If you follow us on Facebook, you may have noticed a few nature themed photos posted recently.
[Click any of the photos in this story, and it will take you directly
to that post on Facebook to leave your comments.]
I started off the week with this:
Sadly, I did not get any replies! :(
So, I decided I was going to share some photos, some of which I took myself, to celebrate Earth Day this whole week and to test your knowledge of nature! I am a HUGE fan of the outdoors and photography, if you hadn’t noticed yet by all the stories I have featured here about our beautiful Geauga Park District parks. Click here to see all of my stories! There is even a really fun story about how you can get more involved with nature with your family. Writing these stories is sort of my way of celebrating the Earth all year long!
So here are the photos that I have posted recently and their identifications.
This is Skunk Cabbage! I took this photo at the West Woods on the boardwalk right behind the Nature Center last spring! I could sit in the Nature Center at the West Woods for hours just watching all the birds flying in and out and critters gathering seeds off the ground. The trails there are fantastic. We are so lucky to be able to experience somewhat “untouched” nature right here in our backyard.
This is a Pileated Woodpecker. It is largest woodpecker in the United States at about 16-19 inches tall. When I worked at Punderson Manor Lodge, I saw this beautiful bird many times, most often on the sumac behind the lodge and in the cabin area making very large holes into the trunks of the trees looking for its next meal.
This is Common Milkweed or Asclepias Syriaca. The monarch butterfly cannot survive without this plant. This year, the population of monarchs that overwinter in the oyamel forests of Mexico was recorded at the lowest numbers seen since 1975, when they started keeping record of the colonies there! This is bad news for the monarch butterfly. I will be publishing a story this summer about things that you can do to help preserve this magnificant creature. To learn more in the meantime, please visit MonarchWatch.org.
This spring blooming, extremely fragrant flower is a Hyacinth. I took this photo in front of End of the Commons General Store in Mesopotamia, Ohio. This is my favorite spring flower! I am not really a fan of cut flowers, because I would rather enjoy them alive outside. This flower is one of the only ones that I will cut and bring inside. Most often, though, I will just go buy a potted hyacinth to enjoy inside until it is done blooming. Then I can add it to my flower garden outside to enjoy next spring.
I found this beautiful caterpillar munching on the leaves of a carrot in my garden a few years ago. It transforms into a Black Swallowtail butterfly, or Papilio Polyxenes. For those of you that have herb gardens, you may have seen this caterpillar before. Their host plants consist of members of the carrot family, such as dill, parsley, fennel, carrot, and Queen Anne’s Lace. If you find one and you do not want it to eat all of your herbs, try to find some Queen Anne’s Lace, which is a pretty common wild flowering plant. Or contact me, and I will come take it off your hands and raise it. If you would like to attract this butterfly to your garden, plant some of those host plants along with your flowers. The butterflies will lay eggs right on the plant, the caterpillars will eat, and eat, and eat for about 10 days, then they will find somewhere to make their chrysalis and transform. Keep an eye out for an article from me about raising butterflies at home.
This is a Red Oak tree. This very tall tree stood next to a house where I used to live in Newbury. There was a bird feeder directly below this tree. So, critters were always close by looking for a snack. In this photo, there is a squirrel on the trunk of the tree about halfway up. There was also a pond right behind this tree with another feeder next to it. I loved to sit in the window armed with my camera. I got a lot of great wildlife shots from that window, mainly of deer and birds.
Those are just a few of my favorite things that I wanted to share with you. I will be sharing a lot more nature-related information and more park features over the summer.
Feel free to contact me if you have anything you would like to share with me or if you have any questions.