Outside Looking In

As learned by Doreen

  • Outside Looking In

    Not All Cattle Are Cows

    Doreen Maurer ZANESVILLE, Ohio- I have had a little trouble writing this blog. I was not sure how to share this information without sounding totally clueless. However, when you have a revelation, no matter how small, it needs to be shared. I have always thought that all cattle were cows. There I said it. Now let me explain. I started this research, because I wanted to learn about the different breeds of cattle, which are best for certain purposes, like beef and dairy. However, what I discovered took this blog a whole different direction. The correct term is cattle, and cattle are in the family Bovidae. Male and female cattle…

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    The Praying Mantis: Creepy or Fascinating

    Doreen Maurer ZANESVILLE, Ohio- Do not judge me, but if I were writing a description of the Praying Mantis, it would go like this – a creepy, alien looking bug that needs to say its prayers. However, now that I am a member of the Soil and Water family, this description will not fly. I had to learn more about this fascinating, but creepy looking insect. What I found is the Praying Mantis belongs to the Manidae family, and there are over 2400 species. The word “mantis” originates from the Greek word Mantikos which means prophet. This name was given because of the way the Praying Mantis holds its front…

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    Bagworm – A Creepy Little Insect

    Doreen Maurer ZANESVILLE, Ohio- This is just a bit of information that you may find helpful.  This past fall someone brought this strange looking thing in a baggie to the office and wanted it identified.  It looked to me like something that could be a part of a pine tree.  It was pinecone shaped and was covered in what looked like pine needles and twigs, and then, it moved.   Suddenly, what was fascinating became creepy.  And this is how I was introduced to the bagworm.  This was another first for me, I have never seen nor heard of a bagworm. So, to the computer I went to read about it. …

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    Plastic – A Blessing and A Curse

    Doreen Maurer ZANESVILLE, Ohio-Plastic is a very useful product.  It is used to make computers, cell phones, and many more products that make life easier.  However, single-use plastic is suffocating some of our natural resources.  The ocean is full of discarded single-use plastic products such as forks, spoons, plastic bags, and my newfound concern, “the plastic straw”.   The earliest use of the straw has been dated back to 3000 B.C. as it was used by the Sumerians of Mesopotamia.  The straws were used to drink beer from large vats, which were too heavy to lift and pass around, so the drinkers would sit on the floor and drink through these…

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    Stormwater Runoff

    Doreen Maurer ZANESVILLE, Ohio- As I sit at my desk this morning watching the rain come down, hit the pavement and run off into the storm drain, my first thoughts are not of the misery a rainy day can bring, but about how many pollutants are running off into our waterways.   Did you know that 97.5% of the earth’s water is salt water and 2.5% is fresh water?  That does not sound like enough fresh water to me; does it to you?  How did I discover the above interesting facts?  Well, let me tell you. . . The term “stormwater” has recently been added to my conservation vocabulary.  The earth’s…

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    Soil: It is Not Just Dirt

    Doreen Maurer ZANESVILLE, Ohio- Gardening has always been something I wanted to be successful doing, and I have tried.  In fact, several times with little to no success.  I would either have an overgrowth of plants with little production or no growth at all.  I have tried starting my plants inside, (this is another tale that I hope to share later), but right now, I am going to share my eye opening, newly-obtained knowledge regarding soil.  As shared in my last article, I lived in a world where dirt and soil were the same.  I believe my gardening fails have been due to a lack of knowledge regarding soil health. …

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    Backyard Habitat for Birds

    Doreen Maurer ZANESVILLE, Ohio- What is a backyard habitat?  Most backyards already have what it takes to encourage some wildlife to visit, but little additions can bring specific wildlife to your backyard.  Let’s say birds are what is needed to bring your backyard to life.  What could be done to make this happen? All living things need food to survive.  When creating a sustainable backyard habitat for birds, the food source is a major decision maker.  No food, no life.  Staying close to what nature provides is the best choice when establishing a food source.  Bird feeders are a fun and easy way to provide food for birds and allow…

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    A Few Thoughts from the Newbie

    Doreen Maurer ZANESVILLE, Ohio- I am fairly new here at Muskingum Soil and Water Conservation District (MSWCD) and have learned a lot about how important the work done on Underwood Street is for our community.  I was hired as an administrative assistance, but in a short time, I have developed a great love for conservation and its importance.    I started with no agricultural background.  I quickly learned that there is a huge difference between soil and dirt.  I shared with my new-found friends at MSWCD that I didn’t like to touch dirt; it was never on the top of my list of what I would like to get my…