Bioregional Quiz

EDIT: oops. I forgot to link to Rambling Woods a really fine blog that hosts Nature Notes each Tuesday.

I found this little pop quiz in Communicating Nature: How We Create and Understand Environmental Messages by Julia B. Corbett.

I was happy to see I did not know all the answers. More to learn! And even happier that I knew some things today that I didn’t know ten years ago. Progress.

Try it for yourself if you like. Do any of these questions leave you wondering about the place where you live?

bioregional quizAnswers:

1. As far as I know, my drinking water comes from the surface of the Colorado River. There are a couple of treatment plants that pump the water through pipes. I do not know which one I am connected to. Wastewater gets pumped to Hornsby Bend where solids are removed and chlorine is added. The water is then returned to the Colorado River. =/

2. As I type this the moon is waxing. My husband is pagan so he keeps me informed. =)

3. This was an easy one. Since a drought was officially declared I knew the number had to be under the typical average which is around 32 inches annually. I had to look up the actual amount though which turned out to be around 26.5 inches.

4. Edible plants! Easy. Central Texas is a wild food paradise: wild grapes, turk’s cap fruit, wild carrot, pecans, Mexican plum, wild persimmon etc etc. Native grasses? Little bluestem and my favourite, the Eastern Gamagrass.

5. This might be a trick question as there isn’t a simple answer. The winds typically come from the south. Sometimes in the winter they come in from the SW. But if there is a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico we can get some wind and rain from that direction (east-ish). The really cold winter winds come from the north.

6. Not exactly sure about this one. I do know that there are several dumps in the area. All but one of them have really serious emissions problems.

7. The growing season might be considered year round though very little actually grows in January.

8. I hate to admit I don’t have any first hand experience on this one because I haven’t even seen a deer here. o.O I would actually say the main herbivore here (besides leaf cutter ants and/or snails) is probably the squirrel. I would guess that the rut happens in October. I do know that the babies are born in the early spring (around February) thanks to various blogs like TexasDeb’s Austin Agrodolce

9. Resident birds. Easy. Cardinal, Grackle, Mockingbird, Carolina Wren, Red-winged blackbird, a billion more. Migrating birds? Way less easy. Birds don’t fly south for the winter here; this is where they kind of end up so it is tricky to know if someone is a year round resident or temporary. Robins, Goldfinches and Rough-legged hawks all head north for their summer vacations. Ruby Throated Hummingbirds and Nighthawks come here for the summer. This is an area I would like to learn more about.

10. Here goes nothing. Please correct me if I am wrong. The Edward’s Plateau might be the area’s most important geological feature. The old fault lines along its edge are called the Balcones Escarpment. A good place to see this formation in Austin is to go to the top of Mount Bonnell. Don’t go when school is in session as it is a popular 4th grade field trip destination. West of this area is the hill country where the limestone has helped create the Edwards Aquifer. I suspect most of that water is probably underground but there are places where it reaches the surface like at Barton Springs. East of the Balcones Escarpment is a prairie which once upon a time was a sea bed then later become a home for migrating bison. Now it seems to be mostly urban sprawl with some token ranches here and there. Another important feature of the local geology is Lady Bird Lake created from water diverted from the Colorado River.

11. Many years ago when I liked to travel a lot I got into the habit of knowing where North was. Easy.

12. On our property the first native flower has always been the Anemone berlandieri. Soon after we will see evening primrose, spiderwort, hollies, the Texas mountain laurel and redbud flowers.


44 thoughts on “Bioregional Quiz

  1. A fun quiz but too easy for me (my whole life is wrapped up in those sorts of things). The question about the moon made me think of last night when I looked at it coming over the trees and thought “not quite full but still awe inspiring”.

    And thanks for stopping by my blog and “liking”.


    1. A person could certainly fine tune that quiz. It doesn’t ask about soils, insects or native trees I noticed. I think we would live in a better world if everyone knew the answers to those questions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. It always amazes me how so many people know what the latest about some TV show but have hardly an idea about what might be living in their own backyards. But when they do see something out there for the first time, even something perfectly ordinary, and are curious about it then I think there is hope.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is fascinating. I think I’ll have to try it on my blog. The book sounds interesting, too – I will have to see if I can track down a copy.


    1. I saw it while roaming through the library recently. I picked it up on a whim and have been so pleased. It is full of great and some surprising information.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. An interesting quiz and quite a thought-provoking post. Questions 1 and 3 were easy for me to answer, what with the education this area received during the drought! Had to check the sky to find out the answer to number 2. As for the rest of them, the only one I had no answer to was when the ungulates rut…. Thanks for posting this. It made me think harder than usual.


  4. What an interesting quiz. I think most of your readers will be able to answer most of the questions because the fact that we follow your blog qualifies us. It means we take in an interest in our environment and the natural world. Mind you I’ m not quite sure where the nearest landfill site is.


  5. I knew most of the answers, but I’ll have to research others (total precipitation last year). Many of these questions were included in things we were expected to know as master naturalists. It’s fascinating to know the how and the why of various bioregions and ecosystems. Great post!


    1. Thanks for the encouragement. I kind of think these aspects about our environment are things everyone should know. A kind of basic literacy.


  6. Ooooohhhh… Making me think… Water is from Niagara River. I was just out taking some moon photos but I don’t know the name. Oh boy, no idea on precip but we did have a lot of snow and a wet spring and wet July. Edible plants or native grasses for this particular area I am not sure on. Ugg…now I will have to go look it up…Winter storms come in across the Great Lakes and when the water is open, dump the most snow. Garbage go… Geesh… have to look that up too.. Growing seaon.. We can have a frost past Labor Day and early in the fall. Oh deer rut.. November here and we have a high number of deer car collisions and the young are born in May…Birds… black-capped chickadee, northern cardinal, tufted titmouse, blue jay.. Migrate.. some waterfowl, warblers etc…Glacial movements equals Niagara Falls…North is to my left here… brain freeze on flowers… crocus are the first I see… Good test and I have some learning to do…Michelle


    1. Glad to hear it and thank you for saying so =)
      (I do not know WHY but the wordpress demons aren’t letting me respond to you, Jim. Hopefully this attempt will work … o.O )

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Just a quick question and you can delete this comment.. do you want this post or the one below on butterflies to be linked into Nature Notes because it might be a couple of days before people visit and I can add the direct link to that post..Michelle


    1. This one, if that is ok with you. Thanks for asking. =) I realize it is different from the usual post a picture of something lovely but I kind of thought that people interested in nature might also be interested in taking a moment to consider how much they actually know about their surrounding environment and the urban ecosystem they share with wild things.


  8. Well! Your answers were most certainly better articulated than mine. There were several I had to take a wild stab at, others are easy, as you remark, because as you do, I also see the answers in play all around me every day. A few I could easily look up, but that’s not the point, is it? I didn’t see anything suggesting this was an “open internet” quiz. So yes. Some progress and more to be made. Great fun – thanks Deb!!


    1. Shucks. I really should have said: open internet! For me the point of trying wasn’t so much about knowing but learning what still needs to be explored. It was eye opening for me. I spent ages thinking about the bird question and realized I am really unaware of who is coming and going or when it all happens. On the plus side, I realized my time spent on this blog learning about this stuff in general hasn’t been a complete waste of time.

      Liked by 1 person

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