A praying mantid hitch-hiker at White Ranch Open Space Park
I want to speak out for insects. Invertebrates make up 97% of animal life on earth and insects are the largest in number and the most successful of those invertebrates. They perform many of the thankless grunge jobs of the ecosystem. Certainly some of them, like mosquitoes, are inconvenient for humans but often they keep the humans in check and discourage overuse of wetland areas. Insects are pollinators (bees and butterflies), decomposers (beetles), engineers and communal experts (ants, termites and bees). They are variously insectivorous, herbivorous and even carnivorous. The colors, designs, shapes and division of labor within the insect world are fascinating. While they are not warm, fuzzy, charismatic creatures, I definitely respect them.
Last weekend we drove to White Ranch Open Space Park in Jefferson County. We had not been there before but were looking for a place that allowed dogs on leashes. It was absolutely beautiful. It functioned as a working ranch from 1913 to 1969 when it was donated by the White heirs to Jefferson county to be preserved as open space. Consisting of several thousand acres, it includes rolling hills, rocky geological formations, Ponderosa and Douglas Fir forested areas and a spacious meadow. We saw deer, rabbits and hawks. There are picnic tables placed under shade trees and 18 miles of marked trails. What a find! We will definitely go there again.
Meadow and barn in White Ranch Park.