When I was first told that I would have to go central park and help document the various forms of wildlife and plant life in the park, I was a bit overwhelmed. After all, Central Park is massive and I imagined it must have been full of all sorts of plants, animals, and insects. However, I knew that if I was working with my fellow Macaulay students, a seemingly daunting task would be possible.
After I had arrived, caught up with some familiar faces, and met some new ones, I was put into the insect taxonomy group. I was told to catch as many insect species as possible for data analysis by the Central Park Conservancy. Using an aspirator I looked underneath tree bark for ants and termites and then sucked them up. I used a net to try and catch any flying insects. Most of the flying insects I found were dragonflies of varying colors and size and some wasps. Later on, my group separated insects from compost and sucked them up with an aspirator. We managed to find a good amount of spiders and ants. Ethanol was used to preserve the captured species.
Although the weather that day could have been a bit more favorable, it was a fun experience nonetheless. While searching for insects my group wandered around the lakes, a river, and a mini forest of sorts. Although I’ve lived in New York City my entire life and I’ve been to Central Park plenty of times, there were still areas I saw that I hadn’t visited for a while or were even completely new to me. It was an event that helped strengthen my teamwork skills and the experienced biologists and park rangers we worked with help further the events success.