Termites!

While walking through the Ashley Schiff Preserve with my class, the quantity of things I like to call ‘nonliving living things” disinterested me. These trees, fungi, moss and leaves bored me and I wanted to find something fun. So I set forth on my quest; flipping over rocks, rummaging through leaves with a stick, and…

Look at the little things

Stepping into the Ashley Schiff Park Preserve on the first day of October and felt like I had stepped back in time. The trees date back to the 1700’s and have Tarzan like vines wrapping around them, with the surrounding herbaceous plants covering the forest floor in a thick brown, orange and green canopy. While…

Chicken of the Woods

I’ve always been a nature girl. I played in mud until an embarrassing age (now), hiked, camped, and just explored basically since I was born. I’ve had internships that hinged on knowing nature. I’ve participated in competitions where the whole point was to identify different organisms. Despite all that, I am terrible at plant identification….

Finding beauty

October 1st marked the first day I set foot in the Ashley Schiff Park Preserve. At first, I was skeptical about how this little “field trip” would go. Especially because the first thing my professor said was “look at all this poison ivy.” Despite avoiding the poison ivy and fearing all the spiders, I started…

Flying free in Ashley Schiff Preserve

Every Monday I attend my three-hour population studies class expecting to be lectured for the whole duration. On the first of October, professor Pochron decided to mix things up a bit when she suddenly exclaimed “who wants to have class outdoors?” It seemed like a good way to kill class time, so the students in…

Hanging out with orchard orbweavers

Featured above is the Leucauge venusta, commonly known as an Orchard Orbweaver. I first noticed this spider hanging out on a web amongst the forest underbrush. I stared at the spider hesitantly and froze at the thought of getting close. Michael Schrimpf, our guide, encouraged me to get it on camera, and as though the…

More than just a common yarrow

Achillea millefolium, or the common yarrow, is an ordinary looking plant on first glance. However, its leaves it holds incredible potential. I found it on the edge of the Ashley Schiff Preserve on the Stony Brook main campus on June 13th, 2018, within a small patch of what I suspected to be Common Cat-Ear flowers….

TLC and Cat’s-ears

Out of all my experiences as a student at Stony Brook University, the class visit in June to the Ashley Schiff Preserve topped the charts. Our professor took us on a guided tour led by PhD student, Michael Schrimpf, to observe the ecosystem’s flora and fauna. Michael provided us with his extensive ecological knowledge base,…

Adventures with isopods

As we arrived to the Ashley Schiff preserve, we were greeted by a phenomenal naturalist and ecologist Michael Schrimpf. He contrasted the different types of forest seen in the Long Island, NY. This being 100 years old, had dense vegetation as compared to the Pine Barrens. As we were walking through we witnessed dwarf vegetation…

What is sassafrass?

Tim and I walked through Ashley Schiff Preserve in June and we found a larger stemmed plant with these wonky-looking leaves. The plant stood out on the forest, as much of the other plants didn’t have such a cool design to them. Tim and I were interested, so we uploaded the photo to iNaturalist and…