Often, while I am hanging out in the backyard, catching a bit of late afternoon, high octane Fall sun, I am caught casually acknowledging the bugs that land on my leg or on a page in the book that I am reading. I get the urge to know more about them as they shift around, plotting their next move. I sometimes wonder if they would like what I’m reading or if they enjoy the Billy Idol song that I am listening to. If I’m lucky, and I don’t disturb them too much, I can stretch my arm in just the right way over to the table next to me, grab my phone, and if they haven’t flown away yet, I am on my way to adding another precious species to my digital log of living things on planet Earth.
The app that I use for species identification is called “Seek” and it was suggested to me last summer as I pondered the dense wildlife around me at a campfire on the shore of Lake Michigan. Moments later, I had Seek downloaded on my phone and was tearing into the brush trying to determine what the viney plant that I had noticed earlier on the shore was called. Proudly, my first identified species on Seek is a Sand Cherry plant or Prunus pumilia, a North American species of cherry in the rose family. Since that day, I have logged discrete photos of fifty two plants, twelve insects, six arachnids, four fungi, four birds, three mammals (including my friend’s cat, “The Mom''), and a Common Earthworm or Limbricus terrestris. I still haven’t managed to log anything in the amphibian, fish, reptile or mollusk categories…
Each species logged provides an “About” section that links to a Wikipedia page, a “Range Map” that provides a look at where other users around the globe have logged the same species, a “Taxonomy” section, a graph of the species “Seasonality” and “Similar Species”. Clicking around in these categories is astounding to me. There’s a certain buoyancy that comes from identifying the obscure, to give a name to nature that I previously did not hold.
Feeling kinda bummed that we are now riding the downward turn of the ferris wheel of the seasons towards the deep winter? Me too (I’ll likely start listening to The Cure soon while watching the afternoon light slowly creep away). But, I said it before and I’ll say it again, a nice walk around the block or beyond will do wonders. You might even find a species from our famous shop mural. Speaking of which, if you have ever received a shipment order from Green Life, you might already know that our shop mural consisting of flora, fauna and fungi from around Wisconsin, is featured on our one of a kind, water-activated and compostable packing tape. It’s the little things that matter, naturally.
I leave you with the Coral City Camera, a look into the tropical underwater world in Miami and a promise that warmer Summer days will once again come around.