My children and I went for a hike with our friends on the Lake Michigan dunes in Door County, Wisconsin, this summer. It is fantastically gorgeous there. The water is crystal clear and you can see 10’ down – likely further but I didn’t swim out that far! The light on the sand beach is gorgeous and there are many birds to wake up to. There are also many trails to hike, so we did! We decided to hike the dunes, which were forested, which was bizarre. I don’t typically think of sand-based forests. But walk we did. There was a beach in the middle of the 1.5 mile hike, which gave our arms a break from carrying kids and gear. Little legs don’t walk that far. On our walk, we played the “color game,” which is the color filter isite. Walking along a trail that is mostly dark green, we looked for other colors. We found red berries that look like raspberries but without the thorns. We found a bush with little red berries that I’d like to know what it is. We talked about how the red attracts the birds and animals to eat them and spread their seeds. We saw yellow, white, and purple flowers. Again, I think the color is to stand out from a background of dark green so that insects can pollinate them. Color seems to symbolize “food for sex” as the author of “Prairie: A Natural History” suggests. The dark green leaves are green for photosynthesis and dark because it’s later in the season and the chlorophyll is aging.
Have you ever gone out into a natural environment and looked to see how many different type of species you can find within a given area? Observations of small areas can give you a better understanding of the interdependence each species has both with each other and with its environment.