steroids buy

Carmine Stahl

INTERVIEWEE: Carmine Stahl (CS)
DATE OF INTERVIEW: February 23, 1997
LOCATION: Houston, Texas
NUMBER OF TAPES: two, both sides
TRANSCRIBER: Judy Holloway
REEL: 1003

Please note that “Misc.” refers to various unrelated off-camera conversation or background noise, unrelated to the interview.

[Tape 1 of two.]

DT:All right. This is February 23, 1997, and I’m David Todd and I’m interviewing Carmine Stahl about conservation in the Houston and Southeast Texas area, and I wanted to start by just thanking Mr. Stahl for sharing some time and memories with me. I have some questions and I hope that they lead to some–some memories.
One of the things I thought I might start with was some of your early days, and it looks like a continuing interest was directing camps for children. And I was curious if you could tell me a little bit about what you see as the role for the outdoors and for nature in a child’s education and upbringing.
CS:Oh, I think it’s extremely important, David. We–currently, I’m working with Harris County Precinct For Parks, at Jesse Jones Park. We get thousands of school children, Scout groups–Girl Scouts, Brownies, Cubs, all of them–through the year. And, as time passes I realize more and more how important a relationship to the world we live in is to these kids, because they–they don’t have the kind of association with nature and with the natural world that people had a generation or two ago. When we were a rural society in the United States, almost everyone at least knew where–a neighbor who had some chickens and a cow, [laughs], and could go down the field and–and watch somebody mowing hay, and could go to the creek and fish a little bit or do whatever–that would associate them out there with the outdoors. Now in our urbanized society, we have so many millions of children who have very little contact with nature, and with the world outside city walls and streets. And we get kids who come to us and ask us–when we tell them we’re gonna take them on a field trip, gonna take them on a nature walk in the park, they’ll ask us, “Are there cobras out there, are there tigers?” The primary source of–of information that they’ve had, unfortunately, about the world around has been the fright movies that Hollywood has done, and that they’ve seen on television so much, over and over and over. “The Birds” and …
DT:Hitchcock’s “Birds”?
CS:… those killer bees and–hmm?
DT:The Hitchcock movie, “The Birds”?
CS:Oh, yeah. Well–well, all this kind of thing.
CS:Horror movies involving Nature, …
CS:… and–and creatures out there that really most of the time are pretty benign.
DT:I see.
CS:And–and they’re scared to death of that, and–and they’re in far more danger down there on the streets where they live, you know, than they would ever be out in the natural world in the United States of America. But they’re scared to death of it and this is the thing that–that really troubles me–that they have such a distorted view of Nature because of the tendency of Hollywood and television to dramatize it in–in ways that are frightening. People love to be scared, of course, and–and so on and on we go. A scary movie, scary stuff out there.
DT:Well, I notice that you had worked with the Southeast Poison Control Office, and did you find that people would call in with problems that were, you know, maybe sort of unrealistic about the fears of things with claws and thorns, that Nature was …
DT:… was a pretty malevolent thing?
CS:[Laughs.] Well, actually, the Poison Control Center is a very, very fine and a very astute …
CS:… facility and they do handle many, many serious cases of poisoning every year. The majority of those are poisonings from household chemicals.
DT:Is that right?
CS:Stuff Mamma puts down the drain and, you know, that–all this kind of thing.
DT:Right, right.
CS:There are some plant poisonings each year. There’re quite a few berries out there that’re pretty and bright and red and–and alluring …
CS:… to kids, look like they ought to be good. So they pop them into their mouths, you know, and they get real sick from it. There are very, very few deaths in this country from poisoning from natural materials but there are a few every year. And, yes, Poison Control Center does a real good job. Household plants–unfortunately there are–lots of household plants are–most of the philodendrons, the Arum family plants that we grow in the house. Polfost[?], the–Devil’s ivy, as we call it, on the–Diefenbachia, all these are in that family. And they have oxalate crystals that set a person’s mouth on fire and cause swelling of the–of the mouth tissue and the throat tissue and that kind of thing, creating the possibility of swelling so severe that it might cut off the–the breathing and …
DT:I see.
CS:… those plants are ‘course in every home.
CS:And they get a lot of calls from them because a little kid will start munching on a–on a philodendron leaf, …
CS:… or–even the pets do it, you know.
CS:’Course the dogs and cats and unfortunately, despite what you might hear from some people–and I’ve even heard this on–on some pretty prominent programming on our local radio here–you cannot go by what critters eat. They do not know always what’s poisonous and what’s not. Cows, horses, sheep every year die, sometimes multitudes, from eating the wrong thing. Dogs and cats get real sick, you know. ‘Course if a dog bites into a Diefenbachia leaf he runs yipping around the house, or a child will scream and run to Mamma right away because it sets their mouths on fire.
DT:I see.
CS:That’s the fortunate thing about it. Although it’s poisonous and it’s–potentially dangerous, the first bite is all they take. [Laughs.]
DT:Well, that’s good. Maybe it puts ’em on notice.
CS:Yeah. Well, there’s enough about the poisonous plants. Really, there are a lot of poisonous plants out in nature.
CS:And the potential is that a kid will see a bright berry or a flower or something that looks really good to them and pop it in their mouth, ’cause little children especially have not learned to discriminate very well, and you know, kids crawl around on the floor. Put things in their mouths, whatever they find, on the floor, [laughs], …
CS:… in every household, so–that’s the thing to watch out for, but–there are a lot of–of very fine edible things out there in Nature, too, and we really know only a very small percentage of the–the plants that are native to North America and other parts of the world, that either are edible or–or poisonous.
DT:Well, that’s–that’s what brings up a question I had. It–it seems like very little is known about the world of plants and we’re always learning more. And I–I’m curious how you found out about, you know, edible plants and poisonous plants and–and their effects on people. Was–did you have a–a friend or mentor or some teacher early on, or …
CS:My mentors were my parents, primarily. My dad was one of the last of the old-time country doctors up in Arkansas in the Ozarks, northwestern Arkansas–and he loved plants. My mother did, too, especially the beautiful, delicate-flowered native plants. We would go on long jaunts when I was a child–my brothers and parents–and we would walk over the hills and climb the mountain and gather a few of the beautiful column vines growing under the waterfalls and down the hillside, bring some verbena home and plant it in our rock gardens. We had some very extensive rock gardens and–that we cultivated all the time. My dad knew the plants very well and he knew their Latin names. I grew up, you know, just with–with Latin names for the plants or–or the generic names for the plants as–being as–as easy for me as–as the common names, and–at that time almost all medicines were plant-derived. Now so many ‘course are synthetically–formulated in the laboratory, which is fine, but then practically all of them were derived directly from plant compounds. This is–we’re talking–I was a child in the Depression years–1920’s, ’30’s, and early ’40’s, along then. And–so, Dad knew these plant properties so well.
CS:He taught me so many of the things that did have toxic qualities or that did have–potential edible qualities, that kind of thing, as well as to appreciate the beauty of–of the flowering plants. But, my folks–everyone was poor then, and I grew up in rural Arkansas where people depended on hunting, fishing, and even gathering some wild edible plants for a part–a serious part of their livelihood.
CS:And, poke salad?
CS:Do you remember “Poke Salad Annie,” the song?
CS:Poke salad was a constant spring vegetable, with us every spring. We went over the fields and dells and gathered poke salad, and we also gathered things like lamb’s quarter and doc and–several other thins. The berries–of course we picked berries and Grandma made cobblers and, [laughs], …
CS:… and we–we ate a lot of–of wild things. Actually we knew only a tiny fraction of those things that are edible and very good. If I had known at that time what I know now about the edibility of–of many plants, we’d hardly’ve had to go to the store, you know, but …
CS:… this–[laughs]. But–but the things that people gather across the rural South, …
CS:That’s …
CS:… poke and doc and–that sort of thing.
DT:You know, that’s–it’s interesting because I hear that from a lot of people I’ve been talking to, that–they say that one of the reasons they got involved in conservation was just a very natural thing connected to the–they grew up during the Depression. They had to do without things, they had to reuse …
CS:O.K. Um-hmm.
DT:… things, and make the most of–of what they were, you know, able to–to find. And …
DT:… and that–it sort of distresses ’em nowadays to see how cavalier people are and–with disposable sort of items in …
CS:Ah. That’s true.
DT:… in every part of their life.
DT:And is it like that for you? I mean, …
DT:… beyond the–the plant knowledge that you’ve got, …
CS:Yeah. I saw a lot of hungry people, hungry kids that went to the–what we called grade school and elementary school with me, who sometimes didn’t have anything at all to eat.
CS:There were others who would share, of course. And, we had–if someone had an apple, at lunchtime on the playground, there was always somebody at his elbow who would say, “Dibbies on the core.” Yeah.
CS:This is–you know, it sounds incredible but that’s–the way it was, um-hmm.
DT:Well, I–I notice that you–you worked a lot with–with underprivileged kids and disadvantaged children, you know, through much of your life and I–I’m curious how they view environmental issues when it–so often it’s a–a white-collar, white-skinned …
DT:… middle-class issue.
CS:Um-hmm. Um-hmm.
DT:And I’m wondering if–you know, if you’re poor and black and you come from the inner city, what is–what do you think Nature means to them and is conservation important?
CS:Um-hmm. Yeah.
DT:What do you think?
CS:Well, I think very unfortunately that minority and very poor urban children and their–and adults, …
CS:… have been very slow to be involved in environmental issues and conservation. They have been hard pressed to try to lift themselves economically and socially, and that has been the thing that–that they have worked at so hard of course for past decades.
CS:And there is, I think, the beginnings now–I think there are beginnings of interest in minority communities, because they’re discovering that they’re discriminated against environmentally, because it’s those parts of the city that are the poorest where most frequently, dangerous toxic chemicals are dumped, land fills are–are developed–things like that. And–and they–mostly minority, inner-city, industrial-area populations are the ones that are most at risk environmentally and with–with the–the toxins and–and the problems that we develop. Bad air, bad water, the whole schmear.
DT:Um-hmm. Yeah.
CS:And so we–we’ve been working hard to try to–to get minority peoples in–involved in the conservation-environmental movement. And–and it has been slow and difficult because–well, there’re several reasons. One, so many of the people who live in these urban areas now have not had the kind of contact with Nature that–that we all had a generation or so ago because they’d been isolated from it.
CS:They have not developed an–a love or appreciation for it unfortunately.
DT:Well, it must be like, you know, loving something that’s on the moon. You know, it’s …
CS:Yeah. That’s right.
DT:… that it’s not accessible.
CS:Yeah. That’s it. Um-hmm.
DT:What–what other things that come to mind about–obstacles to–to blacks and browns getting involved because I know it’s a–it’s a real …
DT:… problem, I guess, for the environmental movement is that–you know, the …
DT:… the society’s changing and white folks are on the …
DT:… decline and–and browns and blacks are on the in–you know, increase and …
DT:… and, you know, are those people gonna be concerned about the same things? I …
CS:Well, again, I think that the–the tremendous effort to achieve some equality, some justice, …
CS:… socially, economically, that sort of thing, has been the preoccupation, and that largely to this point they’ve looked upon the environmental movement as being kind of a white man’s hobby.
DT:Sort of a luxury item.
CS:Yeah. That’s right. Um-hmm.
DT:Well, what do you think? I mean, do you–do you see things as being dire and critical or a–you know, that it’s–that it is superficial to be worried about environmental trends or do you think it’s–important?
CS:Oh, absolutely not, absolutely not. We’ve made great strides. I am impressed with what has been done.
CS:We have better air now, we have better water. We have cleaner …
CS:… cleaner air and cleaner water because of the efforts people have made over the past 30 and 40 years. And, so many places have been cleaned up. Life has come back in–in places like the Houston Ship Channel that was …
CS:… absolutely lifeless two or three decades ago.
CS:It’s not a place yet that you’d want to, you know, take a drink from, but, [laughs], …
DT:Right, right.
CS:… but it is so much better, so much better, and–the toxins that are not continually killing the ship channel are also not going on into Galveston Bay, which is one of the biggest sources of seafoods in the whole United States.
CS:So much progress has been made here–Chesapeake Bay, Lake Erie, all over the country. And it is because the Government has been pressed by people who are environmentally sensitive and conscious of–of our relationship to the world around us …
CS:… and general health of humankind, that–that has made the difference.
DT:What …
CS:The big corporate industrial interests were slow to move. They had to be budged and practically pitchforked by the Government …
CS:… before they moved. And then they got on the bandwagon, and now of course, they have done–they have made–so many of them made really great strides, and I appreciate what many of–of the big corporate chemical companies have done. There’s still an awful lot to be done, of course. [Laughs.]
DT:Right. Right.
CS:An awful lot to be done, and–want to protect their economic interests. Every–you know, everybody wants to look out for himself and it’s the same thing with the corporate interests and so forth and …
DT:Well, they’ve got shareholders and employees …
CS:Sure. That’s right.
DT:… and I guess they feel pressed to …
CS:Yeah. But maybe–maybe now a lot of companies have–big corporations have gone to the idea that general human health and a good environment is good for business. It is, and–in the long run, …
DT:You don’t see the contrast between jobs and environment that you sometimes hear about, in the press?
CS:No. No, no.
CS:It’s not a matter of jobs or clean air or water, …
CS:… and clean soil. It–it’s–it’s both. This has been proved time and time again. All the doomsday predictions that we’ve gotten are from various kinds of interests–like, for instance, notably, petrochemical interests, the big lumber interests of the northwest–those have not worked out. As environmental laws have been introduced and enforced in these areas, things have gotten better for everyone.
DT:Better. Uh-huh.
CS:Absolutely. It costs a corporate entity a lot of money to shape up and clean up.
CS:But then in the long run it pays them and it pays everyone else.
DT:Well, I guess a lot of those pollutants are also a possible resource they could sell to somebody. I mean, …
DT:… I’ve heard these stories of solvents …
CS:Oh, yes. Yes.
DT:… that they used to throw away, …
CS:That’s–that’s part of …
DT:… being somebody’s feedstuff, you know.
CS:That’s part of–of progress, that we learn how to use these–these things we’re disposing of. [Laughs.] It …
CS:… right and …
DT:Well, you know, I was curious where–where the impetus was coming, if it–you know, the corporate interests and manager and–weren’t really favorable to conservation. Where do you think the push was coming in the–I guess, maybe after Rachel Carson’s book came out, when you started reading more about environmental things.
CS:Sure. Um-hmm.
DT:Who was interested in this and working on it?
CS:Well, ‘course I think Rachel Carson’s book was kind of a watershed, woke up lots of people. And then–conservation groups of various kinds began to form. Environmental groups began to press for–things like, “Let’s get rid of DDT. It’s … ”
CS:”–it’s inimical to the environment. It’s killing off a lot of our–our prize creatures, including the great American symbol, the bald eagle.”
DT:Well, did you notice that, when–you know, in the ’50’s, …
DT:… that a lot of the raptors were disappearing?
CS:Oh, yes. Yes. And, I was aware of it, too, simply–also because of course of various publications that were–were noting this. Survey studies done by …
DT:Before Rachel Carson’s book came out.
CS:… by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department–various entities, you know, that are charged with making these kinds of studies and surveys with–among animal–wildlife populations. State Fish and Wildlife departments, that sort of thing. And so, we began to see that what was happening from DDT and some of the other tremendously disastrous pesticides that were being used then, you know.
CS:And–it was a hard fight, really, to get rid of DDT but finally the Government–we–we got some laws passed …
CS:… and it was abolished in this country.
CS:And–now of course as a result, everybody sees–the bald eagle’s back. It has come back with–you know, like gang-busters. So have ospreys and brown pelicans and all these other birds that were–were practically eliminated by that.
CS:Um-hmm. And it was a hard fight. [Laughs.]
DT:Going to bat. Well, when did you first sort of become aware of, not so much the value and world of nature that you’re talking about before, you know, the food and the poisons that plants could provide…
DT:But more the sort of political side of things, you know, how these things should be addressed by the Government or by society.
CS:Um-hmm. Um-hmm.
DT:When did you start to get aware of that?
CS:I guess I got a gradual awareness–actually gradually growing awareness–through reading, …
CS:… associations of various kinds and–my own observation. As time has gone on I have watched–from the angle of–of hunting and fishing–I did quite a lot of that when I was a kid. It was a way of life where I grew up and it was a part of–of people’s livelihood in rural Arkansas where I grew up actually.
CS:We ate opossum, we ate raccoon, [laughs], …
CS:… we ate most anything we could lay hands on, lots of rabbits. And we fished, you know, for–for our meals frequently, …
CS:… and, I have watched over the years–I don’t fish now, I don’t hunt now, you know, I just–somehow can’t do that. Although I still eat fish and I’ll eat a little venison if somebody gives it to me or a duck but–but I–I’ll have to say I can’t handle killing anything anymore.
DT:That’s interesting.
CS:But–right, and I don’t–I don’t have anything against people hunting within the game laws and within …
CS:… within–or–or fishing, you know. That–that …
DT:Which is a personal decision on your part.
CS:It’s just my personal …
CS:… thinking but–I began to notice that the–the streams were becoming more and more murky. I began to see obvious evidence of pollution on the streams, oil slicks moving down the creeks and–well, cruddy banks where the water laps the …
CS:… edges and things like this, you know, and–that troubled me a lot, and …
DT:When was that? I mean, I guess there was a whole range of years but when …
CS:Yes, across …
DT:… do you think it was first becoming obvious to you?
CS:I would say probably in the ’50’s and ’60’s. Uh-huh. Yeah, and …
DT:And …
CS:… then–a growing awareness of that just–by my own personal observation, combined with the reading that I was doing, you know but–of course, …
DT:We …
CS:… lots of news in the papers from about that time on about–various kinds of pollution, oil spills, one thing and another and the damage it did. And–trying to remember just–when in our local area I became aware and–and active in trying to help a bit with cleanup of some of our–our local streams here. I did a little testifying from time to time as the evidence emerged that Cypress Creek, Spring Creek, were heavily polluted, that–a lot of subdivision sewage treatment plants upstream were discharging raw sewage into them.
CS:And kids swimming down those creeks as they have for several generations, …
CS:… and getting sick from it and the doctors here at Northwest Medical Center warning people to not let their kids swim in those creeks back then.
DT:This was in the ’50’s?
CS:This–I would–I’m trying to remember. I believe the ’50’s or early ’60’s perhaps. No, I believe this was mainly in the ’60’s.
CS:Finally this became so–so obvious through–through the Houston newspapers, through journalism, one–one thing and another, that–the Houston City Health Department had told all these subdivision treatment plants–and ‘course this area out here in North Harris county was being developed so rapidly then. When we first moved out here, FM-1960 was just a little country road. And then across a period of the next few months, 300,000 people moved in next door to us, you know. [Laughs.] And …
DT:Boy. You got neighbors.
CS:Yeah, right. There is something like the population of the city of Austin that lives up and down in the watersheds of Spring and Cypress Creeks.
CS:And there are more than 240 subdivision sewage treatment plants that empty into those two creeks, which then proceed on down, join the San Jacinto River and a mile further down are part of Lake Houston, …
DT:That we drink.
CS:… which is 40% of Houston’s drinking water. You know, as you become aware of that kind of thing, you say, “Hey! This doesn’t compute very well.” [Laughs.]
CS:And, the city health department did finally clamp down on these sewage treatment plants and–and told ’em, “Clean up your act. Don’t dump any more raw sewage in here or we’ll shut you down.” Well, it’s a pretty good threat to people in any subdivision that they can’t … [Tape 1, Side B.]
CS:… Well, it’s a pretty good threat to people in any subdivision that they can’t flush their potty.
CS:So that had a good effect. [Laughs.] And a lot of those were cleaned up but there’s an occasional spill even yet that–even we, from our park, going down Spring Creek on a canoe trip, and have found–a case or two of–of sewage treatment plants just dropping raw sewage right into that stream again, which again goes down and becomes part of Houston’s drinking water.
CS:And I think that’s totally unconscionable.
DT:Yeah. Why, it doesn’t seem like they’re thinking about their neighbors down stream, …
CS:Absolutely not.
DT:… and some of those neighbors are probably themselves actually ending up drinking that same water and …
DT:… fouling it at the same time.
CS:Yes. Yes.
DT:Well, you mentioned Cypress Creek and I’d noticed that you had worked with the Cypress Creek Parkway. And I’m curious if you could tell a little bit about that and also, what you felt was the real impetus to set that string of pearls aside. I mean, was it flood control or was it for open space or habitat or what was the thought behind it?
CS:One of the subdivisions that’s–one of the oldest in this area–the earliest developed was Inverness Forest, northwest just a little way of 1960 and I-45., and Inverness Forest was developed right down into the flood plain.
CS:A lady who purchased a home in there named Judy Overby–saw several times her neighbors’ homes being flooded. All of those that were in the flood plain, which was a lot of them, were flooded every time the creek got into any kind of–of good flood.
DT:And this was in the early ’70’s?
CS:Yes, I guess the early ’70’s–late ’60’s, early ’70’s probably. And, she said, “Something must be done about this.” At that time there were no laws whatsoever prohibiting a developer for developing–from developing in the floodplain. And this is one of the things that has always incensed me, is that developers will do that, knowing full well that those houses are going to flood, and that all these poor dumb Yankees that come down here and buy those houses, …
CS:… are going to get flooded out, and it’s going to be a tragic thing.
DT:You can–I mean, it’s just a …
DT:… statistical thing, I guess, you know, …
CS:Yeah, the …
DT:… what the rainfall events are and the flood gauge is.
CS:… this flat Gulf Coast region. It–it happens in every flood plain. We don’t have much elevation above those flood plains. We’ve got a little. And all this development should be outside it. Judy went on a program of trying to publicize this sort of thing, and–County Judge had–John Lindsey had just been elected–picked Judy up as part of his staff, made her a special assistant, and asked her to develop this Cypress Creek Parkway project to buy up all this property, so that developers wouldn’t and couldn’t develop down into the flood plain, and so that green space could be saved, synonymously, for the future of–of the people of Houston in this area. And so there was–those two reasons were the big motivation for the development at Cypress Creek …
DT:That’s really fortunate, I mean, and very …
CS:… Parkway Project. Um-hmm.
DT:… far-sighted.
CS:Yes. Now there’s something like 4,000 acres up and down Cypress and Spring Creeks in those flood plains that are–are public-owned parkway property. And, only a small percentage of those 4,000 acres is currently developed. Some parks, like the one I work at, Jesse Jones Park, Mercer Arboretum–a number of other parks up and down close to the creek. We have a lot of property there that is undeveloped but–as parks. But it’s–it’s there as green space and it’s not being used to build–if our–our 225 acres in my park were instead put in houses, two or three to the acre in there, 400-500 houses–this flood we had in October, 1994, ninety–yeah, ’94–can you–can you imagine the millions upon millions of dollars of damage that that would’ve done. Instead, the water came out across the–the flood plain there, half a mile up. Yes, it got in our Nature Center and we had to do some repair there and there’s a little cost there. But such a–a tiny fraction of what the cost would’ve been otherwise and the flood–flood plain forest takes it just fine, there’s no problem there. Very few animals die in a flood like that. Squirrels climb the trees. Rabbits hop up to a little higher ground. So do the deer. The birds fly up on a …
CS:… perch on a limb. So, you know, the animals in the forest have been taking this for tens of thousands of years and–and managed it very well.
DT:And probably benefiting from the silt.
CS:Oh, sure. Absolutely, and if that drops another layer of sediment there, which is rich and fertilizes the forest again.
DT:And so long as you’re not tied to a slab that’s got piers in the ground, you’re fine.
CS:That’s right. And, we have to have homes. We have to have homes, we have to have business places, we have to have parking lots and all of those things. But, the grave problem that humanity faces right now–not just in the Cypress Creek Parkway system in North Harris County–but faces all over the world is the–is the exploding human population, …
CS:… because people have to have a place to live. They have to have an area to grow plants to eat.
CS:They have to have it for agriculture. They have to build commercial buildings and they have to make highways, and all of these things continue to lay more and more of the earth under concrete and slab and that sort of thing. And it increases every problem–every environmental problem that we have, because the more houses you build, the more floods you’re going to have, because water that falls on the forest, or in a grassland–see, it falls on the–the canopy layer of the trees in a woods. It slowly trickles off those leaves and drops to the secondary layer and then down to the shrub layer, and–and then trickles off the shrub layer into the forest floor and trickles around the dead leaves on the forest floor and–and the decaying logs there–and finally trickles on into the streams. It does all of this slowly. But heavy rainfall that hits a parking lot, or for or 500 roofs in a subdivision and all their driveways and–and streets, whoosh!!! It all goes through the drainages real quick into the creek. The creek builds up very fast, and it floods–just downstream very rapidly and we have more and more–well, within the past ten years, on Cypress and Spring Creeks, we have had at least three hundred-year floods, what were considered to be the hundred-year floods–because of this–this–this particular problem. And, …
DT:The population. There are not enough …
CS:The population explosion. That’s right.
DT:Well, what do you–I’ve often read about–naysayers saying, “Well, Malthus and E.O. Wilson and these people who are concerned about population, … ”
DT:”–well, “The Population Bomb” was wrong and the Malthusian predictions were off base.” And then, I also hear people say, “Well, they’re right, it’s just the timing is off. You know, that it … ”
DT:”the effects may be a little bit later coming.” Well, which camp do you fall in with?
CS:Um-hmm. Well, the timing was off on–on their Doomsday predictions about that, yes. But, I guess I’m sort of halfway on these things. Human populations are exploding and the–the environmental problem all over the world is exacerbated by that. It’s the–almost the base of it right now, the exploding human population. It’s the biggest factor in it.
DT:Well, do you …
CS:All environmental problems. And–and humanity is expanding even so at an enormous rate. We would’ve probably lost half the earth’s population to famine if we had not kept pace with the Green Revolution that produces, through agriculture, many, many times the produce per acre, especially of the grains that’re the basis of food around the world–wheat, rye, oats, rice, those things. If–if we had not managed, through agricultural technology, to produce this green revolution, we would not be able to feed the world’s population. But because of that, we have kept some pace but the green revolution’s showing very, very significant signs of wearing out now, because it demands these hybrid grains that are so high-yield, and the other hybrid fruits and vegetables that’re high–very high-yield demand so many more pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, chemicals to keep them going like that, and–in time, pests become immune to pesticides. The insects …
CS:… develop immunities, and–other problems develop. The chemicals build up in the soil from the–the commercial fertilizers and so on, and–I really worried about how far and how long sustainable agriculture–our sustainable food supply, you know, will be here for the world, …
CS:… as the population continues to explode.
DT:Well, which do you think is more of a concern, the population growth in a country like India that has a $2,000-per-year per capita income …
DT:… but has a growth rate that may be two or three times the U.S.’s, or the growth rate in the U.S. where it’s maybe much lower but the people who’re born and, you know, who propagate, consume much more, …
DT:… and which do you think is more severe?
CS:[Laughs.] Well, I think we’re going to have to–to learn to–to live with less, absolutely, …
CS:… yeah. As time goes on I think that’s inevitable, that–people in the developed countries and with very high standards of living are going to have to learn to live with less. We’re–we’re going to have to do more sharing of the earth’s agricultural space and–and its produce. Keep these human populations alive. There has been some real progress made in population control around the world, too, and–unfortunately it’s in the underdeveloped countries that–still that–notably Africa, Hispanic America, …
CS:… that population growth is still at–at its–its most rapid pace and where–where the world’s–basic forests–rain forests of course are being–are being wiped out so fast because of the need for these people to have a living.
CS:Brasilia and–the Amazon, Africa–those populations are exploding so fast and–and the rain forests and ‘course all of that is such a commonplace now everybody knows about that. The kids learn about it in school and this is great.
CS:Kids are getting some environmental education. They know that because the rain forest in Brazil is being wiped out that world climatic change may be–may be something that can be a–a real disaster to the earth, that rainfall may be limited in places that have been accustomed to it, that floods’ll happen in other places, etc. Um-hmm.
DT:Well, you mentioned the Brazilian rain forest. I read a lot about that also and mentioned it to somebody. He said, “Well, you know–how much attention do we pay to the Great North American Prairie, … ”
DT:”–what happened to it, or … ”
CS:Yeah. I see. Yeah. Uh-huh.
DT:”–or the Big Thicket,” and if there are things that are much more local, that a lot of students don’t know about. I’m curious how you weigh those things out. You know, the …
DT:… the problem of the rain forest, which I guess still is probably a great resource for oxygen for the whole world.
DT:But then there are these things that’re more local, that are in our neighborhood.
CS:I would really like to address that. Could we take a pause for just a moment? Would that be possible?
DT:Sure. Sure, let’s do that. ……
DT:Talking to Carmine Stahl, of course. And we were talking about the issue of the American prairies and their contribution and other sort of local resources and how that compares to problems in other parts of the world that may be better known.
CS:Yes. Here in–in the United States we have not been very good conservationists for most of our history unfortunately. ‘Course when people were settling this country and moving west to what was then the Great West–Ohil, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, places like that–the world’s largest deciduous forest grew through that part of the world, and it appeared that the resources of forest, prairie, all this vast land and its rich resources was something totally unlimited, and–by the populations of that time, it might’ve been. But–so people did not take much care of the things that–cutting down the forest was the thing to do, of course, and–planting crops and those had to be planted. And then when we got out on the prairie and plowed and planted, of course, we erased almost all of the tall grass prairie that once was so grand across the–the heartland of America and–and the Plains. And–and then of course in the northwestern part of the United States now we’re–we’re probably at the most critical place with–with–cutting those resources up there that–the great forests of the northwest. I think about some local things here. At the time this area was first settled, 1830’s, around here–1820’s, ’30’s–along these creeks and rivers were cypresses that were a thousand years old. I’ve seen old photographs of cypresses loaded onto railroad flat cars cut into sections, and–the diameter of cypress was much more than the railroad flat car–hung over both sides like that. [Misc.]
CS:These were wonderful trees. There’s not a one of ’em left in Texas anymore. There’s a cypress in Louisiana and one in Florida that are both believed to be over a thousand years, 12 hundred years on the one in Florida. But, none like that in Texas anymore. We have in the park where I work, the oldest and largest in Harris County–some over there that are 400 years old and it’s amazing to me that those were left down there. But, I suppose it was an inaccessible place at that time that saved ’em. But you know, if people–I know that lumber was needed before the time of treated wharves, piers, pilings, that kind of thing. Cypress is such a water-tolerant wood that it will last so many, many years. It was–it was used almost exclusively in wharves and piers and pilings and ship-building and that kind of thing so much. And, it was needed for that but if only those folks had left just a few of those thousand-year-old trees for us to look at now, you know.
CS:Wouldn’t it be fun–neat to walk up and look at a–at a tree like that?
DT:Yeah. Very special.
CS:But we don’t have one. They took the last one out. Human–greed, I guess you could say, you know, or human need, and they–they were big money, …
CS:… at that time and for that time, and that’s why they were taken out. Now the same thing is–is happening in the northwest, where old growth forest trees 700, 800, a thousand and more years old are being cut daily. I personally don’t think anything a thousand years old ought to be cut down and killed. [Laughs.]
DT:Sure. Yeah. Yeah.
CS:And–and so much of that’s being done up there in–in our northwestern forests and in the forests of British Columbia, …
CS:… and Alberta, for–things that are not replaceable. It’s–it’s amazing how many hundreds of thousands of acres of trees are–are cut down up there every year to provide throwaway chopsticks for the Japanese. [Laughs.]
DT:Oh. That’s true. I had read, more locally, that the Columbia Bottoms was–you know, some tracts were cut down there recently, mostly for fax paper.
DT:And, you know, some of them–beautiful hardwoods, …
CS:Yeah. um-hmm.
DT:… oaks and so on, and I think I could follow you. Do you have other sort of thoughts about how the landscape around Houston has changed–I mean, before we were born, and maybe during our lifetimes?
DT:It’s changed so rapidly, and so dramatically.
CS:And–and Houston with all its problems is one of the greener cities in the United States, …
DT:Oh, yeah.
CS:… ’cause there was plenty of space here for Houston to expand, and a lot of the development leap-frogged over green spaces–woods, meadows, prairies, and–expanded on out rapidly, and we still have a lot of these pockets left within Houston. IF you fly over Houston, you get up in the top of the skyscraper, you see a lot of green stuff out there, …
CS:… which is really marvelous. A lot of it’s been planted back. Many developers took very little care. Although our development here has “forest” in the name of it, by the time the developer got through here there were probably half a dozen scraggly, tall, skinny pines left here. [Laughs.]
CS:When we first moved into our home, 27 years ago here, our back yard was woods on out for half a mile, to the next street or road.
DT:Pine forest or …
DT:… Pine forest or mixed?
CS:Mixed, pine and hardwood, …
CS:… and very nice. Deer would come up in our back yard at night, that kind of thing.
DT:Is that right.
CS:We–we loved that. And–but of course we had no objection when development went on through the–the other half of the subdivision there and that was developed because we knew some more folks needed homes, too.
CS:But, the developer took absolutely no care as some developers have, …
CS:… with leaving woods there. A lot of developers have learned that it’s really good business to leave some beautiful trees for–for people, nice mature trees for them to move in under into their house …
CS:… when they get there. That didn’t happen here. But, people began to get busy planting, as we did here in our own bushy yard. Looks like a jungle now, [laughs], unfortunately. But planting shrubs and trees and–for a long Period there, some–several years, after the woods was wiped out behind us, we hardly had a bird within a mile of us.
CS:We hardly had anything. There was no bird song, nothing. But as people began to plant and the shrubs and the trees began to grow that they had planted here, the birds began to come back. Now we have all kinds of birds and wildlife here. We have squirrels get in our pecan tree in the back yard. We have watched a big, fat possum waddle across the yard at night. Armadillos come into the back yard and–one night I looked out our bedroom window and there was a couple of young raccoons sitting in the–in the tree outside and–that kind of thing is really neat to me, …
CS:… and especially the birds. We love …
DT:Must be encouraging to see that come back.
CS:Yes, yes. And–and people themselves–most people want trees. There are some who don’t, you know. But most people want trees, they want shrubs, they want flowers, they want landscape, …
CS:… and–that is good for the environment all around.
CS:’Course these things also help reduce the costs of heating and elec–and air-conditioning–the trees do around us, the shade. They produce oxygen. [Laughs.]
CS:They reduce noise, and car exhaust pollution.
DT:I see.
DT:Well, IT–I know you–as a plant expert, have you–been involved at all in trying to educate people about planting native plants and …
CS:Yes, very much so.
DT:… and xeriscape type plants?
CS:Very much so. The spectacular, beautiful, tropical-looking things and southwestern desert-looking things and …
CS:… and–and things that come from exotic places, of course, are–are nice and no–you know, I have no objection to people planning those when they–they give them pleasure but, I do encourage–and we have done this for many, many years through all the Arboreta around and the nature programs in–in the area–encouraging people to plant native plants because they take so much less water, care, fertilizer. The water thing is really big. How much water people put on their yards every year to save them through our long, droughty summers.
CS:And, if you plant things that xeriscape your yard–you know, to some degree plant things that really don’t need all that water, and–things that will grow well here and things that will be long-lived here. So many things that we’ve–we’ve had introduced just don’t do very well. The native things always do better, …
CS:… always do better. And the things that are introduced sometimes naturalize and become a very, very bad problem, like the Chinese tallow trees and–and …
DT:Sure. Sure. Can you–can you talk a little bit about that, you know, the exotics and invasions, have–what you’ve seen?
CS:Oh, absolutely. ‘Course with some of those things, like fire ants and tallow trees, [laughs], are pestilence, you know. Tallows were introduced by well-meaning nurserymen around the turn of the century, early 1900’s actually, for several reasons. One, they were observed to be a very rapid-growing shade tree. Two, they produced a lot of color in the fall, which few trees do here in the South. And three, they have some waxy berries that potentially could produce a candle-developing industry. In–in the early 1900’s, candles were still big. But just after this tree was introduced, petroleum waxes became cheaper and became the thing to make candles with, of course.
CS:And, these tallow trees went absolutely wild. They corresponded with an explosion in the population of grackles, blackbirds, in North America.
DT:That’s ***.
CS:Blackbird–there are far more blackbirds now than there ever were when Columbus discovered America. [Laughs.]
CS:And they’re also a big problem, as you’ve probably read in the–roosting in the trees at night around the county courthouses everywhere …
CS:… in Texas. But, …
DT:Bring your umbrella.
CS:Yeah, right. What happened–this is a man-made problem. When–when those–great forests were cut down in Ohio and Illinois and Indiana and Missouri, and grains were planted there. That was ideal for the blackbirds, they’re grain-eating birds. Their populations immediately exploded. Same thing happened with the starlings that were introduced to this part of the world. And, the–the–their flocks now number in–in the hundreds of thousands. We’ve had flocks counted at roosts here in Texas that were estimated at over 10 million blackbirds, yes, roosting in–in a patch of woods at night, and blackbirds love tallow berries. So they eat those tallow berries and–and ‘course they’re toxic to human beings but birds can eat a lot of things that humans can’t. They eat those tallow berries, they fly and they drop the seeds–all across the countryside. And tallows grow so fast, and they grow anywhere here. They grow in standing water. They–they can take the water over their roots for a much longer period than most of our native trees, and they grow out in dry places. They grow on the prairie where trees have never grown before. The rice fields. If you leave a rice field fallow for two or three years–which you should occasionally, you know, …
CS:… a big rice farmer will want to leave some of his fields fallow for a while. Leave ’em fallow for a couple of years and you’ve got a forest of tallow trees as high as this ceiling. They grow so rapidly and so thickly, and respond to that sunshine so fast. [Laughs.]
DT:Well, do you see many other exotics in Jesse Jones Park? Do you see nandina or …
CS:Well, we see a lot of privet. Privet is …
CS:… is another introduced plant, privet ligustrum sinensis is …
CS:… originated in China. It was introduced to Europe many centuries ago and it became a great hedge plant there. It was cultivated … [Tape 2 of two, Side A.]
CS:… It was cultivated for hedges in England and all across Europe, …
CS:… and then introduced to this country for the same purpose early on, and here in the South it naturalized. We never know when a plant’s going to naturalize or when it won’t. The azaleas of course unfortunately don’t naturalize in the woods. Wouldn’t it be a pretty woods–woodland if they were all blooming out there right now. But they don’t do that, but many plants do. I’d say a minority of plants that we introduce, exotic plants–a small minority of them do naturalize and take to the–to the soil and the climate and–the amount of sunshine and rain that we have here. Privet is another one that has filled the woods now and displaced many, many native plants.
CS:Yeah. It’s–it–you know, none of these things are without some merit. Tallow trees do grow fast. They do provide quick shade and they do have beautiful fall color.
CS:But, you–the–the drawbacks–millions and millions of dollars have been spent eradicating that thing, you know, by rice farmers and by other farmers and–goodness, the–they’ll take over any place in our area that they’re given a chance to whatsoever along the edge rows and invade the forests as–as a glade opens.
DT:Well, that’s interesting. See, I think that what is probably clear as day to you is probably not apparent to a lot of people, that, you know, there are these changes that happen from season to season and year to year, that most people on the street probably don’t notice. And I’m …
DT:… curious if there’re other things about southeast Texas that you’ve seen change in the landscape, …
DT:… just in the time you’ve been working down there.
CS:Well, of course the biggest change is–is effected by the big lumber companies.
CS:Wood we’ve gotta have to build houses with. But the big problem there is that the lumber companies have developed a monoculture of pine. Lumber companies own such a big percentage of southeast Texas–all of East Texas, as a matter of fact, which is one of the–the great pine forests of the world.
CS:And–the–the companies, though, will–will try to eradicate the hard woods and chop out all of the growth that would be–compete with pine trees, and–and try to bring back nothing but a monoculture of pine–whether planted, you know, or just–or sewed from–from mature mother trees, what-have-you, you know, that they’ll leave there–until you got this monoculture. That is extremely negative as far as wildlife is concerned.
CS:And–wildlife needs a mixed forest. The kind of wildlife we have here in East Texas has had a mixed forest. Hard woods, pines, shrubbery. Glades, some prairie, even in East Texas, and–that kind of thing made the rich wildlife that–that we always had but–but this–they can’t live with just pine trees. [Laughs.]
DT:Sure. Well–and I’ve read–and correct me if I’m wrong …
DT:… but that a lot of these pines are not only sort of exclusive of–of hard woods and other species but they’re exclusive of other–genetically different pines, that they’re clones of one another.
DT:Is that right?
CS:That’s right. ‘Course the–the lumber companies work continually on developing–selecting, developing pines that grow faster, that produce its crop, you know, …
DT:Sure. Sure.
CS:… that produce more for–in less time on less land and–and that kind of thing, just like–the crop of corn. [Laughs.]
DT:Well–well, that’s something interesting. You were mentioning the Green Revolution earlier and I’m wondering as a botanist what you think about the agriculture in the U.S. and its use of hybrid seed.
CS:It’s a dangerous thing. [Laughs.] The hybrid corn that we have in this country–corn is the biggest cash crop on earth now.
DT:Is it really?
CS:Yes. This–this wonderful gift that the Indians gave us from their agriculture is grown all over the world now and it is the biggest cash crop on earth, exceeding that of–of rice, wheat, all the others.
DT:I didn’t know that.
CS:Yeah. As far as money’s concerned.
CS:So much of it of course goes to feed livestock. But it’s an extremely important food factor around the world now, too, just as it was the biggest food factor for the Indians.
CS:And, the Indians grew far more different kinds of corn than we grow now. They grew lots of different kinds of corn. They had blue corn, they had red corn, they had pink corn, they had yellow corn, they had white corn, and in all kinds of varieties and subvarieties and they grew them for specific purposes. They had developed and hybridized corn over a period of some thousands of years, you know, from its origin, which we believe to have been in Mexico and spreading northward and southward. And, corn is such a–a marvelous plant, it–it–it does hybridize easily.
CS:But, modern agriculture–the big agricultural universities have concentrated upon developing corn hybrids. Grow it bigger, make more ears to the stalk, make it produce faster. Get more per acre, more per acre, …
CS:… and–and grow it so that it will ship well–store well and ship well, …
CS:… and all that kind of thing, you know. And as we’ve done this, we’ve come down to just a few kinds of corn that’re grown in this country now, besides popcorn, and we got–we got a few kinds of corn–a few that’re grown primarily for flour, a few that’re grown primarily for, like, roasting ears and then–grains that go into livestock food. And, there’re just a few kinds, a tiny percentage of the–of the many hybrid forms that the Indians once grew. Now, some real interest is being given again to those old varieties, and there’s some effort being made to preserve them–to find them again and preserve them–because they had much more resistance to disease. These modern hybrids depend tremendously upon lots of fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, intensive but–you know, big technical cultivation procedures and that sort of thing.
CS:And, if something hits those someday–a blight, such as hit the …
DT:Well, like, there was one.
CS:… the Irish potato crop, you know, and produced the Irish potato famine. If something hits the corn like that, the whole world’s in trouble.
CS:The breadbasket of the United States is–is still pretty much the breadbasket of the world, too.
DT:Well, you mentioned that this was an Indian gift, and I notice that you’re a real expert on Native Americans and their contributions. I’m curious if you …
CS:Oh. Not really, I–I’ve been privileged to know some of the finest anthropologists and archaeologists in Texas and be associated with them and I’ve had a fascination with this all my life, indeed, and I have had–done a lot of study in it. I’m not a professional archaeologist and don’t consider myself an expert there but the thing that has linked my work to that so much is the–the foods, …
CS:… the plant foods. The–the Indians gave us so many of–more than half of the–of the foods that are grown in agriculture in the world right now were contributed by New World Indians, by Native Americans, north and south. Corn, squash and beans were the three big ones. All the squashes that we eat were first grown by Native Americans. So was the corn, of course. So was all the beans we know. Peas came from the old world, like your field peas and English peas as we call ’em, that kind of thing.
CS:But all the beans we know, from pinto beans and black beans and red beans and kidney beans and navy beans and all those were first grown by American Indians.
CS:Pumpkins, ‘course, and–so many of the cucurbitas. And then of course from Central and South American native agriculture we got what we call Irish potatoes, we got sweet potatoes. WE got tomatoes. We got–oh, goodness. We got chocolate. [Laughs.] We got …
DT:I’m sure a lot of people say thanks for that.
CS:… many fruits, like avocados, of course, you know, and mangoes and that sort of thing. But–there’s still a lot of experimentation being done, a lot of interest now in the Amaranths that are–or have been grown for thousands of years also–in Peru, Bolivia, in the Andes, by the Inca peoples and the peoples who preceded them. These Amaranths have been shown to have the highest percentage of plant proteins, particularly in the seeds, of any plants on earth.
DT:What’s an example of an amaranth? I don’t know.
CS:O.K. Here in north America we have some of–there’re many species–native species of amaranths, and the ones we have here the farmers call careless weeds.
CS:If you get careless, you know, if you’re farming, they’ll come up and–in the farm rows and all. That’s what they’ll do.
DT:A weed, not a crop. I mean, from …
CS:It’s a weed. But, …
DT:… from an American standpoint.
CS:But now, up in the Midwest, amaranths are beginning to become an important crop. You–you are familiar with canola oil?
CS:Canola oil has–is the best possible cooking oil you can get. It has less saturated fat, that kind of thing, and less cholesterol. And it–it is extremely healthy and that comes from amaranth seeds.
CS:It’s made from–from the seeds of amaranths. They’re being grown primarily up in the Midwest now, but were grown originally in–in Peru and–and other parts of the Andes Range. Um-hmm.
DT:Well, why do you think it was that the Indians were able to bestow us with all these wonderful crops? I mean, do you think it was a genetic diversity of plants that were here originally or that the Indians had a great talent for hybridizing and–and …
CS:Yeah. Well, ‘course, …
DT:… developing crops or …
CS:… peoples all over the world as they developed began to develop agriculture. I’ve thought a lot about the beginnings of agriculture, you know, and …
CS:… ‘course a lot of research has been done into that and not archaeology. But you can imagine pretty well that agriculture began as accidents that some clever person noticed, you know, that …
CS:… they–as they went out and–hunter-gatherer culture and went through the swamp and went over the hill and down through the meadow and around the edge of the woods and gathered these plants that were edible–that they knew to be edible and brought ’em back in to the cave or the hut or whatever, and threw ’em out in the refuse pile. The refuse pile became itself a nice compost pile–you know, fertilizer. These seeds sprang up there, and there they are growing bigger and healthier than ever, those–those food plants, and they look there and they say, “Hey, this is neat. We got all this stuff right next to the hut here, you know, we don’t have to–go way out yonder.” So agriculture was born as they began to perceive how they could–could encourage that. And, same sort of process happened, I’m sure, in north and south America. Pardon me, got a little throat tickle. If you’ll ‘scuse me just a second we’ll get a little … ……
CS:This is, I think, a very significant thing for people to recognize–that all of the–plants, all the vegetables, fruits, that we eat were once wild, edible plants a long time ago.
CS:And our ancestors began to plant those things–to hybridize them, to select them–and agriculture was born. But, whatever we eat right now–tomatoes, potatoes, corn, squash and beans and peas and–and okra and …
CS:… which came from Africa and all of these things that we eat now–were once wild, edible plants that back in the dawn of human development people found were edible, and I’m sure there was a lot of trial and error going on back then. I’m sure our–the Indians did a lot of trial and error, too, you know, and–and people observe what happens. Here, this fellow goes out and he says, “I’m gonna try this, this looks like it’d be good to eat,” you know, and he–he takes a few bites and after a while he–he upchucks and they say, “Oh, well, that wouldn’t be so good to eat.” [Laughs.]
DT:Yeah. Back to the drawing board.
CS:Or–or maybe it–it does taste good and …
CS:… and maybe he tries it and just–everything’s O.K. and the next day somebody else says, “You know, I think I’ll try that.” But anyway, however, humans found something was good to eat and then, as they began to realize that they could grow that stuff–plant it and grow it right next to wherever they lived, and they could grow large amounts of it there. And they could even save some of it and put it in bins and granaries and things like that, as agriculture began to develop in the old world and in the new. People found that they–that some plants sometimes seem to grow bigger than others and have more fruit on ’em, more grain, whatever. And so they said, “Hey, maybe if I”–some bright guy says, “Maybe if I take the seeds from that one, and plant those next year, maybe I’ll get more big ones like that.”
CS:And so that happens. That’s selection, of course. The selection probably came quite a long time before hybridization. [Laughs.] But that process produced bigger, more, and better and–filled the granaries faster and better and that kind of thing so–that went on and then people began to see that sometimes certain kinds of plants grew a little bit different form. And maybe a couple of plants crossed and–and they could–could determine which ones did that, and so hybridization developed. Hybridization came to aid and abet all–this whole process, the agricultural process.
CS:And the Indians were certainly doing a lot of selecting consciously, long before Columbus, of the various kinds of–of corns.
CS:Tomatoes–still, you can go to Peru up in the Andes and you’ll find people growing many more kinds of tomatoes there than are grown in the rest of the world.
DT:Isn’t that funny.
CS:Yeah. Um-hmm.
DT:And–and there’re different kinds that take advantage of different climates or different times of the year? What–what …
DT:… why are there different hybrids?
CS:Yes. They’re–‘course, hy–people began to discover, too, a long time ago that certain forms of–certain kinds of corn would grow further north in a colder climate. Certain kinds of corn would grow better in a–a desert climate out in the Southwest, in Arizona. And, so, various kinds of hybrids’ve been–‘course and the agricultural universities now, you know, working hard on this kind of thing. We once could not grow apples here in–in this part of Texas. Now we can grow some apples because Texas A&M has worked for years to develop apples that we can grow here in this hot, muggy climate.
DT:Boy, that’s …
CS:Sam Houston and Stephen Austin couldn’t grow apples here. They tried it. [Laughs.]
DT:Well, one thing I was interested in, I’ve been reading a little bit about how people planted things in the early days, …
DT:… and they–they seem to be very interested in how their gardens could produce. It wasn’t just to have an aesthetically pleasing …
DT:… place but also to have something that could provide them nuts and fruits, and I was wondering if you could comment to me, if that’s of interest to you. I mean, how some of the early gardens were laid out and why they used the plants they did.
CS:Yes. ‘Course the–the most practical, pragmatic thing that was done, of course, was to plant those things in the gardens, lay out those gardens in ways that would produce food. But the aesthetic thing has been a thing that’s fascinated me all my lifetime. What is it about flowers that people love so much that from prehistory, in every part of the world, isolated areas of the world–people have wanted to bring flowers into their garden, too?
CS:And oftentimes those flowers were planted right along of course with the vegetables. And, flowers–of course, if you got down to the most pragmatic reason for flowers, they’re to attract insects so those insects will cross-pollinate them and keep the–keep the vitality of–of the specie. And, so what is it that makes that thing so attractive to humans? We don’t want to cross-pollinate with flowers, [laughs], I don’t think we see anything sexy about them, you know, but …
CS:… but they’re beautiful to us, they’re–they’re marvelous and–and this aesthetic sense in human beings that–that makes them–has made people want to grow flowers almost as early as they were growing vegetables. And, it’s been found just recently in archaeology that some burials that were made 90,000 years ago, there is–are remains of flowers then. The flower …
DT:That’s very touching.
CS:… pollen and–macroscopic remains of those flowers so somebody put flowers in those graves. That–you know, I mean, when human beings were just developing as modern human.
DT:Well, it’s interesting–I mean, this is sort of a side …
DT:… a small side light but when I’ve talked to people about how they first got concerned about environment and so on, …
DT:… they often say, “Well, it’s just so beautiful.”
CS:Yeah. [Laughs.]
DT:And they remember a spot they’d love from childhood or from recent days, and that it made ’em feel good. It doesn’t have anything to do with the wildlife that lived there or the pharmaceuticals …
CS:Um-hmm, yeah. [Laughs.]
DT:… that come out of there or, you know, productive, …
CS:That’s right. Um-hmm.
DT:… rational reasons but just– that there’s this really–sort of difficult to explain love that people have for …
CS:Um-hmm. Isn’t it difficult to explain.
DT:… nature’s beauty and …
CS:But it’s there so strongly. It’s something built in, and–so basic a part of us. We like things green and then we like things bright. We like things …
CS:… delicate and beautiful, as–as flowers are.
DT:Well, I noticed that you’ve got some sort of comments on nature’s beauty right here and your wife has been kind enough to pass on some of the poems you’ve written and I would …
CS:Oh, my goodness.
DT:… would be delighted if you could maybe look at some of them and tell me what brought you to write these and maybe you’d be willing to read one or two?
CS:If my wife would be so kind as to bring my glasses. [Laughs.]
DT:Well, why don’t you–while she’s getting your glasses, maybe you could tell us a little bit about how you came to first write some of these and how long you’ve been writing ’em and so on?
CS:Well, I–I guess I wrote a little poetry when I was a kid.
CS:Yeah. Mother and Dad were always encouraging about everything I did. [Claps.] “Oh, isn’t that wonderful,” you know, like mom and dads are. [Laughs.]
DT:Oh, yeah.
CS:Dumb poetry, you know, but you know how moms and dads are. But, my wife got me interested in poetry again, I guess. ‘Course I–I studied–the Romantic poets was one of my big studies when I was in college and then, early English poetry in graduate school and all that kind of thing. I …
CS:… did a major in it and … [Misc.]
DT:… was interested–I didn’t know this side of you and I thought we ought to maybe touch on it at some point. But this maybe gives us a chance to …
CS:Uh, well, we belong to a poetry society out here–the Poets Northwest and Mary Lou got me going with them again and that encouraged me to write some more, which I’ve done, more recently again. Um-hmm.
DT:And that’s something like a swap where you get to write and listen to other people’s poems?
CS:Oh, yes, yes. Right. So it’s a real nice association where everyone is encouraged, you know, who’s interested in poetry and in writing some poetry.
DT:That’s great!
CS:And, many different kinds of people there. Some write primarily humorous stuff, some …
CS:… very serious material, some–you know, free verse and some rhyming verse and all–of all kinds. Haiku, everything you can think of, and …
DT:Well, then, how do the serious sonnet writers treat the limerick writers, I mean, and…
CS:Oh. [Laughs.] Probably looked down their noses at them. But not in our Society, no. Sonnet writers and limerick writers are–are likely to be the same people.
DT:Well, that’s odd.
CS:We–we sometimes have a little contest for, say, writing a sonnet, you know.
CS:Or writing a limerick or writing some haiku. [Misc.]
DT:Well, most of the poems you’ve written, are they about nature or other topics, or are they …
CS:Quite a few of ’em are about nature, I guess. This is about wild geese. This is “When It Rains in Texas.”
DT:Monsoon season, as they call it in Houston,…
CS:Yeah. Yeah, this is one I–I sort of enjoyed writing. Right there.
DT:Would–would you share it with us?
CS:Um-hmm. When it rains in Texas, Thunder rolls across the coastal plains, As Houston’s multicolored towers stand to greet the gusting wind And sudden rains that cool the heated streets and parching land. On the clouds and building tumult roll, To bend the tall and supple forest pines, And wash the wilderness of dust and dole, While fuses flare on Heaven’s power lines. Awake, you halls of Austin, See the tongues of lightning licking at the limestone hills, And crackling on the granite mountain’s mains To flood their flanks and fill the graveled rills. And Midland, can you hear the muffled roar and Muttered sound of water falling far, Across the Basin’s ancient burning shore, The sands respond to thunder’s thrilling jar. The waters come, and powers of the air, In broken, riotous and brash display, With trumpets and with flashing lights Declare across the land a summer holiday.
CS:I like weather.
DT:That was very nice.
CS:I like weather.

DT:I had a friend who lived in a high-rise, …


DT:… and I asked him, “Well, why do you live in a high-rise?”, because he had a dog …

DT:… at one point and he couldn’t have a dog in this high-rise so I know he’d given something up and I was wondering what he was getting in exchange. He said, “Well, it’s those–those northers!”


DT:You know, to watch that roll across the sky …

CS:Ah, um-hmm.

DT:… was just one of the finest things in his life, so maybe you have a compatriot then.

CS:Well, that’s interesting, yeah. Oh, I love watching–I was in the Weather Service when I was in the Armed Forces many, many, many years ago, …

CS:Oh, I know this.

CS:… the Air Force, the Weather Service, the–I’m a weather buff still, as my wife can certainly tell you. I–[laughs.]

DT:Well, we get some very dramatic weather around here, …

CS:We do indeed.

DT:… from hurricanes to northers to …

CS:Yeah, um-hmm. Here’s a little short nature poem.

DT:And what’s it about?

CS:”The Great Old Oak.”

The Great Old Oak grew beside the way,
And upon it George and Linda carved their love within a heart.
And there, too, James and Sarah, youthful lovers, pledged in carving bold for all to see.
And Alfred, and his love, Lorraine, did leave testimony of their love.
And the Great Old Oak died because of all that damn carving.


DT:[Laughs.] Oh. Well, that’s very nice.

CS:Oh, goodness.

DT:Nice. Well, thanks for sharing those with us. I didn’t know you had that talent.

CS:Oh, well, goodness, I’m not sure it’s a great talent at all, not–not a great talent, but I have a little fun with it.

DT:Well, I think it’s very difficult to pass on what is special to people, what they really value, and I think poetry is one of the …

CS:Now this lady …

DT:… most elegant ways of doing it.

CS:… this lady is the nature poet really. Fetch your little–your little nature book, “My Nature Book.” Yeah, she’s got a little book. Nature poetry and drawings, um-hmm.

DT:Well, I’d like to see it.

DT:… I think while we’re on poetry and the things that are intangible, I guess, I’d noticed in your resume that you’re an ordained Minister.

CS:Yes. Um-hmm.

DT:A Methodist Minister, is that right?

CS:Um-hmm. That’s right.

DT:And I was curious if you could describe whatever tie you see between your spiritual interests and training and the stewardship and environmental concerns that you have.

CS:Very closely related, as far as I’m concerned. I was in the pastoral ministry for some years and then did what effectively was social services and child care ministries for the Methodist Church here for a good many years of my ministry. But during most of that time, I also was teaching courses for–at the University …

[Tape 2 of two, Side B.]

CS:But during most of that time, I also was–teaching courses for–at the University of Houston Continuing Ed, Rice University, lecturing at A&M, here and there. You know, people ask me to do these kinds of things at–oh, the Nature Center around Houston, on wild edible plants and southeast Texas ecology. That sort of thing and–the Audubon Society offered me their directorship and–at a time they were without a director and it was actually–I took an early retirement from the ministry and it was a very easy move for me ’cause I’d been doing so much of this other, it really was–as much as–an avocation, vocation–you know, I was–I was involved with all that so much. And, I just feel a real ministry in–in the kind of work I–I have done since then. It’s people–people, I–I feel, are the primary focus of–of God’s world, but people and nature are so co-joined. We’re made of the dust of–of the ground and to dust we do return. We’re dust–dust we are because we have within us the same molecules that are in the rocks, and the soil itself.


CS:We’re a product of the earth. We have in us–you know, of course, I–I feel with my theology that we have a living spirit, a soul, and that we’re endowed with this by God. But He did create us with a direct relationship to all the rest of the Creation. We live, develop, we die. We’re a part of a group of animals on earth called mammals. We have a direct relationship in–in the food that we consume. We’re part of the food chain just like everything else, [laughs], and–and we’re so integrally dependent upon nature. There’s no other place that’s a source of the food energies for our life. If we go back–I frankly am not a fundamentalist, …


CS:… although I have a–a very strong Christian faith–very, very strong, and–and very, very conservative one, actually, but I’m not a fundamentalist. However, if you were a fundamentalist and you went–were to look at the early chapters of the Book of Genesis and–see what God charged human beings with doing, there’s a very interesting thing there. ‘Course the very first thing God commanded human beings was–after He created ’em was be fruitful and multiply, and boy, have we done a job of that, you know.


CS:’Course that was fun, doing that, so–the other thing He did then was that He developed the Garden of Eden, and He put the man and the woman in it, “to dress it and to tend it” is the way the phraseology goes. So the very first job God gave man was to be a gardener, to be a caretaker of the beautiful Creation that He created. And I think that that is really symbolic–you know, there’s truth in all of that. There’s truth in it. We have the stewardship of the whole earth, and haven’t done a real good job with that. We’re learning now that–that there’re consequences, if we don’t do a good job of stewardship of this Creation. It’s the only world we have right now, you know. We may have some more later on, I don’t know, but it’s all we got now, and–it’s all we can–we can live in and on and off of. And–so I feel that–and–and all the rest of this Creation is dependent upon us, too. All these other little critters like that kitty-cat over there and the–and the squirrel outside and–we oughta have some–some feeling for them. It’s a world in which, in the present system of things, as God has created it–and sometimes it–really puzzling to us to understand, I guess, all the suffering that takes place–to understand death, …


CS:… to understand violence. There is violence in nature. There’s death out there, there’s a lot of times a lot of sorrow and suffering. It’s part of the world and it’s part of–of our human existence also. But we share all of this with all these other creatures. These other little critters suffer. They have desires. They like life, just as we do. They have fears. And if you get to know the other animals around us–like we know our pets. We know every pet we have, every dog is an individual, every cat’s an individual.


CS:They have their own personality. And, they have their fears and their desires and their pleasures and–and all this kind of thing and–we need to really take that into account.

DT:I’m curious about that because I’ve read about, you know, was it St. Francis who, you know, loved the smallest bird and …


DT:… and I’ve read about, apparently there’re some monks, who whenever they walk, they take a broom with them so that they sweep the path in front of them so they don’t step on and harm any insect. So I’m wondering, is there any sort of hierarchy?

CS:Well, the Janes–the Janes in India do that. Oh, no, I wouldn’t go that far. AS a matter of fact, …

DT:Then how do you distinguish between the care and respect that you would give an intelligent creature like a whale that can communicate and has social skills and maybe the lowest insect?

CS:Um-hmm. Yeah.

DT:I mean, is there a different duty to those?

CS:Yeah. The higher the form of life, the more intelligent the specie, I think, the more value it has, both to–to the world, to the–created world, to human beings and to God. But, I really value that–that phrase that Jesus used, “Not a sparrow falls without your Father,” you know.


CS:”And you’re of more–be of good cheer. You are–do not fear, you’re of more value than many sparrows.” But, even that sparrow has value to God somehow and God is aware of that sparrow. And I feel this way, that–that God in His greatness is to sustain and–and continue to imbue–to breathe life into all this Creation–has to be aware of every particle of it, every molecule, every creature, every–every bit of it. So–you know, even insects try to flee their own destruction, even insects like life.


CS:I saw a cockroach going across the floor in there a while ago.


CS:He–ran from me, [laughs], …


CS:… because he knew I’d step on him or do something inimical to his health.


CS:Yes, there are things that we have to do. We have to eliminate pests within our own bodies by medicines, to survive. The things we have to do in this world to survive, we have to–unless–unless you’re a vegetarian, we have to kill animals for food.

DT:But then I guess, by the same token, if you didn’t have the bacteria in your stomach you couldn’t survive.

CS:Oh, that’s right. That–that–they’re necessary ones there, too. Right, absolutely.

DT:Well, …

CS:We’re all inter-linked in one way or another. And I think that we’ve been very cruel–humans have been very cruel to the Creation in many, many ways but–I think God also calls man. The–the Hebrews were given a good many directives in their laws, anciently, for taking care of critters. “You shall not muzzle the oxen that treads out the grain.” You’ve gotta give him his share, too. He’s the one that’s sweatin’ and workin’ and pulling the–pulling the big stone wheel around, you know.

DT:Right. Right.

CS:And, don’t be cruel to animals. I–I think this is–that’s just as much biblical as–as–as any other–directive we have. All these–all these other critters–are important, too, and unless we–we can be benevolent to some extent, in our Lordship of this Creation–O.K., we’re given dominion. “You shall have dominion over–all the creatures of the earth, the fish of the sea,” and what-have-you, you know. We do. We do, verily we do. But will we be cruel masters or will we be good ones? Will we be benevolent ones or will we be Christ-like ones? To me, you know, …


CS:… will we be Christ-like? Gentle, kind, loving, as much as we can be within this–within this Creation as it is at present, within this–this imperfect world.

DT:Kind of a big responsibility and pretty daunting.

CS:Um-hmm. Absolutely.
DT:Well, when you–when you talk to kids and people that you interpret …
DT:… nature to, what do you try and pass on? I mean, it’s obvious that you have a faith and a concern about it that’s very important to you but how do you pass that on?
DT:I mean, like your father did to you, …
DT:… when he would show you about plants, …
DT:… and your mother as well?
CS:One of the things I try to pass on first is this sense of stewardship and connection with the natural world. Again, we’re part of it. And dust we are of–these other creatures out there have feelings, too. WE sometimes bring out–we have connections with the wildlife rehabilitation folks who …
CS:… try to–rehabilitate animals that have been struck by cars, animals that’ve been shot by B-B guns–birds, what-have-you, you know. Rehabilitate them, the goal being to get them back to where they can be released to the wild and have their life again. Sometimes we can’t because perhaps a wing is–is broken off and this–this hawk will never be able to fly again. It–it can’t live out there ’cause it can’t catch its prey.
CS:And so we make it–an educational feature, and we take care of it. We give it its life, we give it its food and we–and usually they learn that they’re being taken care of pretty well, too, you know, and–and they become sort of like a pet but that’s not the goal of this. We–we don’t really want pets, you know. We want to turn these birds and animals and what-have-you loose in–to live their life as a wild creature, that’s what they are. But, as an educational thing, we can bring out Istacapay[?], the hawk who is blind in one eye. We–we are not sure exactly why he was found that way, but because a hawk has to focus with two eyes on his prey he can’t–he can’t make a living out there.
CS:So we have him. He’s a magnificent creature–red-tailed hawk. And our rehabber has ‘course a steel-reinforced glove, on which he sits with his powerful talons and looks at everybody with that frowning, hawk-like look, you know, and–we bring out Moon, the possum. Moon was kept by some people as a pet and–unfortunately most wild creatures don’t make good pets and people don’t know how to take care of ’em. They fed him poor nutrition so his feet never developed, so that he can walk or climb. He can’t climb at all. He can barely walk across the floor. But he’s a neat little animal, too, and–for the kids to see. We have the little screech owl that flew into a car and–knocked himself kinda cuckoo. We–he’s–he’s not very smart, you know, and probably–and he definitely wouldn’t make it out there. We called him–Gump.
CS:Gump. [Laughs.]
DT:That’s very nice.
CS:[Laughs.] Well, he is really a cute little animal. And he will sit there and blink at the kids and he winks, you know, one eye at a time and that sort of thing. And kids–just fall in love with these little critters right away.
DT:Is there something instinctual, do you think, in the kids that they have some relationship–rapport with–the animals?
CS:I think they see that these are not just–scary creatures out there in the wild, you know. Or hooting in the night, that kind of thing, but–are live creatures with feelings, emotions, and–and trepidations and–a sense of–you know, friendliness and curiosity, too, sometimes. The kind of emotions that we had, …
CS:… to some degree at least as the normal …
CS:… and–and the kids began to perceive them as–having some value in the world, and–then they began to get I think a little feeling of stewardship because–if you–if you appreciate the role of an animal in nature–and while we’re showing ’em these critters, and they’re enjoying looking at ’em and all, we can tell them the benefits in the world and–and the importance of predators, because predators cull the sick and the–and the old, and–the marginal life from–from a specie to keep that specie strong, healthy. Very, very important. If it weren’t for these hawks, and even those snakes over there in the cases, we’d be overrun with rodents, we would not be able to grow grain crops. Even now the farmers lose many, many–several billion dollars worth of grains in this country every year to rodents, because the rodents not only eat the grains in the fields, they–they eat ’em in the granaries and the bins and the barns and all that. Farmers used to go out–a little bit more primitive time–used to go out in the woods up in the Midwest–the grain farmers and–and find themselves a big rat snake somewhere under a log and catch that rat snake and bring it in and put it in his barn, because they’ll take out the rats that’re in there eating his grain.
CS:And, some studies have been made in recent years showing how important snakes are. I’m not a snake lover, you know, and it’s a little bit hard to really relate to a snake, like maybe you can relate to a little furry rabbit or squirrel or something like that.
DT:Yeah. Yeah.
CS:But, their importance is enormous in–in mouse and rat control in this country, tremendous! They are worth billions every year to the farmers, but–with their rodent control.
DT:Well, I imagine the dollars and cents of it, you know affects people and they understand it then and …
CS:Um-hmm. Yeah, that’s right.
DT:… and it’s something that goes to the bottom line and they …
CS:That’s right. And then maybe they won’t …
DT:See that it’s …
CS:… get the hoe or the gun and–and kill every snake they see after this, you know, that–[laughs]–snakes need to be respected.
DT:I see.
DT:And I guess, using these animals, both the furry ones and the slinky ones …
CS:Um-hmm. [Laughs.]
DT:… like the snake, you can maybe open these kids’ minds and then you can tell them some of these facts about not only that the animals are your friends, but they’re also something that …
DT:… is valuable to all of us.
CS:Extremely. Yeah, absolutely.
DT:I see.
CS:That–that helps them then, too, like I say, to relate to the world and to appreciate it. To appreciate the complexity of it, …
CS:… the inter-relatedness of all life.
DT:Well, …
CS:And I think–maybe, like it’s always done for me, give a sense of–of awe and marvel at–at God’s mind in creating all of this.
DT:Yeah! Well, you know, I think it’s wonderful. It’s an incredible gift from God. Gives us this marvelous diverse world, and in a different sense that you too pass this along to other people: your love of nature. Often I’ve found that it’s a particular place means something to people. I’m curious if there’s a place that you can think of, that you think is very beautiful, very special, that you could tell me about. Is there something that comes to mind? You know, maybe out at Jesse Jones Park or elsewhere?
CS:Well, I guess …
DT:Big Thicket or …
CS:… I–I–although I live in the flat lands now, I love mountains and–and real topography. But I–many beautiful places in this world. I’ve been–tropical jungles, I’ve been–out on the ocean, love the ocean, and been up in the mountains and–the High Plains are beautiful, sometimes where there’s absolutely no feature but a horizon, you know. It’s the bigness and the openness …
DT:Oh, yeah.
CS:… of that. All–all aspects of the earth to me are beautiful, really, the natural world. But, I guess there’re some–places that will always be specially–in my mind as–as especially beautiful from–my childhood in the Ozarks, which is really a pretty place.
CS:In the mountains, the springs–clear springs running over rocks and column vines knotting around a little waterfall and–little valleys, little glades where wild iris bloom and …
CS:… things like that. You know, there’s–but I love these big pine forests–pine hardwood forests down here, too. They’re marvelous for the richness of–of the woods here. I like the winter woods. It’s …
CS:… there’s something about the openness and the cleanness of the winter woods that–even the bare grass in the meadows and the glades has some kind of warmth about it to me that–that I really like. The big marshes down here on the Coast? They’re wonderful, too, with all the rich life they have.
DT:Um-hmm. Well, I know you’ve taken tours down to–I think this was Galveston Island State Park and …
CS:Oh, many times, yeah. [Laughs.] And …
DT:And what do you show people when you go there, what’s a typical trip down there you …
CS:I haven’t been down there in a while. I–took wild edible plant trips down there with people, overnight ones. We were–had permission to do that even before the park opened down there years ago, …
DT:I see.
CS:… and afterward. That marsh, you know, in–on–in the park there and–in fact, all up and down is one of those–wetlands that is so rich as a producer of life. Most of the things that the sport fishermen know as–as their sport fish, like the speckled trout and the red fish and–and also the shrimp. ‘Course mollusks, the whole chain of life that–that feeds all this in-shore and off-shore life down there, develops into marshes.
CS:The brackish marshes. And–so they’re very rich and those marshes are full of–very interesting plant life, too. Cattails, bulrushes–beautiful big bulrushes that the Indians used to weave and that they ate the tubers of and–and make mats to cover their dwellings with, and the many interesting forms of plant life along the dunes there, the wild–the Morning Glories, lilt foot creeper, the–the glass wort, which is another good edible plant, salty but pleasant-tasting. Many actually good edibles that grow right along the–the bay edges, the little inlets and–salty but …
DT:Do you–by the way, do you–do you still give some of these tours and classes?
CS:I haven’t done much in–in the last few years because I–health problems and–and my–the demands of my work.
CS:At least once a year we do a–a wild edible plant walk at the park there and I take people out and we’ll go and–they’ll sample nibbles and then we’ll come in, cook up a couple of things and make some wild teas and–do that kind of thing, just a one-day …
DT:Well, when is that?
CS:Beg pardon?
DT:What time of year is that usually?
CS:Usually in the spring time. We have a–a spring hike set, and I don’t have our schedule right here but it’s–I believe this one’s in early April, in which we will do some of that, around the park. Be delighted to have you along, [laughs], if you like bus …
DT:Well, I was wondering if I could get on the mailing lists because …
CS:Sure, I’d be delighted. Um-hmm.
DT:… and maybe I could trundle this thing along and get you in action as you’re interpreting some of this.
CS:Oh, well, bless your heart. Be delighted to have you along on any of those.
CS:We do a lot of walks in which we point out some wild edible plants but just–as a matter of incidence, in–in pointing out a lot of other things. The red bud trees are starting to bloom right now.
DT:Oh. Heavens.
CS:And red bud flowers are delicious, [laughs], absolutely.
DT:I didn’t know that!
CS:The Indians loved red bud blossoming time. You can reach up and take a–a whole–get a big handful out of just a–a little section of a branch. They grow up and down the branches in such profusion, you can fill up a good-sized pail with red buds and the tree’ll never miss ’em, there’re so many on it. And, you can bring those in, wash ’em in a colander and mix ’em with your salad. They make a bright, beautiful salad and they’re tasty. They have a–sort of a sweet and tart taste at the same time. You just pick ’em off the tree if you want to and eat ’em. I let kids do that there in the park, you know, when we’re walking around.
DT:Well, that’s great.
DT:And the adults and–it’s always a surprise.
CS:Try that on vanilla ice cream. That’s great.
DT:Vanilla ice cream. Well, we have some red buds in–at home.
DT:We got some–I think–somebody told me it was Eastern red bud and then some Mexican red bud?
CS:Yeah. Either of ’em are fine.
DT:Doesn’t matter.
CS:Um-hmm, Yeah, that’s right. Both of them are edible.
DT:Well, I need to join you on one of these tours.
CS:Be delighted to have you along.
DT:We can keep in touch about that and again, this has been really interesting for me. I feel a little bit embarrassed because I’ve asked all these questions and I feel like you may have something to add, that–without me …
DT:… leading you around, trying to be nosey and …
CS:Well, no, I–I think that the questions you’ve asked are–are probably the most pertinent ones, …
DT:Well, is it …
CS:… in this whole area. The thing of education–people in nature, and the environment I think is extremely important, and that education is going on. Now I’m impressed with the environmental education that schools are doing, particularly the elementary schools, and I think that’s really wonderful. We do it–that’s really why–why we’re there with our park. We have thousands of school kids every year, you know, that we take about on these nature walks and …
CS:… and our living history walks and our pioneer homestead and that kind of thing. But I think the more people really understand and know about nature, the better stewards they’ll be of the world, because they come to appreciate how interrelated all things are in this world.
DT:Well said! [Applauds.]
CS:Thank you. Thank you. [Laughs.]
DT:Thanks a lot. I guess I’ll call it a day.
End of reel 1003
End of interview with Carmine Stahl