Join Nathan Binnema, Secretary on our Board of Directors and longtime volunteer with the Edmonton Permaculture Guild, as he shares his practice of Phenological Engagement with this ongoing blog series.
Phenological Engagement is the practice of learning one’s local ecology through visiting the same site regularly throughout the year, getting to know who’s living there and the significant events of their lives in reference to both solar and lunar time. I’ve been engaged in the practice here in Edmonton for three years, beginning with a year of study in Blackfoot Phenology with Ryan Heavy Head, now Ryan First Diver. I’ve learned enough now to begin sharing some of the regular events I’ve noticed at my site, Forest Heights Park, for each lunar cycle
We are now entering the lunar cycle known as Pakkipistsi Otsitsi’tsspi, “When the Chokecherries Ripen,” in the Blackfoot lunar calendar. This is the fourth of five summer lunar cycles. Based on my past three summers of observation at Forest Heights Park, here’s some of what I expect to happen this lunar cycle:
Chokecherries, of course, are ripe throughout the lunar cycle and prolific in the river valley. High bush cranberries ripen early in the lunar cycle as well, and later on snowberries, wolf willow berries, and buckbrush berries. Mosquito and bee populations decline, and crickets cease to buzz.
Lady beetle larvae appear, and dogbane beetles mate; gnat swarms become a more common sight. Ravens return and some species of migratory warbler pass through. Leaves turn colour. Funnel webs become numerous in the grass, and orb webs in the gaps in the fence on the Dawson Bridge.
I have seen various piles of plant material collected by someone or other in previous years this lunar cycle, and hanging clusters of leaves that are created by some kind of insect, perhaps to hibernate in.