06 de febrero de 2018

Illinois Botanists Big Year: 2017 Wrap-Up

It was a year ago today that I began my adventure with iNaturalist and the Illinois Botanists Big Year. For tech-averse me, it was no small accomplishment to make sense of the camera app on my tablet, connect it to my home wifi, create an account on iNat, and successfully upload my first observation to the website. What a thrill, then, when total strangers from the digital ether soon found my modest offering and, despite my evident challenges getting the observation into focus, confirmed my ID--bitternut hickory!

As the year progressed toward spring, I celebrated the exciting news of a new job on the horizon by treating myself to an IBBY-inspired road trip, the highlight of which was my first encounter with tiny, lovely Erigenia bulbosa. Closer to home, Black Partridge Nature Preserve blew me away with its diversity and abundance of spring ephemerals. There, I discovered what wild ginger looks like before it looks like wild ginger, and I startled myself by nearly stepping on a somnolent garter snake--what a thrill to be able to see it so close up!--perhaps flushed from its sleep by the prescribed burns just a day or two before my visit.

Come spring, I had mostly mastered the focus issue, and at some point during the summer it occurred to me that fellow botanizers would more readily ID my postings if I put the most distinctive feature of my specimen as the first photo in the observation. The highlight of summer's bounty was my stumbling upon a brilliant Lobelia x speciosa; its parentage was immediately obvious, despite my ignorance that such a hybrid existed.

Summer also brought both long walks with good friends--who patiently tolerated my frequent pauses to linger over yet another weed--as well as the opportunity to get to know some arch plant nerds at the INPS meeting in the Quad Cities.

And I can't thank enough all of the folks, known and yet-to-be-known, who have so generously supported this newbie in her first IBBY with your comments, suggestions and IDs, especially @sanguinaria33 @bouteloua @vvoelker @elfaulkner and @evan8 . It is so much more enjoyable and rewarding to learn plants through this community than to key stuff on my own without a clue as to whether or not I've got it right!!

In 2018, I hope to be able to recognize species I've seen before, even if I can't immediately ID them. I'm looking forward to getting better acquainted with the Chicagoland flora and to rationalizing indulgent road trips to explore high-quality sites throughout the state. I'm vowing to be a more responsible botanist: keying more plants on site, rather than taking the armchair approach at home. I'm hoping, also, to be a little more courageous about IDing grasses and sedges. I am sorry I'm not going to be able to do IBBY for the first time again, but I'm looking forward this year to slowing down a bit and just taking more time to enjoy the beauty of it all.

Publicado el 06 de febrero de 2018 a las 03:50 AM por missgreen missgreen | 5 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario