Stewart Wechsler

Joined: Nov 12, 2017 Last Active: Jun 13, 2021 iNaturalist

For my first 16 years my focus was to see as many species as I could, getting more points if a species I saw was closer to extinction (ie "rarer"). For my last 23 years my focus has been to do the most I could to help with the protection and recovery of populations of the species in my local community that had declined since contact with the blindly destructive, commercially driven culture imported here by the Europeans, getting more points, the more I helped with protection, and regrowth, of populations of species that had declined the most.

Towards that end I have been studying the identification, habitats, and stories, of the species that form my local lower Georgia-Puget Trough natural community. To help those species that were the least common, or had declined the most, I've been pulling weeds away from them, allowing them to potentially move into the land vacated by the weeding around them, if the soil disturbance wasn't too great for them. I have also sometimes moved in small amounts of seed, or a few plants, of local, wild gene stock, of species that I estimated were adapted to a spot, but were missing from that spot, and also pulling weeds away from them, to facilitate their spread, if my estimate was correct, and they were really adapted to that spot. I have since collected more points the more I have helped more species that had declined, or had once disappeared from my area. This has included the more I helped more plant species, that would in turn help the recovery of other co-adapted species, of all kingdoms, such as the butterflies that feed on them, or the parasitic plants that parasitize them.

Also towards that end I have been teaching those around me what I have learned about the identification, habitats, and stories of the species in my local community, in hopes that they might also apply that knowledge to the protection, and regrowth of the natural wealth and beauty of our local natural community. I have been doing this both with the people around me in the physical world, and in cyberspace, especially here on iNaturalist.

My greatest success story, a dense colony of innumerable Short-styled Thistles - Cirsium brevistylum, a caterpillar food plant for 2 local butterfly species, and nectar plant for more species, once lost from Seattle, now growing here again ,and spreading, starting with 3 seeds I got from the foothills of the Olympic Mts in about 2006, that I moved into West Seattle's Lincoln Park, with weeding around them, and control of the Artichoke Plum Moths in them, ever since: Working this patch has also been great for educating the passers by that I engage with!

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