Moths and Squirrels and Such

Hi all, Some sad news, y’all, about the outreach event that I was helping prepare for this Thursday to work with the Teen Court, a group of teenagers who need community service and want to remove an act from their record. We were going to do a potluck-style meeting with people from the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service to talk to the kids about what they do, like a mini career fair that I did with the Upward Bound kids. But no one signed up to come, so it was canceled. I am going to help with one other program before I leave, with the Mescalero Apache tribal YMCA group, and hopefully that one does come to fruition. In other news, the famous Mothapalooza is coming up this Friday, and it should be a fun new event to be a part of. As I mentioned last week, Mothapalooza is based around the research that Eric Metzler has done here at the park for more than 10 years now. It is a fun way to invite and celebrate with visitors from far and wide about the unique animals and life that lives here in the park. I cut up some yucca fruit yesterday to look for larvae to show the visitors and there weren’t many, which was surprising. Eric was telling me that it could be a different species of moth, or what I also think is that a factor is climate change. The monsoon season also started a little late and that may have something to do with the development of the larvae, but who actually knows? A coworker of mine did say that he didn’t see ant Buckmoths this year, either, and that this was a strange phenomenon. I’m sure there are many factors that can explain that, but it still goes to show that changes are becoming more obvious. Last fun fact is that we have squirrel friends who have become little mascots and friends of us rangers. They were found and rehabbed by one of the law enforcement people in the park because he does that on the side, and the squirrels ended up becoming too attached and comfortable with humans…so when he released them, they came to my house and were living on my porch. As a result he had to get a permit and now will permanently take care of them. Little things like seeing cute squirrels and looking for caterpillars is what makes this job never boring!

Cut up yucca fruit. The black are all the seeds.

One of the props I will be using for the science fair. There can be 1-5 different species of moths in this case.


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