A Close up to Nature: Stewardship of the natural environment

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Over the past few weeks I’ve visited multiple parks and nature reserves, just to again realize the beauty of nature and how it should be a part of our everyday life. We normally rush through everything with our minds set on our daily tasks and responsibilities, but when I went to these nature reserves there was no sense of time, I became lost in the sounds and smells of the creation. This blog post aims to discuss my experiences and various observations on these excursions.

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The first observation I want to point out is the many invasive plant species in these reserves which were brought from foreign countries with the colonization of South Africa. These invasive species threaten the indigenous plants as it takes up growing space and uses the majority of natural resources, luckily, there are groups of people helping the reserves to remove these invasive plant species.

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The second observation I want to mention is how water, a crucial part of the ecosystem, is polluted by empty water bottles. Ironically, in a time of drought a lot of people bought bottled water just to pollute our water sources with it. In contrast to water giving life, these littered water bottles can cause the death of animals swallowing the plastic.

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The last and most dominant observation was the magnificence of the textures distinctive of each plant, almost like a fingerprint. Each plant also has its purpose in the ecosystem, for example moss creates a shield, trapping in moisture and assisting the soil not to dry out. Moss only grows in moist locations, not absorbing the water from the ground but from the air.

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The following image shows galls growing on a leaf;  galls are abnormal round fuzzy growths on leafs, plant stems or trunks caused by bacteria, fungi or insects. Galls are generally not harmful to the plants but if it grows on the stem it can be life threatening (Lerner 2005).

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Insects and animals also has their part in the ecosystem;  bees play a major role as they transfer pollen from one plant’s flower to another. Without the pollination of the flowers on a fruit-bearing tree, there will be no fruit to harvest.

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The following photograph was taken with the intention to capture the beauty of the flower but it also captured a strange-looking insect. At first I thought it is a part of the flower but then I realized the thing has legs and antennae. Unfortunately, I am still not sure what insect it is.

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The beauty in nature is sometimes seen but rarely looked at and appreciated in depth, in close up.

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This blog post aimed to discuss my experiences and various observations on excursions to various nature reserves and parks. It also aimed to motivate the reader to go out into the world and not only see nature but to look at it, to see its beauty.

Go on an adventure!

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Sources

Lerner, R. 2005. Plant galls not always harmful. [O]. Available:                     https://hort.purdue.edu/ext/plantgalls.html
Accessed 27/04/2016.

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