Shared Interests: By Pat Schuler/The Butterfly Lady

  It's always exciting to find others who share our interests, especially when those interests are things about which we are really passionate. I found such a group of like-minded people this week when I attended the first class of this year's Master Naturalist Course for the Central Virginia Chapter. This program provides training and volunteer opportunities for people who are interested in, and curious about, all aspects of nature, and who want to share their interest and contribute to the conservation of the natural environment. The course I've enrolled in is a twelve week study of subjects as diverse as: geology, taxonomy, botany, entomology, ornithology, etc. Wow! Yes, there will be field trips and a final exam. We will also be required to perform 40 hours of volunteer service. I've signed up for volunteer training to lead groups of school kids through the trails at a nearby nature and science center. Sounds like strenuous fun, doesn't it ? If you want to know more about this program, check out this link :www.virginiamasternaturalist.org As part of the first night's class we were given note books and told to start keeping a journal, as all serious naturalists do. That seemed to me to be very similar to what I've been doing in my blogs. So, with no further ado, I proceeded to take a walk around my own yard to see what interesting observations of nature I could make. Interestingly enough, we were told that the journal should include our own feelings and thoughts about what we observed. My first journal entry appears below. Oh, yes. We were given pages with inspirational quotations on them . I want to share the thought on the one I was given. "In all things of Nature, there is something of the marvelous." Aristotle. So true, and I hope to share something of the wonder I feel in all I see of Nature as our great Creator made it.
Sept. 15, 2011 - Bedford, Va. - Today has been mostly cloudy and cool, though no rain. Two days ago we had our first rain in weeks, and yesterday a sizeable patch of mushrooms suddenly appeared next to the shed in our backyard. I took a few photos hoping to be able to identify them later. Still have seen only two adult Monarchs and no caterpillars on any of my milkweed varieties. All of my Luna moth caterpillars I've been scavenging pecan leaves for have finally spun cocoons getting ready for the cold weather ahead. One little Polyphemus caterpillar found on a small pecan sapling an enterprising squirrel planted in the half whiskey barrel on my back porch. Don't know whether that will be enough food for the little fellow to reach maturity before the leaves fall. I may have to take him in and try to find a few leaves somewhere. We'll see. Meanwhile, I see the work I need to start doing tomorrow, as the weeds have completely taken over what the deer left of my garden!