Behold, I have found a new and more interesting version of going for a walk. As my sister aptly puts it, it’s a Diversity Estimation walk. Sounds snazzy right? Well, I’m sure it’s more complicated than that, however, the basics of it is simple enough.
Basically, you need bugs. We could call it by the usual name like “fly” or “worm”, but my sister made it more interesting. We were looking for…
Gastropoda (Slugs and Snails)
Opilliones (Daddy Long Legs)
Lepidoptera (Caterpillars and Inchworms)
Isopoda (Pill Bugs)
And a whole other host of bugs that she suspected we wouldn’t be able to see without at least a magnifying glass: mites (acari), lice (psocoptera) springtales (collembola) and thrips (thysanoptera).
Once you’ve wrapped your brain about the awesomely scientific names your four-year-old is going to eventually introduce his Kindergarten teacher to (“Yes, Mr. ______, I drew a Lepidoptera!), you then need to go out and do a Diversity Estimate.
The long and short of it is that a Diversity Estimate is an adult way to go stick your nose under a bunch of rocks, poke a couple of insect-looking twigs, and fist bump your child for finding an entire family of wood bugs. And, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably trying really hard not to get squeamish at a random wet sock, repeatedly telling your child that throwing the rocks back ON the family of wood bugs isn’t such a good thing, and trying to avoid potato-sacking your youngest child as a result of his incessant whining. Admittedly it was after nap time, but really, get with the program Littlest! We’re looking at a potential plethora of thrips you can’t see!
Despite Littlest’s lack of interest at the invisible thrips, and Biggest’s focused interest on chucking chunks of rock in random directions, I feel as though we had fun. I do however, feel woefully under equipped for such nature walks. I’m going to need a microscope for Christmas.
Tune in next week, we’re visiting another site to see what else we can find. Also, I don’t need my sister’s equation for our results to tell you that due to cold weather, and time of day, the only thing we found was a ton of woodbugs, 2 isopoda, 1 baby lepidoptera and 1 gastropoda (which was almost crushed by a recently thrown rock). If my sister were to graph it, it would say that with the evidence supplied, woodbugs are taking over the world one log at a time, and every other species of insect is dead.