This afternoon, our tree service
on our Austrian pine to try to control its sphaeropsis shoot blight
– it’s been losing far too many needles. Another couple of years at this rate and it would be bare… and dead. I hope it works.
Last night I attended a volunteer orientation session for a local Wetland Health Evaluation Project
. It’s a good start, but I was disappointed that they were only monitoring four wetlands in Minnetonka – and none of the five within a block or two of our home.
I was also put off by two requirements of the program. The first is easily overcome: we have to provide our own waders, unless we don’t slogging through the muck with leeches latching on to our legs (The African Queen
comes to mind ). The coordinator recommended chest-high waders, but said one person last year just waded in in her shorts.
The second is much harder for me: we have to catch and kill the macroinvertebrates we find as part of the research protocol
. We preserve them in alcohol and then identify them later in a lab under microscopes. I don’t like the idea of killing for this purpose. It reminds me of how bird “watchers” used to shoot and kill the birds they saw to prove they saw them, or of the lethal "research"
that whaling nations claim is necessary. Part of me thinks that if we had more, better-trained volunteers, we could identify the invertebrates on the spot and avoid killing them entirely. At least that’s what I plan to do when I start monitoring the wetlands behind our house.
The clouds resolved their differences and balled up into tight white cumulus, then slowly relaxed during the day into a soft gray overcast.