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Charlie W.

Insects from the NKU Herbarium.

Without plants, we would be dead

Dr. Maggie Whitson of the NKU Herbarium explains why it is key to preserve plant and animal life

July 25, 2019

Dr. Maggie Whitson, director of the herbarium at NKU, preserves plants and animals because it is key for humans to have plants and animals to use.

Whitson explained that it is key to pickle fish, reptiles, snakes and some fragile insects. Pickling is when a dead animal is put into alcohol. The plants are flattened and dried out, so you can see the plants and animals without harming them.

She also had a bunch of insects preserved from Costa Rica. They were huge, which was cool. There was one cricket that had orange wings, so in the wild, when a monkey grabs them, they jump and fly away; the monkey is focused on the orange wings of the cricket and the monkey will lose the cricket because it will land and immediately camouflage itself.

Whitson showed us the green house where tropical, desert and Kentucky plants are preserved. She explained that preserving the baby orange tree and other plants alive in the greenhouse is good.

Whitson showed us the rain gardens outside, which has local plants in a funnel-like surface, and it has all the rainwater from the roof fall down into it.

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