How to deal with a dangerous park/neighborhood when out iNatting!

Had the day off today from work, so of course, I'm outside at a park. I went to Lake Como Park in Fort Worth, and I found out it's in a pretty rough neighborhood... I interacted with a few guys... Several homeless folks were out smoking and drinking this morning. A few folks came up to me and talked with me a bit. They were pretty scary looking but were fairly nice. They told me about an alligator they spotted and that I should come back after dark to see it. Riiiiiight. I believe them about the gator, but there's no way I'm coming back to this place when the sun goes down!

So, I'm curious -- have you ever gone to a park or place that's in a rough neighborhood or area? How did you deal with it? Did it turn out not to be an issue? What have your experiences been in dangerous areas?

פורסם על-ידי sambiology sambiology, אפריל 27, 2015 05:20 אחה"צ

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Will try to look this one up later too!

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סנאי שועלי Sciurus niger

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Even the squirrels were alert in this rough neighborhood!!!

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I think being a "mad scientist" help protect you in dangerous places, because people don't know what to make of you. In general in life, being mad tends to trump being bad.

Stuff like wearing a head-mounted magnifier or similar helps create the mad scientist vibe, as does grubbing about in the dirt for hours on end.

Also generally speaking, being not afraid is a good defense. If someone wants to attack someone or mug someone, they prefer to pick on someone who is already afraid, because that gives the attacker a significant advantage.

Being extremely polite and courteous also helps, like asking people if they mind your looking around "their" park for interesting wildlife.

פורסם על-ידי susanhewitt לפני יותר מ 6 שנים (סמן)
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Sam, you have raised a point that I have not yet had to consider in my personal search for unique wildlife observations in Lee, Milam, and surrounding counties. In my small niche of Texas, we have yet to experience the daily trauma that would warrant curtailment of my enjoyment of public places.

I do live in a comparatively rural setting, considering what I perceive as your stomping grounds of Ft. Worth and Mansfield. I also spend no more time than necessary in Austin, and little in Bryan-College Station.

However, I must confess to driving distracted...not with cell phone in hand... but with having one eye on the side of the road searching for something interesting, a plant or DOR animal.

I pull over on the side of county roads or highways, often making a U-turn to revisit a site. This is perhaps the most frightful of my experiences... my safe maneuvering among the traffic without endangering others traveling the road with me.

(My worst catastrophe so far has been getting stuck in mud on the side of a Farm to Market Road a couple of weeks ago.)

So, I am not usually face to face with others when I make observations on roadsides. Yes, someone may stop and knock me in the head someday. People around here just speed past on the highway. If on a less traveled road, they will wave or may stop to say "Hi".
I really do not understand your situation, but I liked and recommend especially invertzoo's last sentence in her comment...

In other words, the folks already told you about "their" alligator...
My two cents... Linda Jo

פורסם על-ידי connlindajo לפני יותר מ 6 שנים (סמן)
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invertzoo has good advice. Being polite, friendly, and confident is the way to go in, and acting crazy can be a totally legit defense if that fails. My husband knows someone who regularly had to walk through a rough park alone in DC at odd times, and her strategy was actually to mutter and gesture wildly to herself. No one ever bothered her.

I thought a lot about urban green space while living in Chicago during my PhD and spending most of my time in parts of the city that many non-urban folks might consider "sketchy". I think many places get less sketchy the more familiar you become with the area, but it certainly could go the other way too! I am always amazed how the tiniest patch of dense shrubs in an out-of-the-way place attracts homeless people. There were some great examples of it in my neighborhood in Chicago, and I see it here in DC too. It makes me think about the intersection of privilege and ecosystem services-- one group's service of shelter is another group's disservice of attracting "vagrants". Urban park management is no cakewalk and there are so many factors to weigh.

פורסם על-ידי carrieseltzer לפני יותר מ 6 שנים (סמן)
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Thanks for the comments and advice! :)

פורסם על-ידי sambiology לפני יותר מ 6 שנים (סמן)

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