One of my assignments for class this week was to take a quiz on bioregions, and how well we knew our own. I was fairly confident I could answer most of the questions in it accurately. To my surprise, I didn’t. I only got about half of them correct. Ater a little bit of research, I learned a some interesting facts. I thought I should share a few of them.
Did you know that shrews are both nocturnal and diurnal? For some reason I previously thought they were only awake at night. I couldn’t think of any other nocturnal animals at the time, but since then I remembered foxes and bats. Also, I’m not very aware of Alaskan birds, but we have quite a few. Check these out! I’m going to have to start paying more attention.
So like I said, I did get know about half the answers. Apparently I know my water, probably a good thing since I like to grow things. Anchorage averages 16 inches of precipitation a year. We are considered to be a semi-arid region. You wouldn’t think it from spending time here in September though. What’s amazing is, Girdwood averages around 40 inches and they are less than an hour away. It’s a good thing we have the Eklutna Lake (and glacier) for our water supply, because we would be one dry city without it.
I noticed a trend in the information I knew. The questions I knew the answers to were the ones which would directly affect my ability to grow or forage for food. This shouldn’t come as a great surprise to anyone who knows me. I love good food! And food to me is even better if it’s homegrown or wild. But my answers got me thinking about how little many of us know about our immediate natural ecosystems and the history of them.
Before the days of modern technology and large scale agriculture, we were intimately entwined with nature. Paying attention to the patterns and systems was a matter of life or death. In society today it’s not nearly as important. We can go to the grocery store rather than growing our own vegetables or hunting (or raising) animals. We have reliable shelter and heat. The expanse between us and nature has led to an loss of awareness of our bioregions.
This quiz has inspired me to observe my bioregion a little more closely.
One of my classmates made up a chart for her observations. You can check it out here. So tell me, how well do you know your bioregion? And if you don’t know it well, what do you want to learn about it?