Do not fear, the annual blog update is finally here! I apologize for the late entry, I have just been so bee-sy with data collection that I didn’t realize how bee-hind I got. But I am back now, so flip your frown, and lemme tell you about some neat stuff that I’ve found:
Pinned At Long Last
Although they have yet to be uploaded to iNaturalist, all of last year’s collected bees have been pinned! The box you can see is one of three total so far, hopefully this year’s data will be(e) able to fit in its own too!
Here are a few others in the order that didn’t make the cut to be(e)come model specimens. Take a look at how cool these wasps are, and while their long ovipositors may seem menacing, they are actually quite useful to deposit eggs in hard-to-reach locations!
Living Time Machine
Have you Senna any plants going to seed? Reminiscent of beans, the pods pictured be(e)low are indeed Wild Senna seeds! And a special appearance this week is brought to us by the Ohio Spiderwort… although all other spiderwort plants across campus have withered away, this one bloom at the College Garden says, “I’m here to stay!”
Bees, Beetles, & Besties
Thrown of the Over-grown
I took this photo before I did some major weeding, but you’ll have to check back in next week to see the after!
Season of Seeds
It’s the bee-uty of pollination baby!
The Foxglove Beardtounge diminished at the start of the summer back in June, so its quite the oddity to have seen this lil fellow out and about when I was weeding the Pine Patch this week. Call that a late bloomer!
Buzz on the Block
Bun on the Run
Just the one
By the suns
The Bees Knees
Pollinators in the Plot
Spot the Bee(s)
More Pan Traps Planned
The following pictures are from the pan trap collection I did over the weekend. This round I collected 20 bees; the highest amount I’ve found at Rittman since early July (27 bees), and more than last week’s (6).
I finally went through the three data collections I’ve completed at the William J. Robertson Preserve over the past couple of months. I counted over 300 specimens, with roughly 28.3% or so be(e)ing bees! In the next several weeks I intend to pin other noteworthy insects from the traps, including Orthoptera (crickets), Coleoptera (beetles), and other Hymenoptera (wasps/cool ants). I will eventually present all of these in a box for future environmental education classes to be held at the WJRNP.
With a little over 3 weeks until the start of the fall semester, it is rightfully grind season here in Wooster. The vegetables are growing, the pollinators are froing, and my Independent Study is getting going!
The Vegetable Garden Assistants did a wonderful job mulching the lower garden. It’s amazing to see the beds ap(bee)r so vividly against the wood chip paths!
Two new blooms this week in the College Garden: Wild Senna and False Sunflowers!
Floating Fly-Bye Friends
Sign Coming Soon…
Along with the signs I am constructing for my I.S., I will also be drafting designs for the Pollinator Patches signs! In addition to filling the posts below, the upper garden will also receive its very own sign. Hopefully the end results leave y’all s(bee)chless!
No new blooms to the Pine Patch this week, however, the False Sunflowers have really taken over the aisle way despite the on-surge of aphids.
Buzz on the Block
Peppers, Pickles, & Pollinators
Pollinators in the Plot
Here are the top microscope photos from this week’s iNaturalist updates…A big whoo(bee) is in order for this week after uploading all of the 6/18/22 specimens to our C.O.W. Pollinators and Plants Project!
Ready, Set, Dry!
With one round of this summer’s sampling completed, I decided to start pinning bees from last year’s collection. I finished up the 8/5/21 set and just have two more collections from 2021 to pin be(e)fore we’re back on track!
Spot the Bee!
Hint: Do you really need thetip?
Continuing the Collecti.ons.
A semi-successful “hunt,” I managed to find 5 bees today on my second pan trap sampling of the William J Robertson Nature Preserve! With my sites finalized, it’ll be(e) a breeze to re(bee)t another round or two of specimen collections. Next week I intend to set out transects and catalogue the various plant biota I find!
[Green & Good to Go]
See ya next week!
(Bee pun counter: 6) — You have reached the end of this entry—–
What’s up y’all it’s another wet weekend here in Wooster and the weather has been wicked. I hope you have managed to keep dry, are surrounded by clear skies, and are ready to conceptualize the growth of our Pollinator Patch enterprise!
On Monday we visited the William J Robertson Preserve in Rittman, Ohio, where I got a 20-step tutorial in how to conduct a sweep. Since I identified all of the 2021 Fern Valley sweep samples this past week, it’s exciting to have learned that method of specimen collection.
Funnily enough, the bug you see above is actually what Dr. Moreno and I are searching for amongst the mulch experiment in the next town over (Orville)! I set up the last set of sticky traps at Lavender Trails yesterday, and we are scheduled to collect them tomorrow. It’s wild that we’re already at the end of our sampling season and are back on track to the start of school…
On Tuesday, Dr. Moreno and a couple of his advisees got to help Brendan Ortiz (Woo ’23) with the start of his hydroponic workshop over in Akron, Ohio. Set up at the Akron Cooperative Farms’ main pavilion, individuals had the opportunity to learn and build their own deep culture hydroponic system. The workshop will run throughout the summer and students will engage with various hands-on activities concerning the ins and outs of urban gardening. During a tour, we spotted an excellent example of warden signage employed by the Cooperative to signal the presence of two honeybee hives nearby.
Stars of the ‘Scope
The first of a few lady beetles this blog post, I like this lil guy because the spots make it seem like it’s smiling [ :
Cool find from the 6/18/22 Pollinator Plot Pan Trap Collection, a Holcopasites cuckoo bee! Known to exercise brood parasitism on Calliopsis bees (the yellow-faced fellows from a previous post), these parasitic bees manage to infiltrate their offspring into solitary bee nests, where they later commandeer food resources from the Calliopsis’ young.
The coneflower from last week surprised us with two new blooms! Aren’t they great? The Ironweed bloomed as well over this week, and the bees are already loving it!
Although there is certainly an abundance of aphids on this milkweed, I decided not to counter them with soap because the plant is going to seed and had already stopped flowering. Interestingly though, you will notice how the aphids at the College Garden are yellow whereas those occupying the False Sunflowers in the Pine Patch are red. As aphids are considered primary culprits of plant damage, I’ll keep a lookout for any blue ones!
Too Bee-zy To Be Bothered
The weather of the past couple of months may have given our plants a slight lean, yet you will notice that they are still happy, lively, and green!
In continuation of his study surrounding the impact of honeybees on local bees, Matt Pardi’s bee box has arrived this week in the Pine Patch. You may notice a larger number of honeybees out & about so keep it top of mind that you don’t want to disturb the hive!
Special New Petals
One new bloom to the Pine Patch this week: Wild Senna! Also as a bonus, try your hand at spotting the bee… I’m sure our bud is around there somewhere!
Guardians of the Garden
Bun 1 & Bun 2 Visit the Pine Patch Past Sun Set
The sunflowers have arrived and they really showed up in all the colors of the sun! It looks like the bees are already finding them rather fun. And when the rest of the buds begin their blaze there will be more sunny news to come!
The sisters have apparently decided to branch out from their beds and start networking with one another. Make sure to watch your step if you’re strolling through the straw aisles!
[Found Around Town]
Hey! That’s a Hibiscus?
I don’t know about you, but I generally don’t associate hibiscus flowers with Wooster, Ohio! Here are several that I spotted across campus, it’s a shame that they’ll be gone before the fall…
Storms A Brewin’
We’ve had a week of storms here in Wooster. On Wednesday these cool clouds could be seen next to the arch, & I managed to get a picture of the lightning mid-strike:
The rain has been pouring incessantly today, which will make for easy weeding on Monday! Thank you for taking the time to check in on our Plots & other happenings on this mildly moody Sunday.
Signs Explain Experimental Designs
Dr. Moreno and I were supposed to attend Lavender Trails’ Vendor Day today from noon to 3pm, however it ended up being cancelled due to the inclement weather. Since y’all didn’t have the opportunity to make it down, I included some of the signage we had displayed next to the experimental plots throughout this past week:
This prickly pear cactus-looking spider followed me back from LT last Wednesday… After poking him under the microscope I was able to utilize Seek by iNaturalist to help identify it! If you also enjoy knowing the names of the life around you, I highly recommend checking out their mobile app. Turns out this was not a cactus spider (darn) but rather an immature Araneus cingulatus, a member of the orb weaver family.
Only A Year & We’re Here
Here’s a quick comparison of the College Garden from a year ago to today! I can’t wait to see how much it’ll grow throughout the school year:
Coneflower Coming Soon!
We have yet to see the purple echinacea bloom ever since its original planting in early June of 2021. This bud looks promising though and hopefully they’ll choose to share their hues with us soon!
‘Tis Mountain Mint season down here at the College Garden & the pollinators are coming in pairs to get a test of this (b)r(ee)zy refreshment!
Plants & Pals
A few pix of the various other pollinators spotted about the College Garden:
Reigning in the Rain Gardens
An often overlooked patch of campus, Wooster has supported this rain garden experiment for quite some time. Meant as a way to determine the success of Iron-Osorb™ in removing harmful toxins from surface water run off, these two gardens were once tested and compared regularly. In fact, when I first toured in 2019, they handed out little packets of Iron-Osorb™ for us to take home to try out! Although it remains unmanaged today, we include the Rain Gardens in our Pollinator Plot pan trap sampling because it is home to several native plants. Read more about the rain gardens below:
A Tip Toes Type of Photo
One new bloom this week – Tall Tickseed! It took me several tries to get this photo right, prolly because this plant is over twice my height!
Who’s Hovering by the Hula Hoops?
We gained a new researcher in the Pollinator Plots this week! Matt Pardi (Woo ’23) is continuing the work of Ren Johnson (Woo ’22) in the Pine Patch over the next month. Studying how honeybee hives affect the competitive be(e)haviour of local bees, both Ren & Matt collected live samples from the Pine Patch with a special bee-sized-vacuum. After observing the amount of pollen the bees gathered, they are released. To randomize where the bees are collected from, Matt and Ren utilized hula hoops to provide a standardized radius of sampling. Be(e) sure to wave if you see Matt in the field!
Buzz on the Block
Petal or Pollinator?
Most bees you see are dusted with bright yellow pollen, but some carry it around in little sacks on their legs better known as corbiculae! While bees don’t have knees, see if you can spot this Agapostemon’s pockets:
Pitter Patter Lets Get At Her
Here we go, it’s time for round 2
Bowls spray-painted white yellow & blue
A 24-hour trap period should do
Doesn’t matter which color they choose
For the soon-to-be iNaturalist muse
Vials Upon Vials
Surprisingly, the pan traps managed to avoid being affected by the rain storms this weekend. It even appeared to be the most bees I’ve collected in a sample period yet, with some bowls having upwards of 6 bees! I’m eager to get these be(e)uties into the Salon so they can make their debuts on iNaturalist.
Sisters Cover Sisters
Here is a great view of the sister system in action! The crawling squash is acting as a living cover crop, in that it reduces the amount of weeds that are able to grow. However, due to the clever planning of Dr. Mariola and his team of helpers, the shade cast from its large leaves does not overcome the beans. In fact some of the beans have even started to climb the corn! Isn’t that a-maize-ing?
Here Comes the Sun(flowers)
These plants are growing taller than me on the daily now… I’m be(e)wildered!
Grounds Is Great
I’m unsure of when the College of Wooster Grounds Department originally be(e)gan planting native flowers around campus, but I thought I’d share an example of one of their plots outside of Kauke. And in a previous post you can take a walk around campus to view some of their other plantings!
With our newfound recognition as a certified Bee Campus, we are excited to continually improve people-pollinator relations. I would like to take a moment though, to acknowledge and share my appreciation for the be(e)utiful job that our Grounds Department have been doing to promote pollinators. Two additional instances that set Wooster Grounds apart from the others came to my mind on a walk this past week:
Green-Thinking When Trimming
While the image above may appear rather mundane at first glance, you might find it difficult to find a weed in this photo that are not the clovers. Knowing that Grounds maintains this line of the sidewalk with herbicides, I found it interesting as well as telling of their character that they left this flowering plant be.
Stumped? So What?
Trees are a great nesting resource for solitary bees of all sorts, so keeping this stump in place shows that Grounds is keeping pollinators in mind and are pro-hive!
All in all, I’m glad to get to work alongside a team of dedicated individuals. They are truly a be(e)con of inspiration.
Speaking of non-Pollinator Plot plants, I have never actually seen one of these flowers be pollinated be(e)fore! However, when considering what I’ve learned through my I.S. research, it makes since that it would be a bumble bee. This is be(e)cause bumblebees are highly adept at collecting pollen from a wide variety of flowers. Although they may not be specialists, a kind of bee that pollinates certain flowers really well, their ability to pollinate a plethora of flowers ultimately acts as a benefit in that it expands their foraging range.
Close-Cousins of Bumble Bees
Here are some other members of the Hymenoptera order:
Welcome back, I hope you enjoyed some be(e)utiful weather this week. If not, our most recent news is sure to brighten your day: on July 7th, 2022 we were officially recognized as a Xerces Society Bee Campus USA affiliate! We are over the moon with excitement and can’t wait to be(e)gin making the most of our partnership!
Pretty Much Pinned
More good news this week: I finished pinning all of the bees that were caught in the last Pollinator Plot pan trap sampling! They’re going to need to dry for a while on the Styrofoam before I can move them around under the microscope. Our second collection will be occurring next week, so stay on the lookout for brightly colored bowls across campus.
An Emerald Angle
This be(e)dazzling sweat bee took the top spot for best microscope pic of the week:
Tough Love Kid
Still stuck on the sticky traps this week, I was able to complete one of last year’s collections. The picture you see highlights the reoccurring situation I found frozen across several traps… The four large bugs that look like roadkill are actually aphids, and all of those orange specks are their babies. With over 21 kiddos in this cluster alone I can safely say I’m glad not to be an aphid.
Beneficial Bug Compost
Got too many spare bugs lying around and taking up space? Well, I’ve found the perfect (resting) place! Helpful in a myriad of ways, this bug compost will make the most of their short lived days…
All Tucked In
This week, Dr. Mariola’s team of vegetable garden helpers tackled the first row of mulching. I think the bergamot stood a little taller for this photo:
Be(e)tween the Aisles
No new blooms this week, but I got a couple of good pics – have a peek!
One new bloom this week: Grey-headed coneflower! I included some more brown-eyed Susans as well to provide a contrasting yellow coneflower.
Buzz on the Block
Be(e)sides the Bees
Beetles be(e)ware! We got another bug bag this week because if you look be(e)neath our original one you will find that its contents gave way… hooray?
Apples on Apples
If you haven’t had the opportunity to stop by the vegetable garden you will notice some bags on the Fruit Trees! Each bag is protecting a growing apple and serves as a preventative measure against pests (in the event the Beetle Traps are not enough).
It’s Pepper Weather
Pictures of plants? Sorry, I thought you said pictures of peppers.
How High Can You Grow?
I know that it has been a second since y’all have had updates on the Sister System, but see how much it’s filled in?!
[I.t’S. Coming Along]
First collection down! Several more left to go!
I will need to pin them before I will be able to know
What sort of bees fly to and fro
the William J. Robertson Nature Preserve,
and perhaps even call it home!
[Point of View]
You’re a bug on the sidewalk and traffic is light:
…Is it already July? Wow the summer is really starting to s(bee)d on by! Here’s an update to inform you on how I’ve bee(n) spending my time:
Starting the Lavender Trials
On Monday we spent a couple hours setting up the sticky traps for Dr. Moreno’s mulch experiment at Lavender Trails. The bamboo rods are placed around the perimeter of the largest plant within each treatment. With 5 rows of 6 treatments, we put out a total of 30 sticky traps.
Be(e)low are a couple of bumble bees spotted by the lavender this past week. Lavender Trails is open for all of July, so make sure to head on over!
Fam, It’s Time for a Break
After identifying a good portion of last year’s data to family, I will now be moving onto a new task. Instead of individually moving each specimen from their vial and into a petri dish of ethanol for identification, I will be using the microscope to look at sticky traps through plastic bags.
When analyzing the sticky traps I had three main objectives: to count the total number of spittlebugs (aka froghoppers) present on the entire trap, then count the number of other Hemiptera and Hymenoptera that could be viewed through the 1″ panel of this nifty contraption. I identified the appropriate insects to family and then entered the data into a spreadsheet.
Although I will need to double-check my work, I finished our 6/29 collection (pictured in the left bin) and will begin working on last year’s data next week!
Hues in View
Our Bergamot is our one new bloom this week! You may find it similar to our Scarlett Beebalm, and that’s because they’re in the same genus! A be(e)tter fact to share with your friends is that both beebalm and bergamot are in the same family as mint (:
Reaching New Heights
Last year the ironweed needed to be propped up to grow straight, and now it’s truly holding its own weight! Enjoy this comparison of what nearly a year can do.
Me (5’3/4″) next to the Ironweed (5’3″+). Can you be(e)lieve it’s the same plant?
Caught in the Act
… Of be(e)ing a tired bunny
Here you can see damage caused by the collective efforts of the Japanese and Goldenrod Leaf Miner Beetles on the Goldenrod plants. When I pulled back the leaves, one beetle tried to make a clean getaway… You gotta be(e) quicker than that buddy!
Be(e)ting the Beetles
Thank the Gods (or Dr. Mariola) for blessing us with the contraption you can see below. This beetle bag is equipped with pheromones that attract the Japanese Beetles into a contained area (and is designed in a way that prevents escapes). Once full, the bag is emptied and replaced so that it can continue keeping the pests at bay.
There are new updates on iNaturalist from our 6/18/22 collection! These yellow-faced bees be(e)long to the genus Calliopsis:
Sunflower the Prowler
In lieu of updates for the Vegetable Garden, I give you Sunflower, Wooster’s friendly neighborhood feline:
[(I.)n the Work(S.)]
Reading the Signs
As mentioned earlier in this post, Lavender Trails is a former brownfield. What is a brownfield you ask? Read more on their sign pictured below! This is along the same vein of information that I am researching for my I.S., and will be learning how to communicate on signage to put out at the William J. Robertson Preserve. The signs I will implement at the Preserve will include an added emphasis on native pollinators along with a brief historical background of how their plot be(e)came what it is today. I highly recommend that you stop by Lavender Trails to see their own Pollinator Pathway, complete with fun and engaging pollinator facts suited for all ages!
It’s A Trap!
Today I put out the first pan traps for my summer research! I will be back tomorrow to see what I was able to collect, and get to work on identifying… If all goes to plan I should have several more collections taking place over the next couple of months!
Howdy y’all and welcome to the first official week of summer! Since the solstice on the 21st, things have been lookin’ sunny here in Wooster. Be(e) sure to get outside and soak up some rays while the sun’s still out!
Temperatures reached above 90°F this week, but luckily I was able to enjoy the perks of William’s top tier air conditioning. It’s amazing how fast 6 hours of looking through a microscope can fly by…
The pan traps from last week’s Pollinator Patch collection turn up some pretty small bees, so be(e)fore I attempted to pin one of the lil’ ladies I tried my hand at something bigger. Proper pinning techniques will differ across the various insect orders, however it is a common rule to place your pin ever so slightly to the right.
Satisfied with my efforts in the practice round, I moved onto the task be(e)fuddling me. Pinning bees is important for several reasons. Firstly, it requires a proper blow out from the Bee Salon after which you are able to see identifying features more clearly. Secondly, pinning allows you to preserve the specimens for longer and observe them in an organized way. Thirdly, pinning helps you access a 360° view of the bee, which comes in handy when trying to make out their faces. Putting special effort and care into pinning is additionally a means of showing respect for their sacrifice to science. Once they set, they will be ready for the ‘scope!
Be(e)cause there are over 500 species of bees in Ohio alone, I will be utilizing iNaturalist to aid in the identification process. Head over to our iNaturalist webpage to see all the bees we’ve identified so far!
Beginning to Bloom
Munchin’ by the Mulch
The bun-buns are back! They’re having a snack! Right by the mulch stack!
Critters in Color
It may hop but that’s no grasshopper! This bright fellow is a member of the order Hemiptera.
Below you will find an Agapostemon bidding adieu to our Foxglove Beardtounge.
A not so welcome visitor to our southernmost Patch, this Goldenrod Leaf Miner beetle along with its comrades have taken up joint in the Goldenrod.
New blooms in the Pine Patch this week!
Buzz on the Block
And So It Begins (Again)…
These beetles are quite the bother… Please brush them off or even give ’em the squash!
Sisters in Straw
Progress updates of the newest edition to the Vegetable Garden. I can’t wait to see how it looks in just a few weeks!
A Lil’ Lift
If you’ve happened by the Vegetable Garden, you will have noticed several newly raised beds along with fresh aisle way bedding. Check in later to see what they will be planting!
[In the Field]
Last Wednesday, Dr. Moreno and I set up his mulch experiment site located at Lavender Trails in Orrville, OH. Due to the intense rainfall we experienced this past Spring, in combination with a longer winter than previous years, lavender farmers around the county lost a large percentage of their lavender plants. This meant that we got to replant lavender for a few hours!
Whether you find yourself in the surrounding area or are in search of a place to pick your own herbal essence, Lavender Trails opens for business next week!
I finished setting up the flags where I will be collecting data for my Independent Study research! Despite seeming like a small task, this enables me to set up my pan traps and effectively “start” my study. Although no bowls were out on Saturday I did see a bunch of bees buzzing about! While it saddens me that I will not be able to rerelease the bees after identification, I am encouraged to know that y’all will join me in appreciating their pictures along the way.
Happy Father’s Day my fellow plant friends, the weather was just lovely today and I hope you were able to spend it having some quality time with your family!
Before we get to the garden updates, I figure I should reintroduce myself properly to my recurrent and new readers alike.
[A Bit About Ash]
Howdy y’all, and thank you for taking a moment to learn a little more about your favorite Pollinator Garden Assistant! I am a rising senior at The College of Wooster majoring in Environmental Conservation and minoring in Studio Art. Originally founded by our Biology and Environmental Studies departments, for the past year I have been helping Dr. Jennifer Ison and Dr. Matt Mariola take care of the two Pollinator Plots on campus. It’s amazing to see how much both gardens have grown since my time working here in 2021.
Over this last school year I expanded my knowledge in sustainable agriculture, how waste affects the environment, and even the ways in which religion and ecology intersect. I joined several clubs as well and I now serve on the executive boards for Wooster’s Table Tennis & Environmental Justice Coalition clubs. In addition, courtesy of the efforts of Dr. Mariola, Wooster will be adding a Garden Club in the fall of 2022 wherein I also intend to help organize.
Throughout the course of this summer I will be conducting research in Rittman, Ohio as a part of my senior independent study. The primary focus of my project will look into how conservational signage affects the visitation rates of people and pollinators to the William J. Robertson Preserve. Specifically, I will be examining how the availability of floral resources coupled with their proximity to woodlands influences the number of native solitary bees in the surrounding area. On Friday I started the first phase of my research by setting out flags in the locations I will be placing pan traps for specimen sampling. By the end of the summer it is my goal to compile a list showcasing the variety of insects inhabiting the WJR Preserve, and to present them a box of pinned specimens.
Now onto the plots…
This past week has been a humid one, so once the rain finally fell we were able to put out our first pan traps of the season. After spending a few days identifying insects to family, it will be a nice change of pace to work on determining the genus’s of the various bees we collected. More pictures to come on this front next week.
(S)take it or Leaf it:
Our plants are so healthy they have started to fall under their own weight. Luckily, bamboo rods and twine make the threat of trampling a quick fix!
A special flower arrived this week, this lil’ guy was planted in 2021 but didn’t feel ready yet to bloom until today! Hopefully its first flower will bring a smile to my Pollinator Plot Blog followers.
Coming Soon to a Patch Near You:
More in Store:
Stay tuned in next week to see how much progress I make on this pile!
Raising the Stakes:
Some of the flowers in the Patch were feeling down, so it was my job to get them back up off the ground!
Buzz on the Block:
Sometimes referred to as sweat bees, this bee is a part of the family Halictidae.
Can you spot the bee? Hint: Look for a shiny hiny!
Welcome to the Summer 2022 edition of the Pollinator Plot blog! If this is your first time to our site I highly encourage you to check out the rest of our page when you get the chance. Returning readers may notice we have added a plethora of new articles, maps, research updates, and even plant haikus courtesy of Dr. Ison’s Field Botany course at The College of Wooster. To top off our exciting news, we have officially submitted our application to the Xerces Society to hopefully attain the Bee Campus USA certification! Curious and want to learn more? Head on over to the Xerces Society to be(e)come an agent in invertebrate conservation today!
Current Flowers in Bloom
Closed Up Shop
If you’ve happened by our lower garden you will notice the newly implemented, and successfully tested, Clay Oven built by CoW’s very own Liz Olsen, Class of 2022. A part of her study into green, or recycled, structures Liz constructed this Oven out of repurposed materials. As it was hand sculpted, this process involved a lot of sand, time, and patience. Already being used as a site of gathering, this wonderful addition to the learning garden will serve many students for years to come. Thanks Liz!
Research in the Works
There’s more going on next to the patches too! Emily Greenland, CoW Class of ’24, is continuing her research on our favorite native pollinators with The Ohio State University. Studying the effects of unmowed lawns on the abundance of bees, Emily will be conducting her research at various points on Wooster’s campus. Be(e) sure to wave if you see her, and check out her sign below to learn more:
A new visitor has appeared at the patches this week. Accompanied by our usual cotton-tailed suspects, an unknown friendly white rabbit has begun joining them on their rounds. Hopefully there will be more updates on this matter next week!
What’s In Bloom?
Perhaps you have seen a greenhouse in the Pine Patch this past year. Sponsored by the Environmental Justice Coalition (EJC), this structure housed Wooster’s very own hydroponic set-up over the fall semester. Now the tower resides in the Ruth W. Williams Greenhouse where it will stay until EJC meets back again in August.
Buzz on the Block
This year the Vegetable Garden is looking to harvest some fruit as well! Make your way south of the Pine Patch and you will find a row of young pear and apple trees. You’ll be surprised by how different they will look in just a few days time!
Three Sister System
Nearby the Vegetable Garden you will see a large patch of land with a series of flags laid out. The flags indicate the set-up for which plants will be growing where. On the perimeter of the plot there will be sunflowers, while on the inside there will be a three sister system. This system is created by planting maize (corn), squash, and a legume (bean) next to each other to create the optimal balance of nutrient exchange. In doing so this actually can enhance the productivity of soil. Stay tuned for more updates as the summer goes on!
Identification – Orders of the Hexapods
In addition to maintaining care of the Pollinator Plots this summer, I will be working with Dr. Carlo Moreno as his Research Assistant. Over the next several weeks we will be collecting data on various projects across northeastern Ohio. As a part of this field work I will get to learn new methods of specimen collection, data analysis, and gain more experience engaging with local community members. I am excited to keep y’all up to speed as I expand my knowledge as an ecologist.
This past week has been all about insect identification! By observing different specimens under a microscope, it was my job to classify them to their orders. An order is one part of the taxonomic classification system that is used to differentiate the physical characteristics between various types of insects. Some of you may be familiar with binomial nomenclature, the process of assigning a scientific name to an organism, but what I am doing right now is broader than that. Since scientific names take the format of Genus species, they are as specific as they can possibly be. The 7 taxonomic structures are Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species, and are arranged in that manner to represent how physical characteristics become more and more similar.
I now have a solid understanding of the following 10 Hexapod (6-legged) orders: