Finding Treasure

Today’s post was inspired by a compendium of one of my favorite cartoon strips – Calvin and Hobbes. It’s called “There’s Treasure Everywhere” and this wonderful pair is truly great at find treasure in the most unlikely places! So, bring out your inner Calvin (or maybe Hobbes), and search for the hidden treasure in the places you visit every day. Here are some I’ve found this summer to get you thinking about the possibilities.

Ophyridium versatile, Clyde River, West Charleston VT. Photo: A. Shambaugh

Just when you think you know it all, something surprises you. This ‘classic’ cyanobacteria colony turned out to be something completely different – a colonial protozoan called Ophyridium versatile. It has green alga symbionts, hence the green coloring.  Read more about them here. After finding thousands of colonies in an old oxbow of the Clyde River in West Charleston, VT in mid-August, I found several dozen more on Berlin Pond the following week. Guess I had a new search image.   

Freshwater sponge in Berlin Pond VT. Photo: Angela Shambaugh

Another treasure on Berlin Pond that popped out during my last visit was freshwater sponges. You can see a large green colony here, rising like coral out of the Chara bed. Sponges can be found in many Vermont lakes and ponds, though they are not always so colorful or tall. Check out this article in this issue of  ‘Out of the Blue’, formerly published by the VT DEC, to learn more about them.

This giant pine graces the bank of the Clyde River in West Charleston. It’s not until the soil has gone that we can see just how far and wide tree roots spread. Even with much of the soil washed away, this tree is still holding the river bank together. Trees on and close to lake shores and river banks are protecting shores for now and for the future. Treasure them!

Ok, this one is not connected to water but I couldn’t resist. This summer, I have seen more monarch butterflies and monarch caterpillars than I have in the last several years.  It’s been hard to think about actually living through the extinction of these butterflies during my lifetime – not rhinos, not elephants but a butterfly in my backyard that was once so common that I took them for granted. Though this year’s bounty of butterflies is likely due to many different factors, I like to think that maybe people planting and encouraging milkweed is part of the story. It’s about treasuring habitat, folks!

Sunset on Old Mission Pennisula MI. Photo: A. Shambaugh

Every day brings a new sunset, new colors, new treasures, and time to reflect on just how lucky we are to be able to enjoy these lovely places. Hoping you find many treasures in these last days of summer!