Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘nest

Paper wasps at nest hanging from a dry cattail leaf

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On September 14th at the Riata Trace Pond I found some paper wasps (Polistes sp.) building their nest on a dry cattail leaf. They kept on with their work and I with mine, which included photographing them.

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I recently came across Shane Trotter’s good article “Remedial Education for All,” which I recommend to you. Here are a couple of passages from the article:

The unfortunate reality is that ability and upbringing really do matter. Even the best teachers usually won’t make a dent against a home environment that does not value education. This is not to suggest that schools should ignore the needs of students who are less talented, have harder home lives, or come from less academic pedigrees. Indeed, it is necessary and wonderful that teachers are passionate about trying to reach such students. But we can’t expect teachers to reliably compensate for large voids. Even more, we can’t stunt the development of all students in the name of this naive pursuit.

As calls for equality of outcome gain steam and schools make plans to reduce educational gaps that have been exacerbated by 18 months of virtual learning, we’d do well to remember the predictable costs of pretending we can make everything fair. Mass education will never be a perfect fit for everyone. Schools have to identify the competencies and attitudes that are most valuable and optimize in a way that brings the most possible students to high, yet reachable standards. When high school students fall too far behind and decide they aren’t interested in catching up, they should be able to pursue a vocational track that pushes them to develop other meaningful skills. These students will be far more likely to apply themselves if we give them relevant options like work apprenticeships, trade programs, and so on.

At its core, this is about maintaining the integrity of the learning environment. Too many in education today have no sense of the value that certain skills and habits of mind can have in people’s lives (or that these are the skills of which a high school diploma is supposed to indicate mastery). Education, to them, is just a prop to be given out in hopes of advancing a person’s social positioning. They are willing to compromise standards at every turn in order to manufacture achievements that society has predetermined as “good.” But in the process, they devalue those outcomes and the surrounding educational culture.

I’ve been pointing out many of the same problems with education for years, even decades, as you’ve also heard in the last two posts.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 16, 2021 at 4:36 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Softer colors at Stillhouse Hollow

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After leaves have fallen, trees reveal summer-hidden branches and sometimes things within them, like the nest now disclosed here. This bare tree, while neither massive nor colorful like the still-clad oak you saw yesterday, nevertheless appeals in the intricacy of its many slender branches and twigs. Visible beyond it you can make out upper parts of a sycamore tree (Platanus occidentalis) tall enough to catch light from the late-afternoon sun. Though the tree with the nest in it had no leaves left to help with identification, it might have been a cedar elm (Ulmus crassifolia). I have no idea what kind of animal made the nest. Below is an unobstructed view of the sycamore’s browning crown in its own right.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 11, 2018 at 4:38 AM

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Cactus wren nest in cholla cactus

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cactus-wren-nest-in-cholla-cactus-2471

On November 8th of 2016 in the eastern section of Tucson’s Saguaro National Park I saw what I take to be the nest of a cactus wren, Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus. The cactus is either a staghorn cholla, Cylindropuntia versicolor, or a buckhorn cholla, Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 27, 2017 at 4:56 AM

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Killdeer

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Killdeer Near Nest on Beach 8021B

At Illinois Beach State Park on June 14th we noticed a lot of clutter in one place, as you see in the first photograph. Flitting in and out of that clutter was a bird that I learned is a killdeer, Charadrius vociferus.

The “cage” of dead branches rising from the beach sand obviously wasn’t natural but had been placed there by people. When we got closer we could guess at the reason for the uprights: to mark the killdeer’s nest and keep walkers from accidentally treading on it, given how easily a passerby might take the eggs for just a few more stones out of the thousands on the beach.

Killdeer Eggs 8034

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 24, 2016 at 4:50 AM

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