Story and Photo by Alice Gerard
Senior Contributing Writer
The Grand Island Rotary Club invited naturalist and retired high school science teacher Diane Evans to guide club members on a hike through the park. The hike took club members from the V’randa to River Lea, where Evans showed the group such trees as horse chestnut, willow, honey locust, walnut, bitternut hickory and fireberry hawthorn.
The Rotary Club adopted a portion of the trail in Beaver Island State Park. State requirements for adopting the trail include monthly visits to the trail between April and November, a three-year commitment to that trail, and regular service, such as litter pickups, to the trail.
As the group continued to walk, Evans explained galls to the members. Galls look like growths and are usually found on branches. She said that, when an insect burrows inside of a tree branch, the tree reacts to the irritant by growing around the irritant. Evans said the larva stays beneath the surface and “it will pupate. When it’s ready, it will become an adult, and it will chew its way out. It leaves a perfectly round hole.”
Displaying a goldenrod gall, Evans said, “It gets hard and dry. I read that the insect inside can survive the winter.”
Woodpeckers go after the insects that are inside the galls, Evans said. “They know what’s in there, and they will peck to get it out.”
The hike continued from River Lea to the trail that leads to the East River Marsh. After arriving at the East River Marsh, the group walked on the Spaulding Trail back to the main entrance of the park, and then concluded the park by returning to the V’randa parking lot.