Stigma Stigma: Misadventure in Identifying Plants

Hundreds and perhaps thousands of unidentified plant photos lurk in my hard drive. I've always intended to manage and catalog them, maybe make blogging an excuse to learn the botany world one species at a time. I daresay I've failed and should try harder. One of my earliest photos back in March 2012 includes this … Continue reading Stigma Stigma: Misadventure in Identifying Plants

Twelve Sketches and Tutorials From 2016

Reading, drawing, painting, photographing, writing, exercising, gaming--which of these past times do I do? When? How often? How long? It's always a tough decision, but sometimes I get drawing and painting in, and for the sake of visual cataloging, here are twelve examples showing where I'm at skill-wise at the end of 2016. Background note: … Continue reading Twelve Sketches and Tutorials From 2016

Film Reflection: Life on Location by BBC Earth

“How do they film that?” I always ask. “How do they coordinate? What are they not showing me?” That is how I watch natural history documentaries in between the “ah! That's so cool!” and “hmm, interesting. I should look that up.” Then one day on Netflix I saw BBC Earth's 2009 Life: On Location, where … Continue reading Film Reflection: Life on Location by BBC Earth

Book Reflection: The Practical Naturalist by Chris Packham

Your favorite civilian natural science book comes with prerequisites: vivid photos from altocumulus clouds to decomposition fungi, key hiding spots of small insects and charismatic critters, and nontechnical but curiosity-provoking descriptions of ecological concepts--all of which fill The Practical Naturalist. Edited by Chris Packham and written by a team of scientists, this book is detailed … Continue reading Book Reflection: The Practical Naturalist by Chris Packham

Views of Lake Fort Smith (Part II: Scientist)

There's a phenomenon science students experience. Perhaps there's an inspirational, rare term assigned to it though I do not know what that would be. The landscape is no longer a cohesive environment of greenery and blotchy earth colors punctured by charismatic creatures and dramatic waterfalls. It...becomes millions of things that non-sciency friends rare their eyebrows … Continue reading Views of Lake Fort Smith (Part II: Scientist)

Views of Lake Fort Smith (Part I: Civilian)

Lake Fort Smith is one of the more popular hiking and boating destinations in my area. There the Ozark Highlands Trail, a 218 mile chain of interconnected trails and collectively the second longest in the state (the Ouachita Trail being the longest at 223 miles). They must be growing, because before I checked I could … Continue reading Views of Lake Fort Smith (Part I: Civilian)

Book Reflection: American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree by Susan Freinkel

The American chestnut tree, Castanea dentata, was one of the first biological icons to be virtually vacated from an integral position in both the environment and American society. We knew little about accidental imports of exotic species, and the introduction of the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica spurred the discussion and action. I was fascinated with the topic when … Continue reading Book Reflection: American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree by Susan Freinkel

Trending: Mycorrhizae Without Writing “Mycorrhizae”

Mycorrhizal fungi grow in and around plant roots as well as provide a nutrient-exchanging path for different individual plants. Occasionally I'll see some meme or link to a brief YouTube video about these fungi, not that one would recognize the term "mycorrhizal" because it is never used. It's danced around. Sometimes substituted with something in … Continue reading Trending: Mycorrhizae Without Writing “Mycorrhizae”

Film Reflection: Wildest Middle East by Animal Planet

After reading What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam & Modernity in the Middle East by Bernard Lewis and watching Rory Stewart's The Great Game (incredible dual documentaries on imperialism and Afghan independence) on Netflix (the first is also on YouTube), I continued the theme and watched an installment on one of my favorite natural history … Continue reading Film Reflection: Wildest Middle East by Animal Planet

Wilson Park: Dogs, Flowers and Fungi (Oh! The Fungi!)

Deep oak and hickory wood laced with purring creeks and rocky rubble beckons me, but most days they must wait, as getting out of town to the nearest decent public hiking area requires twenty minutes--more than one can afford on a working day. Instead, I often opt for a five-minute drive (to avoid crossing a … Continue reading Wilson Park: Dogs, Flowers and Fungi (Oh! The Fungi!)