Sign 4

GPS 92.9140 W 45.0052 N

This location is in the Oak / Maple forest of Sunfish Lake Park, on the Brown trail Outer Loop just West of the power line corridor. The trail to the East takes you almost immediately down a steep hill and across the power line corridor, to Sign 16 on the Inner Loop. From there via Sign 17 you have access to the trails around the un-named central pond. The trail to the North takes you in a northwesterly direction to Sign 5 and the Northwest area of the Park. The trail to the South takes you to Sign 3 and the Southwest part of the Park where Buckthorn has been removed by forestry mulching, and efforts are under way to restore the native undergrowth.

Sign #4  Insects Galore

If you walk east to the edge of the hill where the forest meets the open grassland under the power lines, take a moment to stand very still. Stop and look closely at a flowering prairie plant next to the side of the trail. See how many different kinds of insects you can find on one plant or flower. It is almost guaranteed that you will see at least one insect if not more.  Insects have their own special role in an ecosystem and many different kinds of insects can exist side by side.  Insects are very beneficial, providing food for birds and other animals, pollinating plants, and helping to decompose dead plant material.  One example of an insect that you may see in this area is the monarch butterfly. Monarchs depend on a specific type of plant for their survival.  They will lay their eggs only on milkweed plants because that is the only type of plant the caterpillars will eat. Monarchs have an amazing life story. In the US, they annually migrate across the country back and forth to Mexico through several generations.   You can tell a male monarch apart from a female by two black spots on its hind wings. The male monarch’s black wing veins are also thinner than the female’s.