Bonus Page: May 2023

Even though I graduated college, I still want to share a nature picture! There's a bit of a story I want to tell with this one.

A few weeks before I took this picture, I was going down a Wikipedia rabbit hole on the coastal pine barrens ecosystem. This ecosystem is now tough to find because of development all along the eastern seaboard of the United States. However, there are still a few places where it can be found, including in Plymouth and on Cape Cod. I remember driving through the Cape thinking that the forests down there were strikingly different than even those in my hometown of Duxbury; on the Cape, they're almost entirely made up of short pines and sandy soil.

Well, on Memorial Day weekend, I visited my friend Hannah at Union College in Schenectady, NY. We had a lot of fun! On the way back, I wanted to stop somewhere new and get a hike in, and one of the first places I saw on Google Maps was the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. I thought that sounded oddly similar to some of the stuff I had learned about on Wikipedia recently, so I wanted to give it a shot.

It turns out that the Albany Pine Bush Preserve is the "best" example of the inland pine barrens ecosystem left in the world. I interpret "best" as meaning some optimal combination of size and accessibility, and it is additionally described as one of the largest such ecosystems in existence.

Here's what it looks like: