We recently received some thoughts from our Environmental Educator, Tyler Twyford. We wanted to pass them along, because we certainly share them:

Tyler finds mushrooms

Tyler finds dinner in the Park

This week I stumbled across a massive stockpile of chicken of the woods mushrooms. After hauling as much as I could carry back home, I caught up with a good friend and we ate fried “chicken” all evening. With a full belly and heart, I had some time to reflect upon some of the things I am thankful for this year.
* Editor’s Note: Tyler is somewhat of an expert in all things Outdoors, and can safely identify edible mushrooms from the more dangerous varieties. Consult an expert before experimenting with mushroom recipes.

I am thankful for our wonderful park system and the abundance of hidden treasures it holds. Even with nearly 2 million annual visitors, it is far from overrun and there are still special places to find. The quiet forested places. The myriad deserted islands. The deep dark holes of the river where the big catfish patiently wait for their next meal.

Mostly I am thankful there is always something new to learn; some discovery to be made. Each time I find myself in these places I learn something new. Sometimes it’s a plant I never noticed before or an interesting animal behavior. Sometimes I learn something new about myself or my friends. Always, I find a reason to rejoice.

The James River Park System and our other parks scattered throughout our city have been an incredible source of support for many through what has been a trying year so far. I hope we can all find time to enjoy its many resources, share with friends and discover something new.