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Showing posts from January, 2013

Skunk Cabbage: A Year Later

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Last year I found my first skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) during an adventure I documented here. It's definitely one of my favorite plants, and its smell is not to be missed. Plus, the fact that it's one of the first flowers to bloom as spring approaches makes it a welcome sight after the dreariness of winter.

After seeing it last year, I wondered when it would bloom again. This year's winter hasn't been as wonky as last year's was; we've had a few snowfalls and it has been colder, which is good. Of course, there are always some warm snaps, and two weeks ago one greeted us. I took advantage of it to see if the skunk cabbage was blooming yet, and it was definitely there.

Shy skunk cabbage
 My foray was on January 19, a little more than a month before last year's adventure. The skunk cabbage wasn't in full bloom as it was back then, but perhaps in another week or two it will be. You can see in the above picture that the spathe is just starting to emer…

Grad School Preparations: The Journey

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Other than my Hildreth Project, my time has recently been spent finishing a graduate school application. Everything came together quite nicely, and I sent that sucker in last week.

The next stage: the visit. I'll be flying to Arkansas on Thursday and staying for a few days to check out the campus, meet the Entomology department, and see how I'd fit in. It will be an exciting weekend and I'm looking forward to it. Perhaps soon I'll know for sure what I'm going to be doing in the coming years!

I'm aiming to get a few more blog posts up before the end of January; there will definitely be at least one. Possibly about skunk cabbage, since it's that time of year again...

Symplocarpus foetidus
Until then, wish me luck in Arkansas!

Dr. Hildreth and his cicadas

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I've always had an interest in history and still enjoy it, though my main focus has shifted to natural history. Over the past few years I've discovered the richness of southeast Ohio's history. There's a rock etched with George Washington's initials in my hometown, mounds built by Native Americans are scattered throughout the area, and the first towns established in the Northwest Territory are in southeast Ohio--the first was Marietta in 1788.

It was during this research that I came across a true Renaissance Man: Samuel Prescott Hildreth. He was a doctor that lived in Marietta during the 1800s, but he also dabbled in history, politics, geology, natural history, and more. I've previously written about Hildreth here after finding a notebook of insect notes he wrote (with illustrations), and it's his writings on natural history that interest me most.

Hildreth's natural history research was particularly helpful to researchers of North America's periodica…

Great Spangled Fritillary

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Happy New Year everyone! I'm ringing in 2013 by contracting a cold, so I have not been in much of a writing mood. I've tried to be a little productive, so I've been looking through my old photos to find ones I like and want to use at some point in the future.

I found a photo I originally featured in this post about clover and took it into Adobe Lightroom to fix the color and a few other things.


It's a Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele), a beautiful butterfly that I see pretty often in Ohio. I saw this one outside of Sugar Grove, Ohio in June of 2010, soon after I became interested in macro photography of insects. The butterfly is centered in the photo, sure, but I'm still happy with it. It looks less "hazy" than the original, which is what I was trying to do with it. I'm a bit annoyed at the piece of plant covering the clover flower on the left, but it gives the photo a "natural" look I suppose.

I'm thinking of putting this photo o…