While taking a quick walk Friday afternoon to enjoy the new warmth in the air and survey the trails, I came across a sad sight. I found Elmo lost in the woods of Hoffler Creek. Not only was Elmo lost, he had been abandoned purposefully but without as much as a thought, I can assure you. Elmo had come in on a happy child who was lucky enough to be out on a beautiful spring day enjoying nature. Obviously, Elmo’s family understands the importance of sharing nature with children. So, I am not sure what circumstances would have lead to the decision to deliberately and neatly wrap up Elmo and toss him into the woods along the Lake Ballard Trail, leaving Elmo in a place that is otherwise as devoid of trash as humanly possible.
Elmo, you see is a disposable diaper - a used disposable diaper that had been sitting there just a short time, but long enough to be bursting at the seams from rain water saturation. If I had not found Elmo when I did, he could have literally lay next to that tree for the next 500 years, the amount of time it takes a disposable diaper to break down. While lying there, Elmo could have been eaten by a confused animal and poisoned them with some of the harmful compounds found within or, while slowly decomposing, put toxins into the environment that can cause hormonal disruption to the resident fauna of Hoffler Creek.
So, you will be glad to know that Elmo wandered back to the office with me. He will now take a trip to the landfill where he will decompose for the next 500 years. But, at least he will be decomposing in the right place.
At Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve, we ask that you pack out all of your trash. We do not provide trash receptacles for the safety of our wildlife and to keep our operating costs down so that we can remain open free of charge to our visitors. Please, please come prepared to take your trash out with you after your visit. It can be inconvenient but it is extremely important. It is part of respecting the wildlife here. This is their home, and it’s the only one they have.