Day 2: Taxonomy
Taxonomy is the naming of organisms, and systematics is studying how they are related evolutionarily. Of all the groups of organisms, perhaps insect groups are the best for a naturalist to learn early, because insects are so diverse and because knowing the orders is a huge step towards understanding insects. The difference between a roach, a bug, and a fly among insects is at the same taxonomic level as the difference between a gull and a robin in birds, or between carnivores and monkeys in mammals. We’ll take advantage of a portion of materials from an entomology course at the University of Illinois that gives a brief overview of the main orders of insects.
Focus on names and groups today. Perhaps learn an order or family that the organisms you find fall into. Wildflower guides generally give families, for instance, and knowing these can help you identify other members of those families.