|The legacy of Thornton Burgess is of great importance and should be pursued. |
However, when Laughing Brook's Mass Audubon was burned to the ground by a pyromaniac a couple of years ago it signaled the end of a downward spiral at the facility which had begun in the 80s as result of Mass Audubon's unilateral decision to make this facility solely a protected area for hikers.
The most important thing lost, however, was not the historic significance of a tribute to Mr Burgess's writings, but, rather it was the chance for local kids to have a setting for environmental education which is sadly lacking both here and nationally. If you want to send your child to a sports camp, they abound for things like soccer, lacrosse, baseball and football. If you want your child to be educated as to the value of our environment and allow them some hands on experience with nature the closest
facility is Acadia in Easthampton and the logistics of sending your child there for a summer camp session are difficult to maneuver.
A group called The Friends of Laughing Brook were set to take over the animals housed at Laughing Brook in the 80s, and at no cost to Mass Audubon, but, they were turned away by this agency who then proceeded to install administrators who guaranteed the demise of this facility.
A partnership is needed with participants from the community coming together to raise this facility from the ashes much like the Phoenix. Heh!
Maybe we could call this facility The Phoenix Center.
It is unconscionable and depressing that this once vibrant center with interns from places like Penn. State and other colleges, which helped shape the environmental movement of the 70's is now merely a hiking area. We have hiking areas and we need more.
Neil Young spoke of mother nature being on the run in the 1970s and 35 years later she is exhausted and needs help. By rebuilding a facility which helps educate our children as to the value of nature and our environment and giving them the option of seeing this as a career path and maybe helping out our tired mother.