Today I started my biology project. We're supposed to study a single plot of land for 8 weeks and report on our findings each week. We were given a field guide with questions and tasks to guide us (find a leaf, measure the air temperature, etc) and are basically supposed to behave like scientists studying a new environment.
We were told to try to find a site that measures roughly 50x100 feet; has meadow and trees, but no water running through it; is not mowed or cultivated; and is ideally close to home. So... as I half-heartedly observed my town, nothing jumped out as even remotely meeting the requirements. This is Oregon, so there's water everywhere (or blackberries, which are equally impenetrable). Also, do you know how hard it is to find a field that hasn't been mowed or isn't part of someone's wheat crop?
I finally settled on the garden plot out in our backyard. We've let it go wild over the past year, so I think it qualifies on most accounts (although it's only 50x25 feet in dimension and there are no trees in it). I think it's diverse enough for an interesting project though, so I made an executive decision that it was "good enough".
This afternoon, I spent about 45 minutes at this lab site, observing what I could observe. At first glance I didn't think there'd be anything living left to observe in there, since everything seemed to be dead. Soon though, I realized it was actually teeming with life!
Here are photos of some of the plants and wildlife that I observed (I also saw a small white butterfly, some smaller flies/bugs/mosquitos of some sort, and a honeybee, but they were too quick to photograph).
Can you spot the non-native organism in one of these pictures?