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WE LIVE IN SOUTH ARLINGton, two miles from the Winkler Botanical Preserve (“A Preserve of Incivility,” 3/1). We visited it for the first time today and saw red-bellied woodpeckers, chickadees, rhododendrons, and ferns—all common species in Virginia forests, but not in the middle of the city. It’s obvious that the preserve is heavily managed. A lot of effort has gone into restoring a native-growth forest within earshot of I-395.

My husband and I have undertaken a similar project in our back yard. We too have red-bellied woodpeckers in our tiny preserve, along with numerous other species. The Winkler Preserve, backyard preserves, and local parks shelter the remaining wildlife of this area. These habitat islands break down some of the barriers between humans and the rest of nature.

The Mark Winkler Co. has the right to develop its land, just as it would be our right to cut down our trees and plant grass. Like the Winklers 20 years ago, we chose to do something different, to create and preserve something unique. There are lots of apartments, office buildings, and condos in Northern Virginia. There are very few nature preserves, especially ones like the Winkler Preserve. We would like our neighbor, theWinkler Co., to reconsider and leave undeveloped more of the land surrounding the preserve. We are committed to the long-term survival of wildlife in this area. We hope our neighbors are, too.

Arlington, Va.

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