Sunday, August 17, 2008

100 Species Challenge

A current topic homeschool bloggers are posting about is the 100 Species Challenge. Originally posted here, I have decided to apply this to geocaching. We all would be great people to learn at least 100 unique plants in our caching neighborhood. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Using brain cells and deterring early senility. Sharing appreciation for nature with people, and educating them in a way to encourage the preservation of our wild and natural spaces. This last point is really true for me as a Charlotte Mason home school mom, and because I was called to lead a Boy Scout plant identification walk this summer. I was just asked to lead another one next weekend. Mr. GAIN has been promoting me as a naturalist to the scout leaders the way a loving husband does. I reciprocate and edify him here by noting his high level of involvement in Scouts, despite his unfamiliarity with scouting.

Being the nerd that I am, I constantly photograph new flora while out caching. I use my many books to look them up later. After a few iterations of this, and some times only once if the plant is deeply impactful, I learn plant names by heart. I try to keep a life-list of flora, and have concentrated heavily on non-flowering plants since I started caching.

I am changing this challenge a bit because I feel that the neighborhood would be pretty easy, as demonstrated by Mama Podkayne's hubby. We just have a lot of gardens here. I'm going to concentrate on plants that I find while caching, and I may not get to 100. But here goes. I'll try to post more than once a week, but you know how things go. Once a week would take over a year, and may require me to get a lot more photos. I think this will be fun. First, the formalities as given in the originator's blog post:

The 100-Species Challenge

1. Participants should include a copy of these rules and a link to this entry in their initial blog post about the challenge. I will make a sidebar list of anyone who notifies me that they are participating in the Challenge.

2. Participants should keep a list of all plant species they can name, either by common or scientific name, that are living within walking distance of the participant's home. The list should be numbered, and should appear in every blog entry about the challenge, or in a sidebar.

3. Participants are encouraged to give detailed information about the plants they can name in the first post in which that plant appears. My format will be as follows: the numbered list, with plants making their first appearance on the list in bold; each plant making its first appearance will then have a photograph taken by me, where possible, a list of information I already knew about the plant, and a list of information I learned subsequent to starting this challenge, and a list of information I'd like to know. (See below for an example.) This format is not obligatory, however, and participants can adapt this portion of the challenge to their needs and desires.

4. Participants are encouraged to make it possible for visitors to their blog to find easily all 100-Species-Challenge blog posts. This can be done either by tagging these posts, by ending every post on the challenge with a link to your previous post on the challenge, or by some method which surpasses my technological ability and creativity.

5. Participants may post pictures of plants they are unable to identify, or are unable to identify with precision. They should not include these plants in the numbered list until they are able to identify it with relative precision. Each participant shall determine the level of precision that is acceptable to her; however, being able to distinguish between plants that have different common names should be a bare minimum.

6. Different varieties of the same species shall not count as different entries (e.g., Celebrity Tomato and Roma Tomato should not be separate entries); however, different species which share a common name be separate if the participant is able to distinguish between them (e.g., camillia japonica and camillia sassanqua if the participant can distinguish the two--"camillia" if not).

7. Participants may take as long as they like to complete the challenge.
You can make it as quick or as detailed a project as you like. I'm planning to blog a minimum of two plants per week, complete with pictures and descriptions as below, which could take me up to a year. But you can do it in whatever level of detail you like.

And now, on to Specimen #1 of the challenge.

Specimen #1 Jewelweed.
AKA Touch-Me-Not.
Impatiens capensis Meerb.
Photo on left by me (pretty good for a windy day). Photo on right (a profile) from Free Herb Pictures dot com It looks like a candle snuffer.

I met this species two years ago near a lake in Minnesota where I took some kids out to find Ten Mile Island, GC7D46. Its shape is unusual and it is spotted, which makes it very appealing to many people. I found it near another lake in Wisconsin during a recent DNF, GCM3XQ What's the point?

Natives used Jewelweed for many things. One use that persisted into modern times is rubbing the juice from jewelweed leaves and flowers on poison ivy rashes to relieve the itchiness. It is often found near poison ivy. How convenient. It is a bushy plant and can get about 5' tall.

1 comment:

Heather's Moving Castle said...

That is awesome! I am fascinated with jewel weed. ;)

Thanks for sharing.