The deep rattle sound that ripples beneath the chirping of a thousand crickets on a late summer night had forever been a mystery to me. But Charlie sent me to a website that was a nature lover’s (or in my case, nature novice’s) best friend:
It teaches you everything (and more) that you might ever want to know about bug sounds, and allows you to slip cool words like crepitation (the “snapping of insect wings to produce a clicking or popping sound”) and stridulation (the rubbing together of wings to make a chirping sound) into your conversation.
From that site I learned that my mystery sound was made by the common true katydid (pictured here).
But if you want more than the sights and sounds that this website can provide, and are interested in becoming a part of an emerging state-wide network of Maryland amateur and professional naturalists, consider signing up for the Fall 2010 Maryland Naturalist Workshop sponsored by the Maryland Naturalist Center. It begins August 21.
As Charlie, who runs the workshop with his wife, Linda, tells us: “The intent of the Naturalist Workshop is to:
1) support individuals as they master routine naturalist skills;
2) establish a groundwork for accumulating knowledge about local plants and animals;
3) cultivate awareness;
4) provide a social forum to enhance learning;
5) provide access to natural science collections and resources to enhance learning;
6) build relationships between people and places; and
7) facilitate a widespread naturalist community in Maryland.”
This is part of Charlie’s dream to have a network of well-trained naturalists reaching into every neighborhood across the state, so that every fourth grader, young parent, curious new homeowner or local octogenarian is not more than a few houses away from someone who can help them understand the natural world right outside their homes just a little bit better. It is an irresistible idea.