Outreach

Coyote Misconceptions

The recent coyote attack in Iredell county is unfortunate and sad. Someone lost a pet in a matter of seconds. Human fear and emotions are real and for good reason. The dog was likely attacked with no warning at all.

In situations like this, comments like, “What do we expect? We have built houses in their habitat” are not helpful. It also does no good to simply say, “If I see one, I am going to just shoot it!” or to argue whether or not you can actually shoot a coyote within city limits. These comments bring little comfort to the people who have seen coyotes in their neighborhoods and are frightened. What may actually help is understanding coyote behavior and knowing what the scientific literature says about this urban carnivore.

For the past 6 years, researchers at Mitchell Community College have surveyed areas around Statesville using motion-activated trail cameras. The following picture shows where coyotes have been observed (highlighted in yellow).

Figure 1. Statesville, NC coyote habitat. Diagram is based on data collected from Mitchell Community College Trail Camera Studies.

As you can see, if there is a green patch within city limits, these animals can be successful. Individual coyotes or pairs can typically have smaller home ranges in urban environments because resources (i.e. food) are greater. Below, we have attempted to provide answers to some coyote questions by compiling data from scientific articles. We have also used some of our own camera trap data from Statesville.

1) Have coyotes just recently learned to live with people? Nope.

In a recent news article, a N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission biologist was quoted as saying coyotes are “getting used to people.” This makes it sound like the co-existence between coyotes and humans is relatively recent. It’s not. Coyotes have never been solely wilderness creatures. For the 15,000 years since humans have inhabited North America, coyotes have been living alongside us (Flores 2016). Besides, we do not ever want coyotes to get used to us to the point where they feel comfortable.

2) Are coyotes “non-native” and “invasive”? It depends on how you define “non-native.” As far as invasive goes, not by a long shot.

It is probably accurate to say that coyotes are the most persecuted animal in North America, with 500,000 of them killed every year (Flores 2016). What makes them different than any other urban animal is that they are deemed a “problem” just because of their presence. By most accounts, coyotes are described as “non-native” and “invasive.” Those are two words that may not be suitable in this case.  In 2008, Iredell County Animal Services and Control sent out this publication. It states that at one point in the past, foxes were in so much demand for hunting that someone transported coyotes from Virginia into Iredell County to replace them. Hurricane Hugo, which came through the county in 1989, supposedly demolished the coyote pens, and they all escaped into the wild. Judging by how fast coyotes have spread into other counties throughout North Carolina, it is unclear whether this single event helped coyotes spread into the area faster than they normally would have. Even though coyotes may not have always inhabited North Carolina, red wolves once did. Since recent genetic research has shown that 80% of the red wolf genome is similar to coyotes, you could make an argument that coyotes (their genes, anyway) are native (VonHoldt 2011).

3) Are coyotes beneficial to urban ecosystems? Yes.

As is the case in Statesville, coyotes are the top predator in most urban ecosystems. Crooks and Soule (1999) showed that coyotes regulate a trophic cascade mechanism within fragmented landscapes. In the absence of coyotes, mesopredator (like raccoons or cats) populations increase. When mesopredators increase, songbirds tend to decrease, so you could make the argument that coyotes benefit native songbirds. Coyotes can also influence foxes, cats, raccoons, and skunks through direct competition. They may even influence behavior in domestic cats in urban environments (Kays et al. 2015). At our urban green patch sites, we did not catch any domestic cats. However, at our backyard sites over the same period of time, we had 22 independent captures of cats. So, maybe cats know where to go and where not to go. Through direct predation, coyotes do regulate rodent, rabbit, and in some areas, deer populations. For example, look at both Figures 2 and 3.  Coyote and rabbit activity overlap is higher in Statesville green spaces (Figure 2) than in backyards (Figure 3). You will also notice that rabbit activity peaks soon after midnight in backyards where coyotes are less dense (Figure 3). In Statesville green patches, rabbit activity peaks a little before 6 a.m. and right after 6 p.m. Are coyotes changing the behavior of rabbits in urban environments?

Figure 2. Coyote and rabbit activity overlap in urban green patches.

Figure 3. Coyote and rabbit activity overlap in urban backyards.

4) Do coyotes pose a danger to pets? Obviously, yes, but conflicts are rare.

Occasionally, coyotes do kill pets, but it is hardly a common occurrence. Contrary to popular belief, coyotes do not simply eat garbage and harass pets. It’s not the dumpsters or the small cats that attract coyotes to urban areas. Coyotes are top-level carnivores here in Statesville, and they are actively engaged as predators. Most conflicts with pets are because coyotes view small dogs and cats as competitors, not as food. In fact, this competitive response is similar to the response that coyotes show towards smaller foxes. Coyotes in urban ecosystems do not depend on pets as food (Gehrt 2007).  If they did, we would not have any pets left. In most studies, cats only make up 1-2% or less of the diet of urban coyotes (MacCracken 1982, McClure et al. 1995, and Bollin-Booth 2007). Our studies have shown that coyotes prefer cottontails in Statesville.

5) Are coyotes dangerous to humans in urban environments? Typically, not at all.

Coyotes have been documented attacking people. In 1981, a small child died from a coyote attack (Howell 1982). In 2009, White and Gehrt classified 142 U.S. and Canadian coyote attack reports. They categorized the attacks as follows:

Predatory- 37%

Investigative- 22%

Pet related- 6%

Defensive- 4%

Rabid- 7%

Like the recent attack in Statesville, most of the attacks occurred during pup-rearing season (May-July). “Problem” coyotes seem to be those that have become habituated to humans. Most urban coyotes avoid humans by shifting to more nocturnal activities. Our data certainly indicate this. Over 126 days, we collected 56 independent coyote captures on our cameras within city limits. Our data show that coyotes within city limits are, on average, 68% nocturnal. Four capture sites in one particular area showed that coyotes were 89% nocturnal.

Habituation could be the result of intentional or unintentional feeding of wildlife or avoiding them when they are seen. To successfully live with these predators, it is always best to yell and scream at them if you see them in your neighborhood. Make sure they stay wild, but also make sure they stay nervous.

6)  Are coyotes frequently reported as rabid wildlife species? Nope.

Rabies is a common fear among those of us that live in the city. The Center for Disease Control reports that raccoons account for most of the rabies outbreaks in the U.S., followed by bats, skunks, and foxes. Unlike raccoons, the coyote-strain rabies (except for a tiny population in South Texas) has not been an issue in the U.S (Clark and Wilson 1995). However, raccoon-strain rabies or raccoon rabies virus (RRV) can spillover into coyote populations. This has happened only occasionally (Wang 2010).

7) Can you ever get rid of all the coyotes? It doesn’t look like it.

If a pest-control company tells you they can take care of the “problem” and eliminate coyotes, they can’t (at least not permanently). Most predators are either solitary (mountain lions) or social (gray wolves), but not both. Coyotes, however, can be both. They can also catch a variety of prey, from small mice to deer. These are just some of the characteristics that allow them to live just about anywhere. Also, coyotes seem to be somewhat immune to exploitation. Knowlton et al. (1999) showed that unexploited coyote populations tend to have older age structure, high adult survival rates, and low reproductive rates. However, in highly exploited populations, coyotes are characterized by younger age structures, lower adult survival rates, and increased percentages of yearlings reproducing, and increased liter sizes. What can you do? Removal programs that target problem coyotes on an individually basis may be more cost-effective. It is important to remember how you define “problem”. Not all individual coyotes are problems just because of their presence.

 

References

Bollin-Booth, H. A. 2007. Diet analysis of the coyote (Canis Latrans) in metropolitanpark systems of northeast Ohio. Master’s thesis. Cleveland State University, Ohio.

Crooks, K. R., and M. E. Soule. 1999. Mesopredator release and avifaunal extinctions in a fragmented system. Nature, 400: 563-566.

Flores, D. 2016. Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History. Basic Books: New York, NY.

Gehrt, S. D. 2007. Biology of coyotes in urban landscapes. Pages 303-311 in D. L. Nolte, W.M. Arjo, and D. H. Stalman, eds. Proceedings of the 12th Wildlife Damage Management Conference. Corpus Christi, TX.

Howell, R. G. 1982. The urban coyote problem in Los Angelos County. Pages 21-23 in R. E. Marsh, ed Proceedings of the tenth Vertebrate Pest Conference. University of California, Davis.

Kays, R. et al. 2015. Cats are rare where coyotes roam. Journal of Mammalogy, 96: 981-987.

Knowlton, F. F., E. M. Gese, and M. M. Jaeger. 1999. Coyote depradation control: An interface between biology and management. Journal of Range Management, 52: 398-412.

MacCracken, J. G. 1982. Coyote foods in a Southern California suberb. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 10: 280-281.

McClure, M. F. et al. 1995. Diets of coyotes near the boundary of Saguaro national monument and Tucson, Arizona. Southwestern Naturalist, 40: 101-104.

VonHoldt, B. M. et al. 2011. A Genome-Wide Perspective on the Evolutionary History of Enigmatic Wolf-Like Canids. Genome Research, 8: 1294-1305.

Wang, X. et al. 2010. Aggression and Rabid Coyotes, Massachusetts, USA. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 16: 357-369.

White, L. A., & Gehrt, S. D. 2009. Coyote Attacks on Humans in the United States and Canada. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 14(6), 419–432. http://doi.org/10.1080/10871200903055326

 

Suggested Readings

Bekoff, M. 1977. Canis latrans. Mammal Species, 79:1-9.

Gehrt, S. D., Wilson, E. C., Brown, J. L., & Anchor, C. 2013. Population Ecology of Free-Roaming Cats and Interference Competition by Coyotes in Urban Parks. PLoS ONE, 8(9), e75718–11. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0075718

Gehrt, S. D., C. Anchor, and L. A. White. 2009. Home range and landscape use of coyotes in a major metropolitan landscape: Coexistence or conflict? Journal of Mammalogy, 90: 1045-1057.

Gehrt, S. D., & Prange, S. 2006. Interference competition between coyotes and raccoons: a test of the mesopredator release hypothesis. Behavioral Ecology, 18(1), 204–214. http://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arl075

Heinrich, R.E., Strait, S.G., and Houde, P. 2008. Earliest Eocene Miacidae (Mammalia: Carnivora) from northwestern Wyoming. Journal of Paleontology, 82: 154–162.

Kays, R., Curtis, A., and Kirchman, J. 2010. Rapid adaptive evolution of northeastern coyotes via hybridization with wolves. Biology Letters, 6:89-93.

Kilgo, J., Ray, S., Vukovich, M., Goode, M., and Ruth, C. 2012. Wildlife Management, 76:1420-1430.

Meachen, J., Janowicz, A., Avery, J., and Sandleir, R. 2014. Ecological Changes in Coyotes (Canis latrans) in Response to the Ice Age Megafaunal Extinctions. PLoS ONE 9(12): e116041. doi:10. 1371/journal.pone.0116041

Meachen, J. and Samuels, J. 2012. Evolution in coyotes (Canis latrans) megafaunal extinctions. PNAS, 109: 4194-4196.

Mech, L. D. 1974. Canis lupus. Mammal Species, 37:1-6.

Newsome, S. D., Garbe, H. M., Wilson, E. C., & Gehrt, S. D. 2015. Individual variation in anthropogenic resource use in an urban carnivore. Oecologia, 178(1), 115–128. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-014-3205-2

Tallian, A., Smith, D. W., Stahler, D. R., Metz, M. C., Wallen, R. L., Geremia, C., et al. 2017. Predator foraging response to a resurgent dangerous prey. Functional Ecology, 96, 1151–12. http://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.12866

 

Project Yellowstone: A Summer Enrichment Program

In 2002, an old boar grizzly meandered across the road. Not just any grizzly. A wild grizzly. Not just any place. Yellowstone National Park.

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Several years later, an idea hatched. Yellowstone could and should be used as an outdoor classroom for students. Students need a place where they can learn biological concepts by 1) seeing biology in action and 2) actually doing science. We need a place to learn experientially and where phones don’t work. Nature matters. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) offers countless opportunities for learning and exploring biology. This diverse ecosystem, located in the northwest corner of Wyoming, has everything to explore from unique geology to predator/prey dynamics.

After conversations with very intelligent people and generous financial support from the community, we were ready to offer a program to high school students. “Project Yellowstone” was created with a mission to make science relevant, allow students the opportunity to be scientists, and stimulate conservation through appreciation.

2009 group

Nine students from Statesville High School traveled in 2009 on full scholarships. The students completed inquiry-based research projects, observed large megafauna such as bears, wolves, and moose, and hiked many of the trails. They explored the vegetation, the physical formations of the land, and the geothermal features. In 2010, nine more high school scholarship students participated in this program. The leadership team during those first two years, which included Officer Chris Bowen (Statesville Police Department), Danny Collins (Statesville Middle School), and Dr. Nelson Cooper (East Carolina University), played a critical role in creating and establishing the structure of the program.

The program expanded in 2011 and 2012 to include students from Mitchell Community College in addition to the high school students. Adults from the community also participated during these years, which added an element of inter-generational learning. Men like Tracy Snider, Harry Efird, Earl Spencer, John Ervin, Dr. John Karriker, and the aforementioned Dr. Nelson Cooper stepped up to served as mentors to the students as they completed research projects in the park. Bill Day also came along in 2011 and has not missed a trip since. His vast knowledge and ability to spot wildlife is invaluable.

Mitchell Community College’s Continuing Education division started offering this program in 2014. The trip, which still includes students, is currently offered to any one in the community. Having participants of all ages (there’s that concept of inter-generational learning again) is vital to the success of this program.

Here are some of the great memories I have from the past seven years of this program, and also some reasons why YOU should register to go with us.

Terrace walks
Hiking and exploring the terraces with experts like Ranger Beth Taylor.

Vistas
Trout Lake, Grand Prismatic, the Lamar Valley, and the Beartooths are just some of the areas that will take your breath away. Look in any direction, and have your camera ready.

Wildlife
During our first full day in 2009, Darius spotted our first bighorn ram, Sam spotted our first black bear, and Paul found the first grizzly.

One evening as we were watching wolves near the Druid den site, Rick M. let Paul, Devin, and Craig use the telemetry equipment to confirm that the alpha female was at the den. After about an hour of watching, the wolves across the road started howling. Soon after, we could hear the pups from the den answer with howls of their own. Devin, wide-eyed from the experience, turned and commented, “This is what I have been waiting for!”

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Paul listening for signal

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Craig “swiping” the area

That was just the beginning. Here are some other wildlife highlights:

Being intercepted by a bull elk at Wraith Falls
Screenshot 2016-08-11 13.08.23
Mountain goats

Hiking up the Yellowstone Picnic Trail Ridge

Coyotes chasing Lamar pack yearlings

Seeing a badger and a fox on the same morning hike

Fox

Otter catching a trout (and maybe a human catching a trout with his bare hands)

Otter with trout

Seeing 2 grizzlies, 3 wolves (including 911M), and 2 bald eagles in the valley (listen closely for Jane’s “bear” joke)

911M, Junction Butte alpha male, crossing the road right in front of us and howling

Wolf 911M

Watching a grizzly at Blacktail Lakes

As great as Yellowstone is, it’s the people that form the foundation of this program.  Usually, we run into old friends like Mike and Melissa from NC. Over the years, we have also met new friends like wolf watchers Dave, Andy, and Missy. Then, there are friends who generously share their time and knowledge with us. Finally, all the enthusiastic participants that make this trip worthwhile. Here are some highlights:

Wolf stories with Rick
We have observed “famous” wolves like 302M, 06, 754M, and 755M. We have seen pups fumbling around. We have also seen wolves hunting. However, one of the most informative things we have done is listened to Rick fill in the blanks.

Hikes with Dan
Dan Hartman has been so generous over the years as he has let us peer into the life of a wildlife photographer and naturalist. We have searched Aspen groves, come across a napping black bear, almost stepped on a sandhill crane chick, and found three great-grey owl chicks with their mom. We have also observed a sneaky pine marten at his cabin.

Traveling around the park with Nathan
Nathan, a biologist and wildlife guide, is a walking encyclopedia of all things Yellowstone. He grew up in Gardiner, MT, so his familiarity with the history of the park makes his guiding services rich and dynamic. We have hiked up Mount Washburn with Nathan and discussed grizzly bear behavior and management. We have also toured the Lamar Valley with him and observed wolves, eagles, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, osprey, and bears.

Participants
Experiencing Yellowstone with participants has, and will continue to be, the best part of the program. Here are some group memories (some even made history).

Here’s the first time an iPad was used to teach an expert topic. Coop used it on the slopes of Mount Washburn in the snow. Congratulations, Dr. Cooper!

iPadTech
Danny and Jim teach the group about certain topics. This trip is special because we learn from each other.
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We’ve even had a fire chief teach about the lodgepole pine and fire ecology!

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We have had some pretty rowdy “How long can you leave your feet in cold water?” competitions.
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Come be a part of this program. You’ll observe nature, discuss important topics, learn lots of biology, make memories, and build relationships.

 

*For more information about this trip and learn how you can become involved, please visit Project Yellowstone. If you would like to support this program in the form of providing scholarships to students. please click here and designate “Project Yellowstone.”

The Amazing Race

On Friday, 5 September, students and faculty from Mitchell CC hosted on of the events for Davis Regional Hospital’s Amazing Race. Four-man teams competed in lots of different events throughout the afternoon. For the Mitchell event, participants traveled to four stations and had to identify various plants, skulls, and tracks. Thanks to all the students and faculty that made this possible.

MCCEE Mapping for the Future

With the help of the 2013-14 MCCEE Mapping for the Future Grant, NRCI continued to serve students by 1) making science relevant; 2) allowing students the chance to be scientists; and 3) stimulating conservation through appreciation. NRCI seeks to connect students to science and nature by providing projects and activities within three main areas: 1) Classroom, 2) Training, and 3) Enrichment. Within each of these areas, projects were specifically designed to correspond to Mitchell Community College’s strategic plan and its four focus areas of programming, partnerships, technology, and innovation. The following summary shows what NRCI accomplished during the 2013-14 year with the support from this grant.

Classroom
Thirty students from Biology 140- Environmental Biology (Fall 2013) and Biology 143- Field Biology (Spring 2014) participated in several original research projects. Equipment for these projects was purchased from grant funds. Student research groups wrote blog entries on the NRCI webpage (https://researchnature.wordpress.com/tag/2013-fall/). The final projects can be seen at https://researchnature.wordpress.com/classroom/researchproject/. Several projects from biology students were turned into scientific posters. These are displayed in MCC’s Grier Science Building.


In April 2014, as part of MCC’s STEAM Day, 32 Biology 111 students participated in a 6-hour Bioblitz. Their objective was to identify as many insects, birds, mammals, and plants as possible within the time frame. Shawn Cox, an arborist from the City of Statesville, and Ron and Garnet Underwood, two local bird experts, volunteered their time to help students with identification. The details from this year’s event can be found at https://researchnature.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/bioblitz-2014-32-students-6-hours-1-campus-block-110-species/. This event will be held annually and will try to detect any differences in biodiversity from year to year. It also gives students the opportunity to conduct and analyze original scientific research.

As a follow-up to the Bioblitz, biology students will be using a technique known as DNA barcoding to identify some of the insects to the species level. This will be done during the Fall 2014 semester. As part of a laboratory project, Mitchell students will work with Dr. Adam Reitzel and graduate student Haley Peters, both from UNCC, to isolate the DNA from insects around campus. The DNA will then be sent off for sequencing. Results will be then be analyzed using specific software.

Training
As part of a Biology 111 and 112 final project, twelve students participated in a service-learning project at the Boys and Girls Club of the Piedmont. They were given the responsibility to create nature-based activities for 5th graders during an after-school program. Before carrying out these activities, these Mitchell students had to be go through several training sessions. Material and books for these training sessions were purchased with grant funds.

Three MCC students, Makenna Gazaille, Madeline Hamiter, and Lauren Sadowski, had the opportunity to work in a research lab at UNCC during the summer 2014 where they performed research for Dr. Ron Clouse and the Department of Bioinformatics under the supervision of Dr. Adam Reitzel. These Mitchell students sequenced the genes of Pholcids (i.e. daddy long-legs) and isolated certain genes to look for common ancestors among species from Borneo. They also researched how various genes of the starlet sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, are related to its behavior. This opportunity came about through a partnership between biology departments at both institutions (MCC and UNCC). Future MCC students will have some of these same opportunities to work in research labs at UNCC.

Enrichment
During both the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters, 12 Biology 111/112 students led 5th grade students from the Boys and Girls Club of the Piedmont in various nature activities (see https://researchnature.wordpress.com/category/enrichment/). Over 30 Boys and Girls Club students were served by this project.

In partnership with the City of Statesville Recreation and Parks Department, 20 MCC Biology 112 students participated in Arbor Day in April 2014. The students set up various activities/games for kids and adults.

Although no grant funds were used, MCC Continuing Education Department offered an enrichment class for the community entitled, “Project Yellowstone.” 16 participants learned about biology in Yellowstone National Park. Read about the trip here http://mccprojectynp.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/12-18-june-2014/. Over the course of 5 summers, Project Yellowstone has taken 45 participants to Yellowstone National Park for a biology experience.

Thank you MCCEE for making all of this possible.

 

 

Bioblitz 2014: 32 students, 6 hours, 1 campus block, 110 species

Why a Bioblitz?
What is a Bioblitz? A bioblitz is an event where people go around looking for and finding all the different forms of life within an area. So what is the purpose of a bioblitz? There are many purposes to a bioblitz. First of all, a bioblitz serves the purpose to spark interest in biology. Sitting in a class can only provide you with so much information and understanding about life in an area. When you self-educate yourself you learn in a different way. It becomes more interesting to you. So by participating in a bioblitz you learn about nature and science.

Another purpose to a bioblitz is finding out what kind of life lives in and around a certain area. How many days go by where a person doesn’t even notice birds, insects or trees that they pass on a daily basis? The bioblitz helps one appreciate the life that is around you.
The last purpose of a bioblitz is to help the community. By participating in a bioblitz you help the community know what is in that area. By letting the community know what kind of life is in a certain area, the community can learn about the local ecosystem. For example, the community can help that certain area by planting more trees, not littering as much, etc. A bioblitz has many purposes, all of which benefit anyone who participates in it.

Results
With the help of two local birders and a city aborist, we identified 110 species on Mitchell’s campus in 6 hours. 22 species of bugs have yet to be identified. The DNA of some of those insects will be analyzed through a DNA barcode next semester for accurate identification.

Species Account
Birds- 22
European Starling
American Goldfinch
American Robin
Blue Jay
Mockingbird
Morning Dove
Northern Cardinal
White-Throated Sparrow
Brown Headed Cowbird
Cedar Waxwings
Brown Thrasher
Carolina Wren
Tufted Titmouse
Common Grackle
Eastern Towhee
American Crow
Turkey Vulture
Yellow Rump Warblers
Song Sparrow
Barn Swallow
Tree Swallow
House Finch

Mammals- 4
Gray squirrel
Eastern Chipmunk
Raccoon
Mole sp.

Bugs- 36 identified, 22 yet to be identified
Field Cricket- Gryllinae
Earthworm- Lumbricina
Termite- Reticulitermes flavipes
Grubs- Scarabaeidae
Garden Centipede- Lithobius forficatus
Earwig- Dermaptera
Slug- Ariolimax
Maggot- Chrysomya rufifacie
Giant Eastern Crane Fly- Tipula spp.
Metallic Beetle- Geotrupes spelendious
Red Ant- Hymenoptera
Pill Bug- Armadillidium vulgare
Camel Cricket- Rhaphidopharidae
Garden Slug- Arion distinctus
Greenhouse Millipede- Oxidus gracilis
Stink Bug- Phasmatodea
Comb Claw Spider- Archaearanea mundula
Lightning Bug- Photinus
Green Worm- Alloloeophora chlorotica
Bumble Bee- Bombus
Sugar Cane Grub- Tomarus subtropicus
Pot Worm- Enchytraeidae
Small Brownish Tan Spider- Artoriopsis expolita
Ladybug- Coccinellidae
House fly- Musca domestica
Moth- Heliptrope
Darkling Beetle- Eleodes sp.
Leaf Cutter Bee- Megachile spp.
Little Black Ant- Monomorium minimum
Carpenter bee- Xylocopa
Small Mosquito- Culicidae
Black Jumping Spider- Salticidae
Tan Grass Spider- Agelenopsis ssp.
Sweat Bee- Halictidae
Fire Ant- Solenopsis
Hornet- Vespa

Trees- 26
White pine
Southern magnolia
American dogwood
Bald cyprus
Eastern redbud
Crab apple
American elm
Willow oak
Cherry tree
American holly
Deodar cedar
Ginkgo
European hornbeam
Red maple
Leyland cypress
Crape myrtle
Green giant arborvitae
Loblolly pine
Virginia pine
Sugar maple
Eastern red cedar
American basswood
Scotch pine
Sycamore
White oak
Japanese or golden raintree

Why is Biodiversity Important?
What is biodiversity? Biodiversity is the variation of life. Within different groups of life, you need variations in that species to ensure that life continues to thrive. Take the various groups of trees for example. In just the oak tree alone, there are close to 50 different species. Each one of these species has adapted to a certain type of niche. One of the ways new life can thrive is cross pollination. Cross pollination with a tree that isn’t used to cold weather can help that tree to endure harsh winters. These variations are very important to life. One of the main reasons biodiversity is important is the fact that biodiversity helps speed up productivity within an ecosystem. Each different species has an important role to play within its own environment. Essentially it is just like a clock. Without all the right pieces, the clock is either not efficient or just does not work. You can’t try to take out one of the gears and expect the clock to continue working. Biodiversity is much like the clock. All the different species are vital to that environment. Each species has a job to do. Without the variation of life that is biodiversity, trees, animals, insects, and essentially everything that lives, would fail to do so.