Saturday 10/17/2015, I sat down to write the Mayor of Ypsilanti, Amanda Edmonds, about my walks around Ypsilanti that rendered the vision of a hill for sledding in the park. Wouldn’t it be grand, the whole place would transform into a winter wonderland. I requested a hill. Perhaps, I thought a cocoa stand and ice skating alongside the hill in Riverside Park. Children would go in search of those coveted saucer sleds and Eastern Michigan University would borrow trays from the cafeteria. Wouldn’t it be grand?
A few years ago, I was riding the local bus and noticed all the trees were spotted. First one, then two, then most of the trees were all spotty and I heard acid rain was falling on Washtenaw County. It was traumatizing, I thought all the local trees were diseased. It’s been two years now and the leaves have come and gone and are going again in a fall blaze. I don’t know if whatever plagued the cities trees at the time-insects or acid rain or disease has been attended to? One man told me that trees can even fall down when they become ill, even on top of a house. It is as if science could produce “Tree Doctors” that regularly cater to trees diverse problems.
It also occurred to me that “I can no longer sit on the grass.” I was helping a friend with some landscaping and I left with so many scars on my arms and saw within the grass what looked like a blanket of insects. I wondered if the scars would endure or if Vitamin E or a skin graph would be needed to remove the marks on my arms. A year later the scars have faded and gone with regular treatments using Vitamin E, Calamine lotion and Cortisone Creams. I was unable to identify the culprits or predators. It may be dangerous to sit on the grass without covering. Perhaps now years down the road of a booming study in Evolutionary Biology we are left with many, many species of insects which are difficult to identify. I wonder if we need to exterminate the city? A technological method could be employed to control numbers or large populations and make land safe. What is the impact of insects on a city or architecture? Every time I find insects inside of my house I wonder how they arrived? If through a hole in the structure or waiting by the front door. Are they breeding? Do they have a nest? What if we were to make a website for the entire city or even world to input data about what insects they find on their land and in their house and evidence about their arrival. There are Harvard Scientists associated to the rise in insect populations that design, birth and breed large populations of insects such as E.O. Wilson. I was always a long time fan of eco-systems and nature but it did concern me one day I was in the country side that insects were far more plentiful than I realized. I even heard that you cannot leave land empty or vacant that insects will take territory and multiply. I saw even today, my neighbor with a broom stick hitting a nest of insects off the side of his house. The other day I opened the door to my house and four flies flew in. It was strange I wondered if they were chipped or programmed, I saw two flies flying together in unison.
If you want to find out about what is included in Michigan’s tree population, check the Herbarium’s website at the University of Michigan for books for sale. http://herbarium.lsa.umich.edu/herb/publications/default.asp
Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu