With the end of the year almost upon us, it's time to look back on past 12 months.
2014 was a busy year for me. The Environmental Education Program expanded beyond anything I would have imagined when I started working for the Conservation District - I did 336 classroom presentations during the calendar year. Add in programs for the local library district and local Audubon club, participating in a get-kids-outside program for the county parks department, supporting Mother Earth Week activities at the Ziibiwing Center, and manning a booth at the Isabella County Fair; my presentation schedule kept me hopping for much of the year.
My year was also busy because of things that I took on myself. I became much more involved with the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy this year, helping to survey plants at several of its preserves and leading a couple of nature walks. Of course my Wildflowers of 2014 project also took up a lot of my time.
Lucky for me my job often gets me outside. Even when I am busy I always manage to find at least a little time almost every week to get outside and take photographs. In no particular order, here are some of my favorite photos from the past year.
The first photo is from my March 6th post titled "Hoarfrost and Horned Larks" and was photographed along the roadside about a half mile from my office.
This photograph of an Indigo Bunting was photographed in May at Mission Creek Woodland Park. I just really like the bird's facial expression - for a closer look here is the original posting.
The next photo of oak leaves was taken at Mill Pond Park on April 14th. This photo was originally posted on May 1st. I like the brown tones of the leaves and the decaying log. It is just a moody photograph that immediately became one of my favorites for the year.
This photograph of Skunk Cabbage leaves appears nowhere else on this blog. It was taken on April 29th. Skunk Cabbage is probably my favorite wildflower. I like this photo because of the contrast between the vibrant green leaves and the drab background of swampy soils and dead leaves.
The next three photographs show people interacting with nature.
This photograph was taken during the Chippewa Valley Audubon Club's moth hunt on June 21st at Mission Creek Woodland Park. At this stage we were waiting for species to show up at our lights. I wrote about this outing in post on June 23rd.
The next photograph was taken during a wetland plant survey on June 13th at the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy's Hall's Lake preserves. This photo shows CWC Director Stan Lilley photographing a Wild Calla plant.
The next photograph was also taken during a plant survey - this time at the CWC's Alyce J. Peterson Natural Area on August 16th. Just for your information, the plant that they are looking up is the Cut-leaved Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata) For more photos from this field trip please look here.
The next picture came about when a couple brought an ice cream bucket into the Conservation District. I love surprises of this kind. This photograph was originally posted on June 27th. I love how this little 12-inch Eastern Hognose Snake puffed up and acted like a rattlesnake in an effort to be intimidating.
This Fistulous Goat's Beard seed head was also photographed on June 26th. This is the first time this photo has been posted. I like the delicate look of the "parachutes" contrasted against the barbed edges of the seeds.
The next two photographs were taken during my vacation along the Lake Michigan shoreline. The first photograph shows the S.S. Badger car ferry passing the Ludington breakwater light on August 10th. The second photo shows "Big Red" (the Holland, MI lighthouse) being passed by a small boat at sunset on August 11th.
I like the next photograph because of the interesting clouds. This photo was taken on September 3rd at a property on the west side of Isabella County. I have not posted this photograph before, but other photos from this property can be found on this post about the Milbert's Tortoiseshell Butterfly. This was the site where I found more than 40 Monarch caterpillars this year.
I took lots of photographs of insects this year. It wasn't intentional like the wildflower photos, I just happened to see lots of insects when I had a camera in my hand. Here are my two favorite insect photos of the year.
This picture of a female Twelve-spotted Skimmer was taken on September 8th at the Saginaw Chippewa Academy Native Pollinator Garden.
This preying mantis was photographed on September 2nd in the field behind the District office while I was searching for Monarch caterpillars.
In 2013, I shared my favorite photograph from each month. This year I noticed that I had a couple of months, that due to time constraints and weather conditions, for which I really didn't have any photographs that I liked. For other months I had lots of photos that I liked. I had a hard time choosing which pictures to include here, but some photos made my "favorites" list as soon as I took them. This photograph from the CWC's Quigley Creek Natural Area was taken on July 31st. I thought I had posted pictures from Quigley Creek, but it looks the only one that made it online was one of a Lesser Purple-fringed Orchid.
The final photograph was taken at Mill Pond Park in Mt. Pleasant on November 20th. I like how the sunlight filters through the clouds in this photo.