Photo courtesy of wreckingball.org
I found out about Windsor's strike and unintentional re-wilding project via the Broken City Lab, whose latest project has been to unofficially recognize the city's overgrown meadows with these signs, which they designed and installed themselves:
At first, the flood of comments and letters on the strike by 1,800 city workers, including those who cut the grass in the usually manicured parks, expressed anger about the unsightly overgrowth.
Then the grass matured, the wildflowers began blooming and wildlife returned. And the letters began to change.
This one is almost poetic in its description:
"The long grass is now home to so many singing birds and insects and there is such a wide variety of colourful native plants in bloom. The wind can be heard as it blows through the grass ... Such a difference from the plain, flat and empty space it was before."
The park? The soccer pitches at the Ford Test Track [which is exactly what it sounds like: a former proving ground for Detroit's dying manufacturers] in the heart of the city.
"Today was the first time that I have ever considered that park to be beautiful," wrote the woman.
A colony of bobolinks and some eastern meadowlarks, declining species known and loved for their beautiful song, were discovered there last month. They surprised and delighted birdwatchers. A grassland species, they're rarely seen in the city because there isn't much grassland.
I love how these signs tweak peoples' perceptions of these places: suddenly, it's not an overgrown lawn or a symbol of municipal neglect: it's a wildlife refuge!