The 4th of July and Wild Side: Giving Programs and Recommendations

Shenandoah is the largest park near Washington DC, meaning we get a lot of visitors and travelers coming through. On the weekends and holidays it gets extremely busy at our visitor center, and many of the trails are full of hikers and backcountry campers. Since the 4th of July is this week, many people are taking vacations in or around the park. The visitor center has become crazy, and a desk shift means a nonstop line of visitors with questions or requesting recommendations. It’s even been tiring to drive around, as we constantly have “bear jams” and people driving incredibly slow to observe wildlife.

With all the visitor activity lately I’ve gotten a lot better with all the maps in the park now, and can successfully recommend hikes in the north, central, and south district. Hopefully things will calm down after we get through this week!

Along with the citizen science program I do every Sunday, this week I will be presenting my second program. Here in Shenandoah we have a “Wild Side” talk everyday, where a ranger talks about an animal of their choice. Many rangers are presenting about mammals, birds, or reptiles, so I decided to focus my program on insects. Since I know a lot about pollinating insects in particular, I’ve decided to present about four pollinating insects that maybe don’t get as much credit. I’m focusing on green sweat bees, hummingbird moths, solider beetles, and hoverflies. All these pollinators get overshadowed by honey bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, but they are still just as important to our ecosystems. I really want to stress that pollinators provide us an ecosystem service by helping flowers reproduce, and, in turn, allowing us to enjoy flowers and fruits. I will be presenting my talk this Thursday and I hope my first time goes well!


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