Much ink, both analog and digital (analog ink?), has been pressed to paper and screen concerning rainforests and mountain ranges, the charismatic megafauna of the Arctic, Africa, and Asia.  Let’s not forget the roaming whales and sharks!  However, how much press time do red squirrels receive?  What about stag beetles or damselflies?  Beech trees and oaks?

While it is a good thing to know about other cultures and regions, we cannot usually do much to affect them for the good if they exist on the other side of the earth.  We certainly have little connection to the veldt, Costa Rican rainforests, or the Gobi desert (unless, of course we do live there).  What does it say about us, our children, our educational systems if we know more about the ecosystems of some far-off place that most of us will never visit when we can’t identify the two or three trees growing in our yard?

This blog aims to change that.  My goal is to get you (my few readers) to explore your backyard and your neighborhood to know what lives there, to be able to identify the birds that regularly pass through, and to love (or perhaps hate–I’m singling you out, poison ivy) the plants that belong.

My perspective is decidedly American Midwestern, more specifically the Great Lakes region, and particularly Southeastern Michigan, which is terrifically urbanized.  Yet there is a spectacular array of flora and fauna for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.  Not just here, but your neighborhood as well.

If one sees and respects what is there, one can probably grow to love and steward it.  You should know your backyard and you should want to share it with other creatures and protect it.  As William Carlos Williams said, “The particular is the only universal.”



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