ljodwalis

Unido: 18.jul.2020 Última actividad: 24.jul.2024 iNaturalist

I was born a wannabe naturalist. Wading in creeks and chasing butterflies as a free-range kid in 1950s Berkeley, California, I later sought out wild places like the High Sierra and Big Sur. I got degrees in Environmental Studies and Biology at U.C. Santa Cruz. California wasn’t wild enough so I found myself in Alaska chasing a Master’s in Wildlife Management at U.A. Fairbanks. But that was still a man’s field. It took a very long time, but eventually I found my calling as an interpretive ranger, first with the National Park Service and then the Bureau of Land Management. I’m retired now but still with my wonderful artist husband, hiking, hunting, fishing, canoeing, and dog mushing.

I’m a latecomer to iNaturalist. I started an account in 2020 to get help on identifying a couple of plants in my yard but ended up getting the IDs from botanist friends.

What brought me back? Two things:

  1. The extreme speed at which our natural world is changing means that we must all document what we have, NOW. Species are being displaced and eradicated at an alarming rate. Never has citizen science been so important. With my education in the biological sciences, I feel like this is a way I can continue a lifelong love for the natural world even if it’s only in a small way. Sure, it’s 2023, but the vast state of Alaska is still poorly documented. I and many of my friends are seasoned backcountry travelers and I hope to teach them to make observations as well, expanding the number of eyes and cameras in remote parts of Alaska.
  2. I had a friend with whom I worked for several years in Fairbanks but then, as often happens, we lost touch. We rediscovered each other in September 2021: she was now living in Napa, California, and started sending me her gorgeous photos from her frequent hikes on public lands in that beautiful region. We got together for a few days of visiting and hiking in early 2022. I was within 5 days of another visit this spring (2023) with many more hikes planned when she had a medical emergency and passed. Debby got certified in the California Naturalist program. I knew she was active on iNaturalist but it wasn’t until I visited her page that I saw how great her contribution was. In 6 short years she made 5,561 observations that included 1,518 species. She embodied the best of citizen science, recording everything from tiny slime molds, galls, and spiders to songbirds, newts, massive oaks and California buckeyes in bloom. She carefully researched her finds and many achieved “research grade.” Debby went by the iNauralist moniker “Browntrekker”. I hope you will check out her page.

I promised Debby that I would be more active. The boreal forest around Fairbanks is almost a biological desert compared to northern California, but in the period from May to September 2023 I’ve uploaded 50 observations of 44 species. I will keep at it as long as I can.

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