Recently, I read an article on “no kid left indoors.” My first thought was why just kids? We need to get everyone outdoors.
This year, pick up your phone – that’s right, bring it with – and head outdoors. Bring the kid(s), too, and pull up Nature’s Notebook, which is a project of the U.S.A. National Phenology Network.
Find a tree or two, a plant or three, start up this website and once a week go out and see what they’re doing. It can be in your backyard or on a trail. If you want to avoid ticks, the Heartland Trail is paved and a nice place to walk, or you can even watch out your window and record the birds at your feeder.
I have a mile loop behind my house that I walk every night after work. I carry a voice recorder that later in evening I go through and write into a journal and then from there goes in my computer.
Besides what I record in Nature’s Notebook, I record every butterfly I see and I keep track of the birds, frogs calling, dragonflies, a few mammals and a couple hundred flowering plants. This is the start of my 24th year, and I am now able to plot trends. You can start with recording just one or two – and who knows where it will go from there?
I also just saw that the bee was declared the most important living being on the planet for its importance of pollinating plants. Without the bee, we would lose 75 percent of all our food crops. There are 20,000 species of bee,s and a little over 400 species have been found in Minnesota.
Then I got to thinking, what’s the least important? Surely, it must be a deer fly, mosquito or tick? Then I questioned myself, what species is the most destructive and the planet would be better off without? I could only think of one, and that is us homo sapiens – the one that is supposed to have the big brain.
We can all start the year by being better stewards of this planet, so as you’re out there every week checking on your plant(s), pick up some garbage and just look around and see how you (we) can do better.
An outdoorsman all his life, Dallas Hudson grew up in Akeley. He tracks the birds, animals, insects, plants of northern Minnesota in his daily journals. Hudson shares his nature observations and photos with KAXE’s Season Watch, the Minnesota Phenology Network and the Park Rapids Enterprise. He works at an official field camp of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on Shingobee Lake, near Akeley.