Exploring a New Path

Greetings Beautiful People!

My apologies for the radio-silence–I was distracted by my recent shift from After-School Science Guru to Professional Plant Killer. That’s right! What with school winding down and summer winding up, I decided it was a good time to add “field experience” to my resume. For the next couple of months at least, my official job title is “Invasive Species Aide” which means I go to certain local parks and dispose of plants which do not traditionally grow in Northeast Wisconsin and which crowd out/suffocate native species. Just to prove that I haven’t just been hiding for the last month or so, here’s some of what I’ve learned so far:

Caterpillars are EVERYWHERE. Also, most anchor themselves to leaves (or clothing) with some sort of pincer on their back end. This makes shaking them off problematic.

This is Tent Caterpillar represents just one of the species of caterpillars I have come across recently.

This Tent Caterpillar represents just one of the species of caterpillars I have come across recently.

Tent Caterpillars are highly social and work together to build large silk

Tent Caterpillars are highly social and work together to build large silk “tents” in the trees they inhabit.

Once you spend a certain amount of time pulling Garlic Mustard up by the roots, its image will be permanently imprinted on your brain. It’s gotten to the point that I see its outline even when I close my eyes and it has infiltrated my dreams.

Garlic Mustard is my prime opponent at the moment--it crowds out, suffocates, and out-competes native plants like you wouldn't believe!

Garlic Mustard is my prime opponent at the moment–it crowds out, suffocates, and out-competes native plants like you wouldn’t believe!

Periwinkle is not just a random color invented for crayons. It is a plant speciesĀ (also called “running myrtle”). It also happens to be invasive.

Periwinkle flowers remind me of pinwheels.

Periwinkle flowers remind me of pinwheels.

Periwinkle plants consist of dense leaves that grow close together and very close to the ground. This makes it almost impossible for any other plant to grow alongside it.

Periwinkle plants consist of dense leaves that grow close together and very close to the ground. This makes it almost impossible for any other plant to grow alongside it.

Trilliums can be pink.

I remember seeing lots of white trilliums growing up in Northern Wisconsin, but I'd never come across a pink one before!

I remember seeing lots of white Trilliums growing up in Northern Wisconsin, but I’d never come across a pink one before!

There is a flower called a Trout Lily.

Trout Lilies are spring flowers and are only in bloom in April-May. I was lucky to find a large patch when they were in their prime.

Trout Lilies are spring flowers and only bloom April to May. I was lucky to find a large patch when they were in their prime.

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One thought on “Exploring a New Path

  1. Glenda

    It is such a shame the flowers are so beautiful on those invasive species. We have several kind of trillium here but not the pink ones either. Also, the pink ones seem to have ruffled edges on the petals which our local ones don’t. Have fun with this new “field experience”.

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