking away from these living and non-living creatures. Just like we respect our homes, we should provide the same to other places, as well.

The Land

Let’s recap on some of the history of Country Park. In 1781, a war broke out against colonies in North America; a war more famously known as the Revolutionary War. One of the most significant battles of the Revolutionary War occurred right here in Greensboro, specifically at Guilford Courthouse (approximately an 8-minute drive from Country Park). At Guilford Courthouse, the British managed to gain a tactical victory over the American troops; however, the British also lost many members of their army at this specific battle. To preserve the prestigious piece of land in which the battle was fought upon, the Guilford Battleground Company purchased and adopted the land to be used as a national military park. The land that the company had acquired was a total of 125 acres. They made the decision to split this land into different pieces and represent them differently to the public. From the 125 acres obtained, a large portion was given to be used as a natural park. In 1924, the name “Country Park” was introduced. Just ten years later, on the Independence Day of 1934, Country Park had its official opening. As soon as it opened, Mayor Paul Lindley insisted that work must be done to the park so that it could act as a tourist destination. Immediately, funds and assistance flowed from the Civil Works Administration to  “beautify” the natural piece of land. The Federal Works Administration also aided in making the natural space vast and beautiful. Now, Country Park is located within the Battleground Parks District, which also contains the Greensboro Science Center, Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, and Forest Lawn Cemetery.

What Happened With the Land in that Century?

As soon as the war was over, the land stood there still, no human had touched or modified it. Trees were blooming in the woods, as well as deers and squirrels were relaxing in their homes. I learned in my APUSH class last year that during those years North Carolina was known for having large pieces of open, vast land. Eventually, people began to trade and purchase pieces of the land that comprised the, now, Battleground Parks District. It began when John Hamilton took possession of the land but later sold the land tract to William Reed in 1794. Then Reed sold it to Smith Moor in 1797, then Moore sold it to John Moore in 1798, then to Robert Lindsay in 1804. In 1828, the land was split and distributed to many people to begin renovations to “preserve the legacy.” They used trees to make the boundaries, for example, a beech tree marking the southwest corner of the land tract. Eventually in the mid-1880s after exchanges of the land and plans the land was given to Paul Lindsay who had the option to decide how he wanted to represent it, which he decided to make it a family-friendly park. Paul Lindsay left some of the nature to thrive and grow on its own; however, he added many human-made features to catch the eye of many visitors in the future.

I hope you guys enjoyed a glimpse into the history of the land comprising Country Park. Obviously, you can see that the land was just purchased and sold for most of the years, but during that time the land was left to be preserved and away from the public, with the hopes of keeping the legacy and essence of what the land is famous for. See you guys later!

Never Enough Trees

In my opinion, the largest part of nature are the trees and many plants you witness around you. So, today I have stopped by to talk about a few more trees I found in Country Park.

A version of a white flowering dogwood
Photo taken by me

The white flowering dogwood was located deep within the biking trail throughout Country Park. When I first noticed the dogwood, I was slightly confused because the branches were shrill and thin and there were very little white flowers blooming. Around Guilford College campus, I notice a few dogwoods here and there, and I remember David Petri pointing some out during our nature walk. However, this was different from any other dogwood I had ever seen which made it very special. I have been down these trails so many time but have not paid as much attention to the natural beauty around me until I began to write these blog posts. The sun hit the tree perfectly at this time of day, presenting it as the perfect place to sit near and study, read, or relax and listen to music. I walked up closer to observe this flowering tree and noticed a bee pollinating one of the flowers in the tree. With my fear of bees, I quickly scurried away, but I knew in the back of my mind I would come back to this spot again in the future.

Oak tree
Photo taken by me

The next tree I saw was an oak tree. Oak trees are very common to the southeastern United States, and you all are probably used to seeing so many of these all over Greensboro. What stuck out to me about this particular tree is how it is located in a bunch of emptiness and amidst a bunch of sidewalks taking away from its natural essence. Along with that, I saw a few squirrels run up the trunk of the tree into the leaves of trees, from an outsiders point of view, making them seem like they got lost within all the leaves and branches of the oak. I think about how people running around on these sidewalks and screaming can disturb the squirrel’s silent homes. Trees within the forest have such a loud silence that any slight noise bounces away. This oak tree presents itself as a decoration for the park, rather than a home and valuable addition to natural creatures and the rest of the natural world.

Conifer pine tree
Photo taken by me

This last tree is a conifer pine tree. I was very fascinated by the blur effect the leaves and conifers the trees produced. This was like art. Most of the pine trees I had seen in Country Park were Loblolly pine trees; however, witnessing a different type was an amazing change to the usual. The bark was spiny and bumpy, which gave it a satisfying feeling. Also, the tree was surrounded by many pine cones, which made sense since it is a pine tree. In a previous post, I focused on these conifers and the pines cones that this tree also produced.

Thank you for stopping by today. I look forward to bring you more memories from Country Park!

Subtle Discoveries: Country Park

Hi everyone, I am back and better than ever after spending a relaxing afternoon at Country Park. Typically in my blog posts, I tend to focus on the more significant discoveries and species I notice during my nature walks. However, on this day I took the time to notice all the subtle, unique ones that you do not get to see on a day-to-day basis. I hope you enjoy it!

Two large, red tulips
Photo taken by me

If you read my last blog post, you probably know I have a slight obsession for all things colorful and any flowers. Well, with spring comes the blooming of different species of flowers, so on my journey, I noticed some more. Specifically, was this pair of beautiful, red tulips. There were no surrounding tulips nearby, just those two which made me think: “Why are they standing alone?” This idea still fascinates me. If you have any ideas or thoughts, please feel free to let me know! Since I was young, tulips have always been my favorite flower. It all started with my grandmother. She would give me fresh tulips from her garden every single time I would visit her in India, and this became a fond memory and tradition between us. Sadly, two years ago she passed away. Now, whenever I see tulips, I think of her and seeing them in Country Park made my day.

Conifers
Photo taken by me

I approached a short tree during my walk. As I looked closer, there were small spiky balls that were broken up into singular lines in the tree. I tried researching to see what these are but had no luck. However, I do believe the tree was a pine tree, so my assumption is some type of budding or blooming pine cone. Maybe, conifers?Nonetheless, the species was unique and abstract. The shape it made was different from any I had seen in nature. From afar, it blended in with the scenery of the tree and the surrounding nature, but up close you can see them hidden within the tree. I had not expected to encounter many subtle aspects in the natural pieces of Country Park, so I was excited to have discovered this.

Spiky, singular pinecone
Photo taken by me

Last, but not least, of course, was a pine cone. Pine cones are something you can typically notice anywhere where there is nature. However, I usually do not take the time to sit down and observe the patterns or texture on the pine cone, so I quickly changed that when I encountered this little guy. There is always room for error, but based on research and analyzation, I believe this pine cone is from a Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). It was intriguing to the see how the little “doors” of the pine cone at the top were open, but as you move down they gradually close until the bottom is completely shut. I believe these doors are called the apophysis of a pine cone. From previous research, pine cones open and close based off temperature and humidity. Generally, a pine cone opens during hot, humid weather for the seeds to be released and close when it is the opposite climate. So, it was interesting to see half of it opened, and half of it closed.

Overall, I learned a lot through this trip and got the opportunity to discover small, subtle aspects of nature. Moreover, this allowed me to do more research, which was quite interesting. I recommend taking a day to look for small things because it can lead to wonders. Until next time. Thank you!

Flowers, Flowers, and More Flowers

The best part of the year has arrived…spring and all the beautiful, colorful flowers. Today, I went on a nice walk with my friend Emma, but I left my phone in my car so she took the courtesy of taking pictures of discoveries we encountered. On my adventure through Country Park today, I observed many blooming flowers and colors. It was a nice change from the bare trees of the winter. If you want to witness some of the flowers I found fascinating; please continue to read (I don’t know why you would not want to!).

A close up picture of the pink and white flowers of the Dogwood tree.
Photo taken by Emma

The first color that caught my eye was a bright, vibrant pink. These flowers were budding off of a tree more commonly known as a flowering Dogwood. However, the scientific name of this tree is the Saucer Magnolia. I focused more on the flowers and how the vibrant pink brought a type of “quirkiness” to the park. This part of the park was located near the more open trails. These trails are not centered between the towering trees of the woods but around the park where people tend to go on runs or walk their dogs. At that moment, I dedicated this trip to discovering flowers and colors throughout the park. Who doesn’t love a little added vibrancy to their day?

A beautiful purple-flowered shrub
Photo taken by Emma

Next was purple. I encountered a gorgeous purple flowering shrub. I am not sure what exactly this species, so if you do, please let me know! I thought that it could be some purple lilacs or purple blue-eyed grass, also known as “Sisyrinchium” What fascinated me was the fact that so many flowers were on the shrub and it is only early spring. Around this purple bush was drab brown and dark green colors, as shown (slightly) in the picture above. The addition of the bright purple added liveliness to the surroundings, making it all more enjoyable!

Natural blooming white Mandevillas
Photo taken by Emma

As I was strolling through the trails, I noticed long pieces of grass. In the distance, I could see some white, so I ventured towards the color. Eventually, I encountered some spread out white Mandevillas. Their natural beauty was unbelievable. The flowers were tall and sturdy with delicate, crinkled white petals. Within the petals were a bright, yellow core. Staggered in between these flowers were some little purple flowers branching out. Some people may think that white can be a dull color. However, whenever I picture spring in my mind, I think of these white flowers since they grow in the woods around my neighborhood and I remember picking them and giving them to my mom when I was younger.

Yellow pansies!
Photo taken by Emma

Coming to the end of my trip the last color I noticed was yellow. The yellow pansies were short, and there were only a few who were hidden in the bushes. I look forward to coming back to this specific location in Country Park (in the woods and close to the lake) to see if more of these delicate, yellow flowers have grown. Since there were three located in close proximity to each other I took a picture but expanded it to show how they were hidden within the shrub.

Wow, what a colorful trip! And this early in the spring! Thank you for joining me throughout this adventure. I look forward to coming back and recounting more of the wonders I see in Country Park. Thank you so much!

Country Park’s Attractions

Hi everyone, I’m back and it is beginning to feel like spring, with the sharp rays of sunlight and crisp warmth. Let’s look into many reasons why you should go and explore Country Park

One of the many trails entering into the woods

Trails and More

The main attraction of Country Park is the park aspects. The trails in the woods and the park equipment, such as swings and slides. Parents, grandparents, teachers, and more bring young children to enjoy the various aspects of the park, but it is not only the swing sets that entice them. Children and families enter the park to explore the natural beings they are surrounded with by taking the trails and pathways located throughout the woods into an advantage. The trails allow you to encounter many different species of plants and animals, including some that I have mentioned in previous blog posts. Along with that adventure, families are open to using 8 of the picnic grounds located around the park. One of the main ones are those situated beside the lake, which is a gorgeous view of the water, wildlife, and the woods.

Stephen M. Hussey Bark Park

The BarkPark
https://www.bringfido.com/attraction/219

The bark park allows pets, not only dogs to have space outside to roam around and interact with other animals of their species. This park is Greensboro’s first off of the leash dog park which was established in March of 2003. The park was developed in honor and memory of Stephen M. Hussey, who was one of the BarkPark Fundraising Committee’s founding members. The BarkPark looks less furnaced and refined like the rest of the park. It is dirty, muddy, gassy and well the perfect environment for main dogs and other animals to enjoy themselves and feel surrounded their own. I am not the biggest fan of dogs, but I had to babysit my neighbor’s dog once. I took him over to the BarkPark and let him run around for two hours. In the time, I threw him a few toys, and he played around with his fellow dog friends he made. On the way home, he did not stop wagging his tail. The dog park provides a serene yet exciting atmosphere that is very similar to the rest of the park.

Biking

A bike trail in Country Park
https://www.singletracks.com/bike-trails/country-park.html

Biking is a significant attraction of many parks. However, people tend to bike only on sidewalks or roads that are human-made in the park. In Country Park, those roads and sidewalks are available to bike in, but there are bike paths located in the woods that is perfect for a quick natural view during a bike ride. I, typically, go to Country Park to bike, as well. One of the main things I enjoy about the paths in the woods is being able to stop whenever I want to and be able to take pictures or explore a new tree, animal, insect, flower, and more than is possible to discover in a small period of time over a vast distance.

That is all I have to talk about for today. In the future posts, I will talk more about personal experiences, history, and natural facts. See you later!

Let’s Learn Some History!

Hey everyone I am back! Today I am going to dive in to some history regarding Country Park!

Former Country Park Lakes
https://www.greensboro-nc.gov/home/showdocument?id=30036

The Beginning

Country Park was an idea that began with the Revolutionary War. One of the significant battles of the Revolutionary War was at the Guilford Courthouse (approximately an 8-minute drive from Country Park). The Guilford Battle was identified as National Military Park in 1917. Following that, in 1924, Country Park was a part of a piece of land purchased along with bonds for a cemetery, having its official opening on Independence Day of 1934. The park was opened, and work began due to the initiative of Mayor Paul Lindley with funds and assistance flowing from the Civil Works Administration. That is not all, the Federal Works Administration aided in making the natural space vast and beautiful, while keeping its essence. Many families residing in the “Greensborough” area would come here with their families to feed the geese and have outdoor picnics. Furthermore, children would come here to have free and open space with their friends and even time alone exploring the outdoors. Back then, humans mainly enjoyed the bathhouses and boardwalks around the lake.

Veteran’s Memorial

The Guilford County Veteran’s Memorial

The main historical attraction in Greensboro’s Country Park is the Guilford County Veteran’s memorial. The memorial was established on September 14, 2002. It contains an open circular path, a ring of walls that describes some of the most significant wars Guilford county participated in, and an array of bricks listing the people who served in the military. The wars mentioned in the memorial are the Persian Gulf War, Panama, Lebanon and Grenada, Vietnam War, Korean War, World War 1, World War 2, and the Civil War. My personal favorite part of the memorial is the bronze plate with many of the seals of militants from the war. Many people tend to disregard the fact that Greensboro has a very significant background, which includes people sweating, bleeding, and fighting for their country near where Country Park is located and internationally. The inclusion of the Veteran’s Memorial provides appreciation to those who fought for the legacy of this city and have provided us with the freedom and joy we encompass now.

If you want more information!

In my future blog posts, I hope to research more on how Country Park is a large part of the Battleground Parks District. Country Park encompasses a large part of the district and is one of the most significant developments for human interaction and entertainment in the past. Now, it continues to live to that level providing friends and families a beautiful and natural place to enjoy some fresh air and even learn some history at the Veteran’s War Memorial. Thank you for stopping by! See you later!

Important websites: https://www.greensboro-nc.gov/home/showdocument?id=30036 and https://docsouth.unc.edu/commland/monument/572

Country Park: Hikes and Trees

Memories

Hey everyone, I’m back! Today we are going to get a little personal and talk about my favorite memory of the park, as well as favorite spot in it. I went on a hike and had a picnic with some of my best friends, who I have known for almost 3 years. We ventured into the woods initially to take some pictures of ourselves but instead were intrigued by the many new spots we discovered. Eventually, we found ourselves in beautiful place that was shaped like a circle with many logs around. For almost an hour, we sat around and talked, laughed, listening to the natural sounds around us. Afterwards, we went on another hike in some of the trails within the park surrounding the large lake. Some of the species of plants we noticed were oak trees, loblolly pine trees, bermuda grass (scutch grass), and centipede grass (Eremochloa ophiuroids). They ranged in size and color, with the trees being tall and towering over us, and the grass being soft, delicate, and long.

Hiking through the grass and various trees with my people

An Unusual Discovery

As we were walking around, my friends and I noticed a large, bent over, and broken tree. It was perched overtop another tree and a few bushes, looking like a ramp into the lake. I was immediately captivated by this place, as exhibited in the picture below. The broken tree was an oak tree, overtop many common green shrubs. I sat on the branch and listened to the chirps of the birds, the slow swishes of the wind, and the light splashes in the water of the lake. These combined made a stress-free, soothing, and natural noise; it was hard to compare to anything I have ever heard. Already knowing this was a spot I would return to, I made sure to take a picture of my surroundings to remember where to come to. “The spot” seemed like the perfect place to bring a book or homework and sit perched upon or near the tree listening to the natural sounds and be able to feel motivated and productive.

Fascination

As I said previously, the tree was an ordinary oak tree, but it had a thick trunk and small thin branches hanging around the area from being bent. Around the edges of the tree, there were many pointy pieces, one I actually scraped my leg on. Also, the beautiful green leaves were scattered across the ground making for a nice layer across the mud that was not covered in soft grass. Even though the tree was broken and away from its herd of trees surrounding it, it still seemed connected to them as it provided a gap in the trees to allow direct sunlight to pass through and hit the lake. The sun intertwined each piece of the park creating a unique aura around Country Park.

A broken, but strong tree

Recently, the Greensboro weather has been rainy and gloomy, causing the environment to be at a low. Hopefully, the weather will become sunny and warm again so I can go on another exploration in the park.

Country Park: Scenery & Geese

First Impressions

Country Park has been a place that I feel a personal connection to every time I go there. This was the place that I made some of my first friends in High School, had my tennis team picnics, hung out, took pictures, and even hiked with my best friends. The image below gives an overview of the center of the park containing the lake, with the woods around a beautiful picnic spot. Today was a bright sunny day and had convinced my best friend Spandan to venture into the park with me. The first thing we noticed was the multitudes of geese…everywhere!
As you can see in the picture below, some of the geese were swimming around in the water, but many were on land. Anyway, as we enjoyed this sunny day, we dipped our feet in the water. The lake water was slightly muddy but had a chilling feeling to it which was very soothing. We could see much little fish in it but did not really notice anything extremely large or captivating, other than a common carp and the geese. The common carp was easy to identify because of the single and long dorsal fin as well as the large scales along its body. I was not able to capture a picture of it, but hopefully, I will in a future blog post!

The beautiful scenery of the main lake and one picnic ground

Let’s Talk about Geese!

The first thing my eyes were drawn to was the geese. I know, geese are not that exciting, you see them at every park and really any place with a lake. Still, I think it is essential to acknowledge them and their importance to wildlife and nature. This particular species of geese is called the Canada goose. These type of geese are made up of brown bodies, long black necks, a white cheek patch, as well as a relatively long black bill. According to a post containing information on it at the park, they say that the residential geese are important by spreading the seeds of the plants they eat. This, in turn, helps the many species of plants to thrive. One thing that my friend and I noticed is that the geese tended to stay on land and rarely go in the water, but we were able to capture some in the water. What was really heartwarming when we saw a small child, about the age of 4, bring bread crumbs and sit and feed a herd of geese. He seemed so entertained and genuinely happy to be surrounded by nature and wildlife. Though it looks geese would not have an impact on people or the habitat they live in, they act as an attraction to the ecosystem and keep it alive and thriving. I had a fantastic time walking through the park for the first time in a while and capturing some much needed fresh air, releasing a lot of stress I have had recently. In a later blog, I hope to venture out and look at some of the specific trees and plants that encompass the park.

Canada Geese!!!