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Trees that Please

Some call Wednesday “the hump day” but these folks obviously never went to an ALC. I want to quote @zelda’s reflective comment today: “Today I got to do everything I wanted to do and I am going to do it all again tomorrow!”

Other highlights: @sassygirl26 Isabella has been working hard to pull together the fall festival and today measured the runway, invited new people to participate, and made progress in the decorations. We now have standing tree decorations thanks to some wire hangers!

MadLibs made a comeback and together we wrote many silly and absurd stories.

Although we didn’t get to our intention to challenge ALC NYC in Geoguessr, it was because we all were in flow with what we were doing and that is awesome. I spent a fair amount of time at the park today doing Ecology Club. It was just myself and @jamesisland but I made many new observations and here they are!

Ecology Club

A beautiful Dragonfly (Anisoptera) flew across our path on the way to the park. I deducted it was a Dragonfly and not a Damselfly due to its size and wing shapes. Damselflies, like their name eludes, are more delicate looking, and their wings tend to all be the same size. Dragonflies on the other hand are sturdier and their lower wing pair tends to be larger. Check out this website for more facts: Dragonflies and Damselfies

James @jamesisland and I then played under a beautiful Mockernut Hickory Carya tomentosa

Jamestree

I noticed that many of the Willow Oak Quercus phellos trees in the park had big black bands around them. They look like this:

http://davidsonnews.net/realestate/2013/02/18/band-your-trees-this-year-if-not-look-for-those-green-worms/
http://davidsonnews.net/realestate/2013/02/18/band-your-trees-this-year-if-not-look-for-those-green-worms/

I’ve observed this throughout Charlotte and today researched the phenomenon when we returned to school. Turns out, Cankerworms, a pest native to North America, have become rampant over the past two decades and threaten many tree populations in the Northeast. The recent spike is attributed to the loss of natural predators and decline of other tree species… some of the many consequences of development.

Interesting Fact! Trees are affected year round by Cankerworms but by different species depending on the season. The fall species is called Alsophila pometratiaThe city has conducted 3 aerial sprays since 1993 to reduce populations, the most recent having been in 2008. Because chemical sprays are probably not great for human and other life, the more common treatment are these tree bands. Interestingly, this management technique supports neighborhood cooperation as communities must “band-together” to prevent the pest from spreading. If you would like to learn more here is the website from which I have been paraphrasing: Cankerworm Facts

For more about Cankerworm life cycle and how they affect trees this website has a lot of good info: I want to learn more about Cankerworms!

Using an Audobon app I was FINALLY able to identify this tree:

Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'

It is an Eastern Redbud Cercis canadensis

As usual, Red-Shouldered Hawks Buteo lineatus called above us. I’ve heard them many times before during the days, my guess it was lunchtime.

Last Ecology Club we differentiated between Sugar Maple Acer saccharum and Red Maple Acer rubrum, and today James and I found a Sugar Maple. We collected its magnificent leaves and made this:

sugarmapledesign

Inspired by the work of this amazing artist! (Andy Goldsworthy)

Can’t wait for more fall fun!

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