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Blogtober- Foul Odor

I usually think of flowers as lovely, sweet-smelling decorations. They’re actually plants’ reproductive organs, though, and some are distinctly weird. The fragrant, colorful ones like roses and asters attract bees and butterflies for pollination. However, other kinds of flowers are downright stinky, because they evolved to attract a whole different set of insects. Rather than […]

Blogtober: poison

The idea of poison is really interesting among insects. Many plants have evolved toxins within their tissues, presumably because it reduces the amount of animals that eat them. But then several kinds of insects evolved not just tolerances, but preferences for these toxic plants. Insects like caterpillars (larval moths or butterflies) can build up those […]

Blogtober: transformation

So I’m a couple days late on this post. I’ve been working on a post about transformation for several days now, but the particular interpretation i chose is still too big to handle quickly. I bit off more than I can chew for a quick daily post. So I’ll try a slightly different interpretation. Never […]

Blogtober- Decay

It’s been a pretty good year for mushrooms. I’ve found bright red chanterelles, gooey inkcaps, and more. But the weirdest and maybe creepiest has been the globby fungus I found oozing dark amber liquid near the bottom of a tree. I think it’s Pseudoinonotus dryadaeus, also known as Oak Bracket. I don’t know whether the […]

Blogtober: spiders

I have a sign in my apartment that says, “Keep calm, it’s just a spider.” I was torn about whether to buy it when I saw it. Of course I think that nobody needs to get upset at the sight of a spider. I am more than happy to be the spider catch-and-releaser. But on […]

Blogtober: Owls

At my very first park job, one of the programs I most loved to lead was the Owl Prowl. That consisted of wandering down the trail, just after dark, with my participants and a red-masked flashlight (to prevent us from losing night vision) and a way to playback recordings. We usually have three main owl […]

Blogtober: Masked

It seems fitting that after writing about how maybe orange bugs seemed more prevalent just because they were easier to see amid the green leaves, today I write about masking and camouflage. I am fascinated by the different ways creatures have of disguising themselves. From cryptic patterns on their skin/exoskleleton, to even gluing pieces of […]

Blogtober: The color orange

Until I sat down to create this post, I didn’t realize how many insects show orange at my park. When you think orange insects, you might first think of butterflies, such as Monarchs and Viceroys. But there’s way more insects than just those charismatic ones. Spiders too often had a rusty orange hue. I wondered […]

Blogtober: Lurking

As an introvert in a fairly extroverted job, I often struggle with how to start a conversation with park visitors. This summer, though, I hit on a technique that answers my plight nicely: the “interpreter lurk.” It’s not a formal program, but still helps me figure out which visitors are actually interested in learning more […]

Midnight

During a visit to Monhegan Island, Maine, this summer, I had the chance to try some newly purchased equipment: my mothing setup. I used the recommendations at https://calnature.org/blog/2017/9/27/diy-moth-light for what to buy, if you’re interested in trying this yourself. [Note that the web site seems to be having issues as I post this, hopefully that […]

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