All posts by Karen O. Zimmermann

Karen O. Zimmermann

About Karen O. Zimmermann

Karen O. Zimmermann savors chance encounters with people throughout the state of Maine, and is endlessly delighted with the tales they have to share.

Foraging for maitake mushrooms–the time is now.

a seventeen pound plus maitake

Maitake season is upon us. I was mourning that we had not gotten any this year, and that my supply was getting rather slim, and that it was pretty late, and whine after whine. Then, a burst of rain, and they were popping up all over. Now I have to scramble to freeze or cook […]

The learning will never stop–naturalists graduate

Behaviour can help indicate species. These curious creatures are naturalists

The last installment of my progress as a Maine Master Naturalist, Tier 1.   Fireworks end with a grand finale of ear-aching noise and blinding flashes. That is nothing compared to the Maine Master Naturalist finale, Tier One. We followed in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark through field and forest, and then put on […]

Science and Art: A group of naturalists make beautiful bugs

Wally and Carol's bumblebee pancake

Another installment in my progress as a Maine Master Naturalist Tier 1 student.   We are in the home stretch, final assignments are due, and there is some scrambling to finish projects. Nineteen never-say-die aspiring naturalists, who might just possibly all be called over achievers, were given the assignment of building an insect model. We […]

Life behind a nametag: Do you wear your name on your shirt?

" I feel honored, I am wearing the logo of the business I love working for. I become resonsible for making sure our customers' experience is good." Mike Ogilvie, The Terrace restauant at Bar Harbor Inn. (Wearing Jeff's tag because he left his in his car)

In decades of being gainfully employed I have never* had to wear a badge with my name on it. I never really thought much about them. The bag girl at the local supermarket has one, flight attendants wear them, my daughter had polo shirts with her name when she drove a team of horses, and […]

Fun with owl pellets, and a motley crew develops naturalist’s wings.

Page from Tom Adam's journal

Another installment in my progress as a Maine Master Naturalist Tier 1 student.   “Dissect an owl pellet, separate and identify bones, and build and label a skeleton,” was one of the assignments due this week. “Piece of cake,” I thought, remembering seventh grade biology and all the dissections we had done. Earthworms, starfish, some […]

Being a Maine naturalist is risky business.

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Another installment in my progress as a Maine Master Naturalist tier 1 student.   One thing we were not told when applying for the Maine Master Naturalist program were the risks involved. Yes, sun block and insect repellent were mentioned, but vicious flying toe biters and aggressive as-only-a-mother-can-be goshawks were not. Our first field trip […]

A naturalist and mother-of-the-bride collide

Herbarium binder

The intensity of the Maine Master Naturalist program allows for no interruptions and no absences. The application is quite clear: if you cannot attend all classes and workshops, do not apply. My best and wisest and most beautiful daughter was getting married, here in our backyard, about three weeks after the course began. I was […]

Ferns, feathers and the Maine Master Naturalist program

Natuturalist tools

Ferns, trees, wildflowers, dissecting kits, owl pellets, field guides–how could I not be in? The Maine Master Naturalist Program offers intense, wide-ranging study of, well, all things natural, and in Maine. I applied the day applications opened, and was fortunate enough to be one of nineteen adventurers accepted into the Mount Desert Island Program. Oh, […]

What do you do with a nine-month old zucchini?

Crazy nine month old zucchini

Compost comes to mind, but I cannot shake off my New England upbringing, which includes maxims like “Waste not, want not.” You might ask, why do we even have a nine-month old zucchini? Is it possible it should be listed in Guinness’ world records as oldest known zucchini? Perhaps we should coat it in resin, […]

Maine is melting

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What is winter, anyway? Winter in Jamaica is not winter in Maine, and winter in New Zealand is something else entirely. Even winter in Maine changes with every year. It can be cold. It is usually cold. There is snow, skating, ice fishing, and skiing. It can provide a recharge and refresh from soft, indolent […]