Skip to main content

Okay, maybe it isn't an update, per se, as there isn't really any information that wasn't known Friday.  As expected, the Board of Visitors is reviewing the vaunted report today and will presumably be making a final recommendation soon.  The good news is they are more than free to ignore everything Dr. Randolph says or recommends in said report.

The bad news, of course, is that this debate is even happening.  It's a sad testament to how deeply football is entrenched, both culturally and financially, with higher education, a relationship that serves neither interest set well, all things considered.  I mean seriously...that the Athletics Department is stubbornly resisting an alternate site is simply mind-boggling.  I repeat:  nobody is saying, "Don't build this facility."  All they are saying is, "Don't build it at the expense of Stadium Woods."

It's a touchy issue, with clear battle lines being drawn between the athletic department and ... well, pretty much everyone else.

...John Seiler, a professor of forestry at Virginia Tech, sent me a lengthy (and passionate) email outlining why he thinks the woods are so valuable.

"Let me clarify what these 'woods' are," he wrote. "In these 'woods:' are over 56 trees over 3 feet in diameter, 5 are over 50 inches in diameter. Many of these trees date back over 300 years. Old growth experts indicate this area is indeed 'unique'...The area could very well be one of the largest single collections of 250 to 300 year old white oak trees anywhere in the eastern U.S."

Speaking of value, the estimated economic impact of cutting into these woods is at least $1 million, and that's just for the low end estimate of only using three acres.  As if it would ever actually remain limited to that.
Cutting or otherwise altering 3 acres for the facility would devalue the woods by more than $1 million, according to the report. But construction is not the only thing that could degrade the woods.

...No mere inventory of species or site plan assessment, the valuation is based largely on pollution management services provided by the woods and its old growth ecosystem and calculated using a model developed by the U.S. Forest Service, the report stated.

It should really be a no-brainer, right?  If there's a solution where everybody can have what they want, then you're done, right?  Everybody wins and we all go home and have cake, right?  No; we are now living in some bizarro land where, apparently, ostensible adults refuse to compromise and suggesting that athletes walk or * gasp! * run a slightly bit further between training facilities is out of bounds.  I wish I were joking, but this is quoted directly from the first article:
The only down side that is that it's not exactly right next to the current practice fields. Knowing how precious practice time is and the fact that coaches like to shuttle players from field to field, it would not exactly be the most convenient place.
Awwww...the poor widdle spors teemz will haftoo walk extwa.  Oh the humanity!  Inconveniencing athletes...quelle horreur!  Like I said, that this is even a contentious issue is simply stunning, and not in the good way.  The good news is that we still have a little bit of time to make some noise on this!

If you are a VA Tech alumnus, please let your opinion be known far and wide throughout the University, leveraging whatever relationships you have.  Alumni and current students:  let it be known, especially to the Athletics Department, that you will not be attending any VT games and will neither be buying any VT merchandise.  It's just appalling that they refused to drop this forever ago and are now hiding behind the Board of Visitors skirts, as it were.

Speaking of the Board of Visitors, this is where all y'all non-Hokies can please help save these beautiful trees.  And it's all about the article I linked to above about the intrinsic value of this forest:

the valuation is based largely on pollution management services provided by the woods
To be specific with one example:  forestation provides a carbon sink, capturing CO2 from the environment.  If one were to ask me, I would say that deforestation and the resultant loss of carbon sinks is the most overlooked point in the climate change debate.  It also happens to be the easiest thing we could possibly to do help, i.e. leave trees and forests alone, i.e., do nothing. Nothing is cheaper or easier than nothing!

But I digress, as letters to University Boards of Visitors must be very serious and what not.  The point is that those trees are doing every living thing on the planet a favor and it is not the right of anyone to so callously toss aside such a sorely needed world resource.  

So please kindly send them a note pointing out how prestigious this, in fact, makes Stadium Woods and, by extension, Virginia Tech.  Or they can forever shame VT by shallowly choosing flash and cash over essentially life itself when you get right down to it.  Besides, cutting old-growth forest is a sin.  But be sure to wish them a happy Monday!

Originally posted to Cedwyn on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 09:06 AM PDT.

Also republished by Southern Action.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site