The new parks director in Arlington has already earned a fan, and none other than Fort Worth nature lover, environmental activist, and hellraiser-when-need-be  Don Young.

Young read Fort Worth Star-Telegram writer Shirley Jinkins’ recent profile of Arlington’s Parks and Recreation Director Lemuel Randolph and heard a “refreshing voice of reason,” he said.

Young, who has done more than anybody to preserve the Tandy Hills Natural Area, appreciated Randolph’s stance that a parks department provides a crucial city service rather than a luxury.


“At the close of the interview, Mr. Randolph made a point to mention the book Last Child in the Woods, and how a generation of kids are being raised with little or no connection to the natural world,” Young wrote in his most recent Prairie Notes email. “That statement in itself is pretty remarkable these days, especially in Texas, but he went on to say this: ‘Children who are not exposed to nature will not be able to advocate for nature.’ ”

LEMUEL RANDOLPH (photo courtesy of Arlington city web site)

Grooming the next generation of nature enthusiasts is a major goal of Young and his nonprofit group Friends of Tandy Hills.

“In a region that is filling up with people and concrete at an unsustainable rate, quality green space is at a premium,” Young said. “With more people and industry coming we need more natural areas but more importantly we need more defenders of natural areas or, advocates, as Randolph asserts.”

Arlington has been bashed for its reluctance to establish public transportation over the years, but give the city credit where credit’s due  — the parks system rocked for years under the leadership of Pete Jamieson, who retired as director last year after working more than 30 years for the city.

Maybe the city’s nabbed another winner.