Friday, July 15, 2016

Nature Journals

This Saturday, July 16, I will make a presentation on nature journals to the 2016 Virginia Master Naturalist Class.  Here is a list of resources for nature journals.  Many of the links I listed on the slides on my powerpoint have been broken but all of these work:


American Museum of Natural History on nature studies for children

How to draw and make observations in nature:


Nature journaling: learning to observe and connect with the world around you. Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth

A trail through leaves: the journal as a path to place.  Hannah Hinchman.

Herman, Steven G. 1986. The Naturalist's Field Journal: A manual of instruction based on a system established by Joseph Grinnell. Buteo Books. Vermillion SD.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Spiderwort and Jefferson

Spiderwort Tradescantia virginiana

 A friend gave me some spiderwort plants last year so I planted them or more honestly just stuck them into the ground at the edge of a flower garden.  This spring I noticed  bluish-green leaves and almost pulled them up but then remembered that I had planted something.  In early May, the spiderwort bloomed and has been blooming every since.  As I learned more, I began to appreciate this native plant.
Leonard Atkins in his book Wildflowers of the Blue Ridge and Great Smokey Mountains writes that botanists studied the genetics of the spiderwort because it "appears to be a link between the simple Sedges and the more advanced Lilies. The hairs on the stamens are composed of thin-walled cells, enabling easy microscopic examinations of the cytoplasm and nucleus."   But my appreciation stems more from a vist to Thomas Jefferson's gardens.

On a rainy day in May, I attended a flower watercolor painting workshop at Monticello.  After a demo, the instructor then told us to choose a flower and paint it. 

I walked along the path which was bordered by mostly peonies.

My painting with the spiderwort at Monticello.

I chose the spiderwort because it was blooming nicely (as it does on most rainy days) and because it was a native flower (and thus I could count this as advanced instruction for Master Naturalist certification). 

Anytime I do a drawing, I understand the plant better--especially how the leaves are alternate and clasp the stem and that that there are 3 petals with 6 bright yellow stamens. 

Spiderwort, Hewlett Gulch, Colorado, June 14, 2016

Spiderworts grow in a variety of habitats including fields and roadsides.  The above photo was taken in a meadow in Colorado, close to Fort Collins and Estes Park where we stayed.  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Spring Changes

Spring has finally arrived with a vengeance in Appalachia.  I haven't posted in almost a year, mostly posting on Facebook.  Today was different and I felt like I needed to return to my old friend, my nature blog.  The Blood Root photo above and the Large Flowered Trillium below were taken a few weeks ago.  Since then, it has been so hot and windy, the woods are dry even with some rain this week. 

 My melancholy has to do with the photo of Kookie below.  She passed away last Saturday night, too quick for me. 
This was the last photo I took of Kookie on March 27, her birthday and Easter Sunday.  She was born on March 27, 2005, also an Easter Sunday.  I had made her favorite dog bacon and cheese dog biscuits that morning and taken her on a walk.  I was trying to get a picture of her chest since it appears to be a cross there.  She was a great dog, always ready for a walk or a treat.  We will miss you Kookie.