Friday, June 24, 2011

Going West in Search of Wild

Open Phenology collaborator Jim shares his field guide and expertise.
As Open Phenology attracts participants, the project's collaborative nature is taking shape. For example, this week's survey benefited from Jim's knowledge of botany and his intrepid impulse to explore the western fringe of the Walker's vicinity. So we left the manicured landscape of lawn and garden to investigate the wilder environs of wetland and forest.

Well, that begs the question: "What is wild?" What do terms like 'wilderness' or 'nature' denote, and what do we mean to exclude by using these words? It's an enigma to ponder because 'nature' seems to encompass everything, and yet most of us harbor the notion that nature has boundaries.

Once outside the urban yard's monoculture and the garden's cultivated display, does the land revert to its natural state? To the casual glance, perhaps it appears so. But upon examination, the answer is emphatically no. At every turn, introduced species were flourishing. And so we challenged ourselves to piece together, through observation and speculation, a semblance of this ecosystem's 'natural state.' And we wondered about the near future of this piece of land. Would our city or this neighborhood support and sustain the maintenance work necessary to keep invasives at bay?

What: Select observations described below
Where: Less than 1/2 mile west of FlatPak House, map above
Observers: Abbie, Jim, Martha, Renner
Date/Time: June 24, 10 to 11:30 am
Conditions: Sunny and warm


  1. Here's a link to a great Science Friday segment all about weeds, native and non-native species, and invasive plants.