Column: Value vs. development


Commentary by Angela Herrmann

“What is the price we pay for the loss of our natural world?,” asks Angelo J. Dattilo, president of A.D. Environmental, Inc., in Carmel.

This question has nagged at Dattilo for years. As a Carmel-area resident since 1993 with his wife, Wendy, and an avid, long-time birder, Dattilo has observed firsthand the area’s rapid growth. With the conveniences of new development, however, he knows what residents have lost. He recalls the 1990s Greyhound Plaza proposal that required the removal of a large woodlot.

“I knew that a Cooper’s hawk nested in those woods,” Dattilo said. He had spent time observing the nest as the male and female roosted there. Even though he attended a hearing to speak out against the development, he knew he couldn’t stop it. The woods are gone, as are the hawks, but he has never forgotten them.

A few years ago, he stumbled across the Indiana Forest Alliance, an organization dedicated to preserving and restoring Indiana’s native forest ecosystems. There he discovered IFA’s Ecoblitz, a survey of life within deep-forest habitats. He volunteered to help document birds in Morgan-Monroe State Forest. That experience led him to serve on IFA’s board of directors, and he has just begun his second term. For him, it’s a question of how to balance the losses with the gains.

“It’s a matter of what we value,” he said. “Can we develop and keep the habitat?”

Angela Herrmann is the director of communications and outreach for the Indiana Forest Alliance. The mission of the IFA is to preserve and restore Indiana’s native hardwood ecosystem for the enjoyment of all. Learn more about IFA at Join IFA for Forest Flights & Pints from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at Books & Brews, 61 W. City Center Dr. in Carmel.