I have three more now, of which this is one, but do send in your photos (two max, please) and commentary.
Today’s reader is Gregory Zolnerowich, who has some interesting commentary (indented):
I’m responding your appeal for photos of readers, as I’ve enjoyed seeing other people and their photos. Karl Kramer, a retired USDA scientist you featured some weeks ago, lives right down the street from me.
I’ve been reading WEIT for several years, it’s part of my morning routine each day. To borrow from a well-known phrase, “Mornings are for coffee and WEIT.” I enjoy the fascinating tidbits of biology, science commentaries, cool photos, and as a food junkie, always enjoy the photos of your meals when you travel.
I’m an entomologist at Kansas State University, specializing in insect systematics. My love is the parasitic Hymenoptera in the superfamily Chalcidoidea, particularly the family Encyrtidae. They are the Lamborghinis of the wasp world, with some bizarre morphologies and fascinating biologies. [JAC: Go here to see some photos.] I really enjoy teaching and try to infect my students with my curiosity and enthusiasm, but fear the campus will shut down again and everything will be remote/online.
I enjoy all things outdoors, from kayaking to fishing to hiking. One of my COVID-19 activities was to kayak and camp the entire 173-mile length of the Kansas River, which took 9 days and 8 nights in July. It was an excellent group of people from Friends of the Kaw (www.kansasriver.org) along on the excursion, and we saw an abundance of wildlife like bald eagles, beavers, owls, deer, and, of course, insects. I did have to take advantage of some teachable moments to expound on tiger beetle larvae, dobsonfly egg masses, and stag beetles. The first photo was taken on the last morning of our trip, so I had not shaved in 9 days.
I also lead a burn crew that conducts controlled burns at the Konza Prairie Biological Station (kpbs.konza.k-state.edu). This is an NSF Long-Term Ecological Research site, with a long history of studying the interactions of fire, grazing, and climate. Fire is a management tool that is necessary to preserve the tallgrass prairie. I learn something new every time I’m out, and it’s just fun to coordinate and conduct a controlled burn. It’s also an opportunity to see some cool wildlife and some pretty impressive fires. The second photo is at the end of a burn when all the cameras come out.