Growing up in New Jersey, author, editor and photographer Michael T. Luongo traveled very little.
“As a child, my parents never traveled anywhere,” he says. “They couldn’t throw all the kids in the car and come back in the space of a day.”
Instead, Luongo referred to his parents’ art and archaeology books and began to discover a love for foreign places.
“It was something that started to develop ever since I was little,” he says. “I read a lot. I was constantly reading.”
Steve Cotter, the natural resources manager for the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, is at home in Bryan Park. He walks to the creek and leans against the wooden fence that protects the little-known but ecologically important wildlife habitat that exists in and around the creek.
"We had a problem with the creek here, it was badly eroded and very difficult to maintain," Cotter said. "It had steep, vertical slopes where every time it rained, the creek would undercut the bank, and then the bank would fall into the creek and go downstream. It's bad for the water quality, and it's not good for the park, either."
Part of the remedy was the Bryan Park Creek Naturalization Project, which was also one of the first steps toward Bloomington's certification as a Community Wildlife Habitat.
The project involved vegetating the creek bank, with the emphasis on native plant species, using the plants' natural abilities to protect the creek.