“One of the downsides (or is it an upside?) of dragonfly monitoring is you begin to care—deeply—about things you may not have thought about before. A wetland is converted to a shopping center. The new parking lot that makes it easier to shop comes with a price in nature. Instead of celebrating a new coffee place, you wonder which dragonflies—and what associated plants and insects and members of the aquatic community—have vanished to make way for it. You see a meandering creek turn into a tightly channeled stream and you think of the effects on the underlying substrate, the bottom of the waterway.” —Cindy Crosby, Chasing Dragonflies
“Though people in the Kunene Region had often told Owen-Smith that they saw no value in wildlife, it turned out that they saw many values. Like Aldo Leopold, they believed that it was possible to appreciate a species for its own sake and make intelligent use of it, too.”
—Michelle Nijhuis, Beloved Beasts
Chasing Dragonflies: A Natural, Cultural, and Personal History by Cindy Crosby, is an engaging, beautifully illustrated introduction to these remarkable insects. As warm as it is informative, this book will interest gardeners, readers of literary nonfiction, and those intrigued by transformation, whether in nature or our personal lives. (Original watercolors by Peggy Macnamara)
*Coachella Valley Preserve, Southern California
“After learning about the dragonfly’s life cycle, I found that I never look at a pond or a stream or a river—or even a puddle—in the same way. Dragonfly populations of various species are directly linked to how a stream flows, or to the substrate in the bottom of a pond, or to the disturbance of a watershed. Drill a well? Your dragonfly populations may change. Channel a stream? Ditto. When water quality and availability change, our dragonfly populations and species compositions may change as well. Sure—dragonflies as an order of insects are tough. They are long-term survivors. But development, pollution, and climate change may have an impact on them over time.” —Cindy Crosby
I’ve been following Cindy’s blog, Tuesdays in the Tallgrass: Exploring exterior and interior landscapes through the tallgrass prairie, for a year or more. Each week she posts photos, quotes, and reflections from her prairie walks in northeastern Illinois that renew our spirits through her thoughtful meditations.