I absolutely loved being in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. In the midst of graduate school, work, and general life chaos, I always looked forward to the days I was able to escape to such a peaceful, spectacular place. It was rejuvenating.
Parsnip Lakes, August: As I neared the water, I could hear a constant hum of wings. It was really loud! There were hundreds of striped meadowhawks, most of which were mating and laying eggs. I was grateful they had this series of lakes where they were able to complete this important part of their life cycle. I was privy to the whole spectacle - hundreds of striped meadowhawks and me, one thrilled nerdy researcher spectator. :)
September. I keyed out a Black-tipped darner, which according to the range maps in my field guides was not anywhere near the monument. I was convinced I missed something and misidentified it. I took pictures of it and let it go. I talked to Norm, a local dragonfly enthusiast, and sent him pictures of the creature. We confirmed the identification through Odonata Central. Norm and I were able to go back to Parsnip Lake in September to find even more Black-tipped darners. It was amazing to spend time on my own exploring the monument, but it was even more rewarding to have experiences with others that shared my passion. Norm taught me so much throughout the summer and it was exciting to share new discoveries together.
One of the biggest challenges of my research was catching a specific type of dragonfly - darners. Darners are a group of dragonflies that are generally fast and high-flying. There were many exclamations of "Darn Darners!" as my net whizzed through the air right where the darner had been. It was a fun challenge that was very satisfying whenever I was able to catch them.
The variety of species of dragonflies and damselflies is the best demonstration of biodiversity I can provide based on my experiences and research.
SOU Environmental Education
Dragonflies and Damselflies of CSNM
Hope Braithwaite, Graduate Student, SOU Environmental Education
My main objective in conducting this research is to quantify dragonfly and damselfly species distribution and abundance within and among a diversity of aquatic habitats in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. (Michael Parker, SOU Professor of Biology)
This project was funded by Friends Research Fund 2017 grant and featured at the Monument Research Symposium 2018.
Photo Gallery Images courtesy of Hope Braithwaite.