Summer visitors to the mountains of the American West revel in their glorious flower meadows . . . Our meadows are highly complex ecosystems. We respond emotionally to the beauty of their flowers, but much goes on that even the most attentive naked eye cannot perceive directly.
The mountains of the American West are justly famous for their alpine flower meadows, none more so than the Colorado Rockies and the Washington Cascades. . . The flowers are advertising their presence, the pollinators are surveying the territory for potential sources of food, the sensory signals generated by the flowers match the sensory capabilities and behavioral preferences of the pollinators. The outcome is cross-fertilization for the flowers, and nutrition for the pollinators. Is it not a beautiful system?
I don’t ordinarily post materials that I have not written myself. However, today I can’t help making an exception in the form of an article in the Seattle Times for Sunday, July 31st, that is very close to my heart: http://www.seattletimes.com/life/outdoors/students-trek-a-reset-for-the-human-spirit-as-national-park-service-turns-100/. It deals with nature study in the wilderness.
Indian pipe is a ghostly, fleshy, white-stemmed wraith with a nodding white flower at the tip, poking its way up through the duff of the forest floor. It looks like nothing else in the forest and like nothing in your garden. Its life story illustrates the intricate web of life that exists in the forest.
The Peregrine Falcon W/Z is part of a large, ongoing raptor (bird of prey) monitoring effort being conducted on the southwest coast of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington by a dedicated non-profit group called Coastal Raptors, based in Hoquiam. Here is how we got to meet him.
When we walk through a forest, we are surrounded by trees growing up toward the sky. . . Most are primarily straight. . . Some are twisted in complex ways, but even these grow mostly upward from the surface of the soil. What mechanisms generate the upward growth that is so characteristic of most trees, and indeed the great majority of all land plants?