What Are Citizen Scientists?
The Nature Society has formed a group that consists of "Citizen Scientists" who are interested in researching the nature parks. No special skills are required to aid this group except for curiosity. Anyone can join at any time. They are taught what they need to know. It might be how to identify an insect, plant, or fungi. Counting, mapping, or measuring might be required. On a typical nature walk, our leaders primarily share their knowledge. Here the intention of the group is to seek knowledge by making original observations and collecting data.
Here was our first question: How common is the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly in Tenhave Woods?
For the last 40 years (on and off), Don Drife has searched for the larva of the Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) which feeds on Prickly-ash (Zanthoxylum americanum). Prickly-ash occurs in Tenhave Woods. Don Drife (Nature Society botanist) has seen adult Giant Swallowtails in the woods for many years. Don and Bob Muller (Nature Society naturalist) were once identifying and measuring trees in the Tenhave swamp forest when Don found three larvae, the first that Don has ever seen. They resemble bird droppings.
Our first "Citizen Scientist" program took place on September 7, 2014 at Tenhave Woods. The group did a census of the Giant Swallowtail by looking for their larvae on the Prickly Ash.
Our second "Citizen Scientist" program took place on September 12, 2015 at Tenhave Woods. The group helped with some Oak Tree Research by learning about them and then helping to identify different oak species found in the park. The main focus was on looking for Shumard Oak, a species that has just made into this corner of this state.