We, natural beings that we are, in April we can appreciate this season of new life. Walter Mack is like us in that he observes and wonders at the natural world. In Walter Meets Mack A Minnesota Adventure, Mack has the opportunity to see not only ancient old growth pine trees, he also encounters the amazing carnivorous flora of the Boreal Ecosystem of northern Minnesota. In the northland the soil is often poor in nutrients and the Sundew and Pitcher plant have adapted to seek food in other ways.
The Sundew is a tiny plant that grows in peat bogs and wetlands. This small flower, each blossom a bit smaller than a dime, secretes sweet glistening drops of mucilage that attract insects. The unfortunate bug, after being attracted by the sticky secretions, is then ensnared in the plants tentacles.
The Pitcher plant is another devious devil, tricking foraging insects into the bell shaped pitfall trap formed by its cupped leaf. Once the prey is inside the beasty, a downward slippery slope makes it difficult to crawl out. The insect drowns in a small pool of liquid and the body is gradually dissolved. In this way the Pitcher plant extracts nitrogen and phosphorous that it cannot obtain from the soil.
I recommend observing these two plants up at Big Bog State Park (click link please). Big Bog is a 500 square mile peat bog east of Upper Red Lake and is the biggest peat bog in the lower 48 states.
Thinking about how the Sundew and Pitcher plants operate, certainly we can find many parallels in the natural world and in human behavior. At the intersection of human and natural systems, that is where many lessons about our amazing world can be found.