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When so much land has already been explored, the field of insects remains largely behind the scenes.  Insects inhabit every ecosystem on the planet.  Moreover, we can find them in our back yards, in the green space between streets and sidewalks, in local parks, on the edges of nearby lakes, and definitely in our national parks.  Because of this, they can play a very large part in personal nature journaling!

As someone who does not sketch very well, I find joy in sketching insects because bodies look like lots of shapes melded together.  Additionally, I find them less intimidating to sketch due to the compartmentalization of the head, thorax, abdomen, and even their legs or antennae.

Also, insects have life cycles that show very dramatic changes.  Many metamorphose into drastically different looking creatures.  In each phase, the insects requires different circumstances in order to thrive.  In some cases, you may recognize the insect in its adult form, but not in a previous life phase.  For example, we often focus on the butterfly without knowing how it looks as a caterpillar.

Insects can also provide clues to the health of ecosystems.  First, some can only live in areas with very little pollution.  Therefore, if you see a healthy population of pollution-intolerant insects, then you have a relatively clean habitat.  Second, others can show climatic changes when their populations explode due to changing conditions such as warmer winters.  For example, the mountain pine beetle populations have multiplied exponentially due to a lack of continuous hard freeze cycles that killed off a large portion of their larvae.