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It is not really news that Monarch butterflies are in trouble. Their numbers have been dropping steadily for the last twenty or more years. Last week, (August 2022) the International Union for the Conservation of Nature put the Monarch on their red list of species that are endangered. This holds no legal protections or incentives to help the Monarch, but it shows that scientists are justifiably worried.
A few years ago, a friend texted me a photo like the one below, asking me if they should pull out this plant—was it a weed?—as it was growing throughout their garden beds.
I usually define a weed as plant growing in a place where humans don’t want it.*
This Winter, we’ll be embracing the chilly weather by learning about the amazing adaptations of Arctic animals, the (sadly diminishing) grandness of glaciers – and about those fascinating and fleeting phenomena of the season – snowflakes. I can be conflicted about the winter cold, but never about the wonder of noticing small things!
That we know as much as we do about snowflakes/snow crystals – their structure, variation, uniqueness – we owe to a remarkable fellow who was a...