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Summer 2012

Urban Jungle

The changing natural world at our doorsteps | Illustration and text by Patterson Clark      

August 14, 2012

Reoccupying McPherson Square

By the time Occupy D.C.'s resident protesters were evicted from McPherson Square in February, the four-month-long encampment had compacted the park's soil and worn away the turf that had been restored in 2010.

In April, the National Park Service began fencing off vacated sections of the park, aerating and fertilizing the ground, and sowing tall fescue, a perennial

grass that helps improve contaminated soil.

The camp suppressed the emergence of yellow tulips that normally flank General McPherson's statue. During this year's restoration, the bulbs were dug up and donated to nonprofits, said Park Service spokeswoman Carol B. Johnson. Banks of begonias now occupying the flower beds "will be replaced in the spring" Johnson said, "but not sure with what."

The turf is slowly recovering, but many new uninvited occupants have arrived: Some weeds will be tolerated while grass takes hold, but the Park Service will discourage the burrowing brown rats making a stand in the park.

Sources: National Park Service, staff reports

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