Week of June 26, 2022 – July 2, 2022

by JP Soderberg, Summer Intern

On a recent hike to a part of Baltimore Woods I had never visited before, we arrived at a large previously agricultural field barred by 10ft tall fencing. At first glance it seemed there was only a field of decaying cornstalks and a variety of weeds before me and I was confused as to why this area was protected. However, as we meandered through the field guarded by a large Jurassic park-style gate, a few minutes of crunching over old cornstalks gave way to a sense of wonder.

The group gathered around one of the thousands of plants in the field and became absolutely entranced with what lay inside. My skepticism quickly turned to curiosity  as the naturalists called out in Latin like casting a spell – Verbascum thaspus. In that field, I learned the purpose of the fence was to keep deer from eating recently planted baby trees, but I also learned of the sheer collective knowledge held by the naturalists at Baltimore Woods and I was floored. We sauntered through the field and any questions I asked were immediately answered with stunning specificity. Did you know true bugs are a group known for their mouthparts, they can be identified by the way their wings form the shape of an x on their back?

It didn’t take long for me to realize astonishing beauty can be found in the seemingly mundane… and that sometimes you have to stop and look closely to see more diversity. Watch for more naturalist guided opportunities to visit the newest section of Baltimore Woods and the first new trails to be opening soon!