Thursday, April 22, 2004

Bluebird Report
Mama bluebird is laying an egg a day.

The bluebird nest has five beautiful blue eggs now.

Six is the upper limit, so she must be done or almost done. I'll try to get a picture before the weekend.

Nature Nerd
(I wrote about the Engaging Citizens in Science Program here.)

Last night was the instructional class for the plant identification group of Engaging Citizens in Science. Two naturalist/biologists taught fifteen participants everything we need to know to identify plants in the wild. They were very enthusiastic, knowledgeable young men and provided a very thorough education. We received plenty of assurance that we weren't expected to remember everything presented and that their goal was to get us excited to learn more.

I got the feeling I was in the minority with my lack of expertise, so I appreciated their assurances. And I am excited to learn more and challenge myself with the plant identification as well the physical activity required for the information gathering.

This morning I ordered three field guides from Amazon and then went shopping for a hat, a fanny pack big enough for water and my camera, and a compass.

My lack of sense of direction and fear of getting lost were the original reason I decided to learn to use a compass. Last night I learned that I would be recording directions as part of my record keeping. Examples: "north side of the hill", "west side of the trees".

Those who know me have good reason to be skeptical of my ability to pull this off. Up, down, and sometimes left and right are the extent of my current directional abilities.

The compass is hanging from my pedometer strap, a permanent part of my clothing. I'll be playing with it every time I take the dogs for a walk until I get comfortable using it.

To complete the nature nerd look, I have a X10 loupe on a cord to wear around my neck.

I think I'm ready for our group field outing on Sunday afternoon. Before I go out by myself I'm going to need a backpack to replace the fanny pack since I'll be carrying field guides, logging sheets, maps, and sketching material in addition to the rest.

And my cell phone. I'm not going out in the woods alone without my cell phone!

What are you doing to challenge yourself?