Santa Cruz Sentinel
Also published in The Mercury News and East Bay Times
The sun had just risen, but its warm rays hadn’t yet crept into the bottom of the canyon. The air was crisp and clean. Birds rustled in the trees and brush around the pond in the canyon’s depths.
Red-winged blackbirds, flickers and oak titmice called from the treetops in a chatter of pert chirps and low whistles. Birdwatcher Lisa Larson pointed her binoculars at a stir in the trees — a white-throated sparrow, her first of the season.
It’s an unexpectedly pastoral scene for a city dump — one that exemplifies how landfills can be transformed into fertile homes for wildlife.