Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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This paper and self-guided field trip has given me the opportunity to see my surrounding environment for all that it was worth. Until this assignment I have been living with blinders on and have failed to notice all that was around me. I have lived in Chico for more then three years now and although I have been to Bidwell park and certainly walked over the bridges on campus, I have been oblivious to the pulchritude and naturalness that I found on my trip. The word natural in the dictionary means, “not artificial or formed by nature.” All of the areas that I visited along my trip were indeed formed by nature. The Big Chico Creek, a free-flowing waterway, is the most natural component in all of the areas on the self-guided field trip. The area that seemed the most natural to me was the last stop on the trip. There were tall shrubs, the ripe berries, and lots of vegetation along the banks of the creek.

This area is Bidwell park.

        The land which is now Bidwell Park is a beautiful, serene environment of vast open space. In 1849 John Bidwell purchased this land in a Mexican land grant for the Chico property in hopes of building a town. Annie Bidwell, John Bidwell’s wife deeded 1,900 of their acres to the new City of Chico for the purpose of establishing a park. This park today is the second largest municipal park, city owned, in the country; Bidwell Park.(Marchetti 01) The section located in Bidwell Park upstream from the recreational swimming hole is what I believe to be the most natural area. Natural, to me, is any person, place or thing that is in it’s original state, pure, and unchanged from any outside source. The area was so over-grown and full of trees, shrubs, plants, and wildlife. Everywhere I looked there was an abundance of vegetation and I felt as though I was in the middle of nowhere. This area appeared like a natural blemish within the surroundings because it looked un-altered and portrayed diminutive signs of human impact. I imagine that this could have been the way the landscape looked when John Bidwell first purchased the area back in 1849. This section is very secluded and the environment seems to run wild, with greenery covering the ground and the un-maintained branches of the trees. There were several animals intermixed within the surroundings, such as birds, insects ans squirrels. I chose this particular area of the trip to be the most natural because it is a place that was in it’s original state, pure, and unchanged. This place did not suggest that it was altered by an outside source. It appeared extremely natural in itself.

        Further along the trail, continuing up stream the idea of natural takes a drastic turn. This section of the self-guided field trip is where the bike path and the highway 99 overpass come into play, turning the picturesque environment into a man-made, altered scene. This area is more heavily populated with human influence, such as the highway, the bike trail, the foot traffic and the street signs. All of these things added to the sound of the passing vehicles overhead somehow effect the idea of natural.

        The most natural of all the area I visited on my self-guided field trip remains to be the section of Bidwell Park upstream from the recreational swimming hole. Through this trip I have realized how unfortunate it is that sometimes inorder to recognize the importance of something in nature, there has to be a sign pointing it out or it has to be labeled as a significant site. Many people are oblivious to the fact that importance is relevant to the observer, and if the time is taken to look closer at the surrounding environment, things can be found that others might not have even realized. I appreciate the insight, that this paper has shown by giving me the opportunity to come across the value our natural enviornment has. I have now taken off my blinders and opened my eyes, to not only the small segments of the natural environment outlined on this field trip, but to the entire geographical environment of nature.