Uncommon knowledge

Having just attended a Maryland Bee and Wasp workshop at the 2013 Maryland Environmental and Outdoor Educator conference, I came to the conclusion that the nest I Imageidentified in a recent post as a paper wasp nest might actually be the nest of a bald-faced hornet. If any of my readers can make a positive identification, please let me know!

Other facts I learned at the MAEOE conference:

  • In their fall migration, monarchs will travel 1,000 to 3,000 miles.
  • Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” is the second driver of climate change in our country.
  • The United States produces 300 million tons of dry animal waste annually as compared to 7 million tons of dry human waste.
  • The order Hymenoptera, which includes wasps, bees, sawflies, horntails, and ants, is the second largest order of insects and makes up half the biomass of insects in the world.
  • 75% of flowering plants depend on animal pollinators.
  • 30% of amphibians and 21% of reptiles are threatened globally due to habitat loss, climate change, pollution, invasive species, pathogens, and commercial harvest.
  • The call of a pickerel frog sounds like an old man snoring.

As of 2010, scientists have described over 1.7 million of the world’s species of animals plants, and algae. While the enormous variety of life on our plant poses a huge learning curve for environmental educators, it’s also what makes the job so inspiring.

by Jenny Houghton
Youth Program Coordinator

 photo of pickerel frog courtesy of Scott A. Smith

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