State Symbols in West Valley

by Pat Jaquith
pat@westvalleynaturalists.org

Over the years, the State has adopted plants, animals, stones, songs, and other artifacts as symbolic of Montana. Here are several that I have collected just because I found them interesting, beautiful, awesome, and wonderful. Only recently have I discovered that these have gained such stature. Scroll down to see if the images inspire a reaction in you!

Continue Reading →

Mid-Spring

by Pat Jaquith
pat@westvalleynaturalists.org

Dandelion with Sweat Bee, Ant, and another bee 5.07.17

Busy as a bee! The pace of changes becomes fairly frantic in May. Lawns are “greening up”, perennial plants are showing color giving insects something to come out for; birds are arriving now that there are insects they can feed to growing hatchlings; the soil has warmed up and dried out enough to be worked so farmers are out there early and late… read on for more pictures and notes about this cascade of events!

Continue Reading →

Butterfly Concerns

by Pat Jaquith
pat@westvalleynaturalists.org


Nymphalis antiopa (Mourning Cloak Butterfly), the Montana State Butterfly

The sight of a Mourning Cloak butterfly is a sure sign of spring to me! In late fall, they crawl behind loose bark on a tree where they increase the level of glycerol in their blood, convert excess water in their bodies into a gelatin-like substance that doesn’t freeze, and spend the winter. As spring warmth arrives, they reverse those properties and start flying sooner than many others! Many butterflies endure the winter as eggs, caterpillars, or in a chrysalis. A few, like Monarchs, migrate to warmer climates.

Continue Reading →

Bugs or Insects?

by Skip Via
skip@westvalleynaturalists.org

What’s the difference between a bug and an insect?

All bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs. Insects typically have a body segmented into three parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), a hard exoskeleton, six legs, and two antennae. Bees are insects. So are dragonflies, ants, butterflies, beetles, moths, and crickets among many others.

Continue Reading →