Recently the Prince George’s Audubon Society submitted a letter to protect a local park in Hyattsville, MD in Prince George’s County. Learn more and get involved on the Protect Hyattsville Parks website.
September 14, 2019
Dear Prince Georges County Government, Public School and City of Hyattsville legislators and decision-makers,
The Prince George’s Audubon Society’s (PGAS) mission is to protect birds, other wildlife and their habitats in Prince George’s County. The purpose of this letter is to comment on the proposal to relocate Hyattsville Middle School to Magruder Park.
Green spaces in urban areas provide critical habitat for wildlife. The dense forest of Magruder Park along the Northwest branch of the Anacostia is important habitat for wildlife from migrating birds and butterflies to threatened northern long-eared bats, foxes and other mammals. Three of our Board members are long-time residents of Hyattsville and attest to the richness of bird life in the park and surrounding forest. The Ebird digital inventory of bird observations lists the park, a listed state ecological area, as a hotspot for birds. Birds sightings include various raptors, herons, barred and screech owls, five woodpecker species and also rarer species such as the gray-cheeked thrush and prothonotary warbler.
Its trees and understory contribute to the work of improving water quality in the river and its streams, one of which runs through Magruder Park. The forest is designated a resource conservation area in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area because the retention of forest is critical to the health of the Bay.
One of our Audubon initiatives is to inform and educate about the importance of plant biodiversity for birds and wildlife. Hyattsville citizens are commended for their great work removing invasive plant species from Magruder Park and for promoting native plants at Hyattsville Elementary PTA fundraisers. Our remaining green spaces are extremely valuable natural resources which should be conserved and preserved to protect wildlife and to provide places where all ages can see and experience wildlife in natural habitats. By protecting habitat and promoting native plants, birds and wildlife in our communities are better able to adapt, survive and be enjoyed by future generations. Decision makers involved should focus on different solutions for the clearly needed new school. PGAS strongly objects to the proposal and asks that you reject any plan that destroys the forests of Magruder park.
Kenneth Cohen, President
Prince George’s Audubon Society