Life Among the Green-Folk

ecologist_at_workAs you may have followed, I’ve been working full-time this summer as a “Biological Aide” for an estuarine reserve, documenting the spread of the nefarious “aquatic invader” Assiminea parasitologica, or, “The Hitchhiking Winkie” (if the common name my fellow biologists came up with at a drunken dinner party stands the test of time…and the naming board). 

{Don’t bet on it}

Subsequently, I have spent excessive amounts of time in a kayak, stuck in mud up to my thigh, and peering into dense marsh undergrowth with my face exactly 2 inches from teeming communities of spiders, centipedes, mysterious “jumping weenie bugs” (that is the only scientific answer I’ve been able to get when asking about them), and, of course, tiny tiny snails. 

I have alsospent time with another unique animal that I have hitherto never really known all that intimately, or even identified as a species in and of itself:

Ecologistsecologist_tarantula

Yes, Ecologists.  It’s sometimes tricky to distinguish an ecologist from your typical human on the street.  So, in the following, I relate to you how to “code out” this magnificent creature in your day-to-day people watching.  I’m sure, once you identify your very first ecologist, you will become as interested in the sport as I have been these past months.

1.  Is the animal male or female?  If male, proceed to #2.  If female, proceed to # 3.

2.  Does the animal exhibit bushy beard growth and/or have clumps of mud in their hair (may also include ears)?  If yes- proceed to #3  If no- you have not found an ecologist.

3.  Does the animal have a permanent sunglasses tan and more than one pair of rubber boots (varying heights – knee, hip, chest-wader- and brands  -xtratuf, generic Walmart, Cabelas-)?  If yes, then proceed to #4, if no, then you have not found an ecologist.

4.  ***very important hint here***  Does the animal drink solely out of metal water bottles while outside and glass jam jars in the office?  If yes, proceed to #5.  If no, you have not found an ecologist.

5.  If observing a group of possible ecologists, do 75+% of them own a flock of clover-fed, organic  for-eggs and for-meat chickens and/or maintain large tracts of organic vegetable garden?  If true, then proceed to #7.  If unsure, proceed to #6.  If no, you have not found ecologists.

6.  Do any of the possible ecologists participate in inter-office e-mail discussions about making a personnel-driven compost system with lunch cast-offs, implementing more comprehensive recycling at department functions, or where to buy a potted plant birthday gift that was 1)grown locally and 2)not invasive to the region?  If yes, then continue to #7. If no, then…probably not.

7.  If you find yourself, when in their presence, increasingly admiring their love of the world we’ve been given, commitment to leaving it better than they found it, and joyful outlook and whole-hearted embrace of life…then you have found an ecologist.

Congratulations!

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1 Comment

Filed under Hobbies and Such

One response to “Life Among the Green-Folk

  1. That is a fabulous dichotomous key.

    Pinto: Hah! So that’s what they’re called! For the life of me, I couldn’t remember! Thank you! Here’s one more of these: !

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