Friday, August 15, 2008
The 100 Species Challenge
In recent years, I've spent far too much time feeling green-starved and yard-and-garden-hungry here in the post-industrial town that time forgot. Being called to urban ministry is a challenge as well as a blessing, and one of the challenges for me has definitely been green-hunger, especially since we're yardless.
One thing I've done to nourish my sanity and surrender to some more contentment is to begin to notice the created beauty that's around us, even in a small decaying city in the rust belt. I've been better at finding "pockets" of beauty, noticing things (with my eyes, my camera, sometimes my pen) growing between the cracks, sometimes quite literally. The sweet girl and I have taken a lot of nature walks, and I've tried to learn a bit about the plants and trees in our neighborhood.
So when I saw The 100 Species Challenge, I was intrigued, delighted (and yes, a little intimidated). My thanks to Melissa Wiley for posting this on her blog, where I originally saw it.
And what a great idea this is, to identify species within walking distance of where you live! Although I suspect my list will grow slowly, I'd like to give this a try -- if for no other reason than I'd love to continue to notice (and begin to name) more of the plants and trees around me. Like I said, it helps to measurably build my gratitude and contentment. Not to mention it helps me to be a better observer, and teach the sweet girl to be one too.
So here goes. The 100 species challenge! If you think you might like to participate too, see the link above. In accordance with the guidelines set out by the originator of the challenge, I'm also posting the rules here:
The 100-Species Challenge
1. Participants should include a copy of these rules and a link to this entry in their initial blog post about the challenge. I will make a sidebar list of anyone who notifies me that they are participating in the Challenge.
2. Participants should keep a list of all plant species they can name, either by common or scientific name, that are living within walking distance of the participant's home. The list should be numbered, and should appear in every blog entry about the challenge, or in a sidebar.
3. Participants are encouraged to give detailed information about the plants they can name in the first post in which that plant appears. My format will be as follows: the numbered list, with plants making their first appearance on the list in bold; each plant making its first appearance will then have a photograph taken by me, where possible, a list of information I already knew about the plant, and a list of information I learned subsequent to starting this challenge, and a list of information I'd like to know. (See below for an example.) This format is not obligatory, however, and participants can adapt this portion of the challenge to their needs and desires.
4. Participants are encouraged to make it possible for visitors to their blog to find easily all 100-Species-Challenge blog posts. This can be done either by tagging these posts, by ending every post on the challenge with a link to your previous post on the challenge, or by some method which surpasses my technological ability and creativity.
5. Participants may post pictures of plants they are unable to identify, or are unable to identify with precision. They should not include these plants in the numbered list until they are able to identify it with relative precision. Each participant shall determine the level of precision that is acceptable to her; however, being able to distinguish between plants that have different common names should be a bare minimum.
6. Different varieties of the same species shall not count as different entries (e.g., Celebrity Tomato and Roma Tomato should not be separate entries); however, different species which share a common name be separate if the participant is able to distinguish between them (e.g., camillia japonica and camillia sassanqua if the participant can distinguish the two--"camillia" if not).
7. Participants may take as long as they like to complete the challenge. You can make it as quick or as detailed a project as you like. I'm planning to blog a minimum of two plants per week, complete with pictures and descriptions as below, which could take me up to a year. But you can do it in whatever level of detail you like.
And that's it! Stay tuned...I'll let you know how it's going. All my posts related to this will be tagged appropriately.