Everyone knew going into this semester that it would be a rocky one. Classes at my university started two weeks ago, but it took only a week for administration to pause face-to-face teaching due to a rising case count and COVID breakout in two campus dormitories. I’m glad I could take my courses online, but I feel for other graduate students and faculty stuck teaching amidst this crisis.
I recently started a list of environmentally-themed “Good Books” and am open to any suggestions in the comments or sent in via the “Contact Me” page. Right now I am taking a break from environmental non-fiction with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the third edition published in 1831 then again in 1994. The next environmental book I plan to read is The Nature Fix.
What I really need to be reading is about 3 peer-reviewed journal articles pertaining to my dissertation work per week. It’s not an impossible task if you’re good at skimming. But I like reading every last sentence in an article, because what if the sentence I skip happens to hold the secret to the universe?
I haven’t recorded another episode of Swamped or updated my “Quarterly Report” in forever because the first one was far too much work for far too little reward, and the second has never been fun. I am currently wrapping up summer research, fleshing out my PhD project, and drowning in classwork. Most of all I am glad to be in school right now, and grateful that others will take the time out of their day to teach me a thing or two about water analysis and air pollution.
Enjoy these photos of goldenrod, which is hard to tell apart from ragweed, but was done with the help of a depiction on this webpage. The ants loved the yellow flowers, which are dying off quickly in the cool weather. While on a walk with my boyfriend we also stumbled upon buckthorn, which looks a lot like chokeberry, or pretty much any wild berry.
Some say the buckthorn bush is an understory plant, but it is not uncommon to spot it on a roadside like we did. According to the Wisconsin DNR, it can be found in “oak forests, riparian woods, savannas, prairies, old fields, and roadsides. It thrives particularly on well-drained soils.” Glad we didn’t eat them, because chokeberries will make you choke if you eat the seeds, and buckthorn will cause cramping and diarrhea.
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