I know exactly the moment I decided it was time to learn a little more about the eco-system in which I was living: standing in the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Arizona, I realized I knew more about the Sonoron Dessert ecosystem than I did my own. I didn’t even know the name of my own ecosystem.
Turns out I grew up in the Southeastern Wisconsin Savannah, the Wisconsin Till Plain subsection. I now live, just barely, in the Northern Lacustrine-Influenced Upper Michigan and Wisconsin section, Green Bay Till and Lake Plain subsection. What a mouth-full.
School is also located in my current home’s section. The dominant pre-settlement vegetation was northern hardwood forest, dominated by beech and sugar maple, with basswood and some oaks, including red, white, and black. From a conservation perspective, we’re a part of a major migratory bird corridor, especially for raptors and waterfowl, according to the United States Geological Survey website on the area.
I think I still know more about the Sonoron Dessert.
Madame Dupee has learned in her travels that Swiss children are both familiar with and caring of their surroundings:
. . . the more I talked with and spent time with Albert and his cousin, the more I realize what a commitment they feel to the beauty of their country. For example, when we were walking, Julian noticed a cloth that was lying on the ground in a pasture. Without hesitating, he ran to it and picked it up, and later threw it away.
Also, whenever I asked him what cetain flowers were called, he always knew the answer. I was so impressed with his ability to name each of the wildflowers that grew in his region- there were so many! I felt quite inspired to learn the trees and common flowers in Milwaukee when I return home.
The kids and I have visited the school’s garden, known as Karen’s Garden, both to lend a hand, to have a place to bike to, and to learn more about gardening in our environment. Last week, John helped Mr. Jacobs (a.k.a. our neighbor, Kip) with some of the gardening work. Next week, we’re the Garden Captains. We’ll learn a little about the weeds that grow here, I’m sure, as well as how our late harvest garden is doing. Our crop will feed students at school in the LS/MS and US Dining Rooms.
Finally, the kids and one of the neighbor boys flew kites a couple of weeks ago on a windy June day. I may not know the names of common trees and flowers in this corner of the world, but after a childhood of water and wind sports out on the lakes of Waukesha County, I’m familiar with the weather patterns over the seasons. We took over Ken Laird Field at school and the kids, using two news kites from their Uncle John, ran 100s of yards. The south/south-easterly wind kept them busy for almost two hours! (I wish I could figure out how to post the video from my cell phone so you could hear Elizabeth as she sang out, “WEEEEEEEEE!”).
Next time: Why does it matter that there’s buck thorn?