The Latest

NATURE ID CHALLENGE #4 — Gradually Becoming An Expert Naturalist!

April 16, 2020 -

IMPORTANT NOTE:  For those who are interested and available, the National Aquarium will be running an open Zoom meeting Friday 4/17 at 1:00 to train folks about the use of iNaturalist for next weekend’s Backyard Nature Challenge.  Anyone who would like to be a part of that meeting or who would like to receive a… Read more »


April 15, 2020 -

So, did we perform just as well on ID Challenge #2? Although some of the species were not things you’d encounter every day, all are relatively common to the MD Piedmont, if one knows where/when to look. You should have identified the following 12 organisms (each listed with a few ‘fun facts’ to know):  … Read more »

Backyard Nature Challenge . . . Second ID ‘Quiz’

April 14, 2020 -

So, did everyone get off to a great start on the first ID challenge?  Hopefully you correctly identified: Red Fox* Eastern Box Turtle Common Eastern Bumble Bee Great Blue Heron  Poison Ivy (y’all better know this one!)  American Dog Tick  Mallard (male) American Bullfrog* American Holly White-tailed Deer Monarch* Bald Eagle *Photos taken right on… Read more »

It’s time to play ‘LET’S MAKE AN ID!’

April 13, 2020 -

The countdown has begun! The international Backyard Nature Challenge is less than two weeks away.  We are hoping that many members of the Irvine community will become involved, either by documenting nature found in their own yards or neighborhoods or by helping others identify what they’ve found.                                                                                                       Much has been written over the… Read more »


April 9, 2020 -

An encouraging (and somewhat amusing) update to bring nature to YOU, since you’re not able to come here . . .  In between several meetings yesterday, Brooks and I took a quick hike down to the wetlands.  Apparently we hit the absolute peak of American Toad mating season!  There were hundreds, if not thousands, of… Read more »

BACKYARD (formerly City) NATURE CHALLENGE–coming soon!

April 7, 2020 -

If you’ve read through our now-obsolete Spring edition of Understory, you may have seen that Irvine had partnered with the National Aquarium to be one of many ‘site sponsors’ for the International City Nature Challenge in late April. This program, in only its 5th year, is an incredible success story about the powers of technology… Read more »

A Sliver of Silver Lining

April 5, 2020 -

  If you’ve been able to get outside these past few days, you may have noticed something unusual: crisp, clean air! With much of the world currently ‘sheltering in place,’ levels of smog-producing greenhouse gases have plummeted and citizens world-wide are experiencing the best air quality in decades. In China, the Philippines, India, Switzerland, Spain,… Read more »

‘The Log’ Blog

April 3, 2020 -

In keeping with the theme of natural connections . . . It wasn’t really until the 1970’s that ecologists started sounding the warning bell about the deleterious effects of rampant habitat fragmentation on American fauna and flora. As suburban sprawl extended further and further into natural areas, large expanses of forest and meadow became increasingly… Read more »

A Natural Connection- Irvine’s Blog

April 1, 2020 - Latest, Naturalist's Notes

Today marks a bit of a milestone for me; I’ve officially survived my first quarter as Irvine’s new Director of Education.  Who would’ve dreamed that so much would happen during Rob Mardiney’s first three months of retirement?!?  Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a whole new world, with all of us more or less house-bound,… Read more »