In a normal summer newsletter of the IBK Nature Group we would profile some of the wildlife, nature trails, flora, night skies, lakes and streams of Innsbrook that we have more time to enjoy during the lazy days of summer. (View last year’s summer news HERE to see an example.) In this issue, however, we wish to share something we believe is more important for the IBK community.
As many long-time property owners remember, the original guiding vision, motto, and ethos of Innsbrook was to live in harmony with nature. (We’ll use LHN for short.) That messaging is how we found IBK and why we chose to move full-time into what we consider to be one of the finest multi-season habitats of the Midwest. We remain ever so thankful for the founding families of Innsbrook who made all this possible while keeping Nature a priority.
Sadly over the past few years it is our opinion that the emphasis on LHN has been eroded, intentionally or not. It appears to us that Innsbrook Resort’s advertising, newsletters, and programs these days have fewer references to Nature much less to living in harmony with it. As example, “Living in Harmony with Nature” has been missing for sometime from the resort’s Village Views newsletter masthead. Rarely does protection of natural assets get attention at the annual property owner meetings from the front or back of the room. Instead, the discussion is often focused on man-made amenities, most of which can be found all over the region. Other examples come to mind.
Personally speaking, it’s been hard to find or collaborate with an Innsbrook office that feels they have the responsibility or authority as if a Chief Nature Officer. Without that role, compounded by property owners not having a direct seat as an IOA trustee, I worry that bad decisions can be made on growth issues such as how to respond to sewage spills, establishing conservation easements, restricting the larger noisy polluting UTVs, mowing down blooming butterfly-friendly milkweed, new construction tearing up nature trails, and a host of other matters small and big.
We are encouraged to see that the Village of Innsbrook on its municipal website at https://www.villageofinnsbrook.org/ continues to promote our community as one in harmony with nature. Yet, when we look deeper for programs, events, committees, ordinances, or resources to support that mission, we struggle to find any. And when we attend Village Trustee meetings, there is rarely any discussion about Nature from our elected trustees or attending residents.
Living Close to Nature and in Harmony With It Is Not Easy and Does Not Happen Without Effort
With the lack of leadership attention to Nature it’s no surprise that some new property owners don’t know any better and nearly clear-cut their lots making it look like the suburbs, call out critter control for any wildlife problem, shoot off private fireworks every holiday, throw trash in overflowing dumpsters that should have lids to keep critters out, leave exterior lights on for weeks at a time when they are gone spoiling our star-watching night skies, poison rodents which enter the food chain of our local bald eagle family, or want to kill off some mammals just so they have other wildlife to hunt and fish.
We are the first to admit that aspiring to LHN is not easy. As former city dwellers, we have made our share of mistakes and compromises over nearly 15 years at IBK. We are far from perfect and have reverted back to city-ways too many times. But in the process we have become better educated and more mindful of how our decisions, good and bad, impact the natural world and environment around us.
Researching to pull together the IBK Nature Group newsletter each season has taught us so much about the advantages AND responsibilities of living in rural Missouri, close to Nature. We hope that our followers have also expanded their capacity to witness, enjoy, respect, and preserve Nature. We are so appreciative of all the support and comments received as we tried to make our community, that was already very good, even better and more sustainable in the future.
Results of Recent Polls
In our Spring 2017 Newsletter we reported the results of how well readers thought the IBK community was doing in living its motto of a community in harmony with nature. Half of the respondents thought we were doing good, but with some work to do better. But a third thought that we were not doing as well as we should have or doing a poor or failing job at LHN.
In a more recent poll in the Spring 2018 Newsletter we asked readers “are you also concerned that the Innsbrook community is losing its emphasis and ethos on living in harmony with nature?” The results of our admittedly unscientific sampling indicate that almost two-thirds were concerned or unsure. That’s too many, so what to do?
All Invited to July 28 Meeting
On Saturday morning, July 28, we will host an open discussion on Living in Harmony with Nature at Innsbrook. We will start by asking is LHN still relevant or important to our community? Should it be? We’ll share our own tips for better LHN as well as confess our personal challenges. We will invite others to share their tips, examples, concerns and questions. We will discuss the results of previous surveys on what property owners value the most from Nature at IBK. Finally, we hope to leave with a set of questions, guidelines, and recommendations for further discussion and action.
The meeting, open to all who are interested, will be held from 10:30 -11:30 am in the property owners meeting room at Charrette Creek Commons. We especially invite property owners who are new to living at IBK or in a rural setting to attend and learn from the rest of us. For more information email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (636) 745-0121 to volunteer your help in hosting or following up the meeting results.
A Short Hike Over to Charrette Creek
After the indoor meeting we will get outdoors to take a short hike across the Commons field to an easy accessible location along Charrette Creek where earlier this year we had established a new Missouri Stream Team monitoring site. Here we will point out the elements we learned at our recent state-sponsored training class that make up a healthy stream and surrounding watershed. (Read more about this in our last newsletter.) This includes how to assess water quality by inspecting all of the macro-invertebrates, like a scud, that live under rocks in a stream riffle. Don’t know what a riffle or scud is? We’ll show you!
Closing Nature Quote
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you; or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth and it will teach you; or let the fish of the sea inform you.” Can you guess the author of this ancient wisdom? We’ll tell you on July 28!
Rich McFall & Kath Kremer, Resident Nature Geeks
Please note: This blog post presents our personal experience and opinions as we are not representing nor speaking on behalf of other Nature Group followers, residents, property owners, the Innsbrook Resort, or Innsbrook Corp. all of whom we respect may have different history, opinions, and concerns.