Penny L.

Entrou: 14 de abr. de 2019 Última vez ativo: 25 de set. de 2021 iNaturalist

About Me
Studied environmental science at Stephen F. Austin State University (Deep East Texas). Worked as gardener/grounds keeper at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center during my bachelor's. Graduated with Master's degree 2012. Most of my amatuer plant id skills came from studying alongside the SFASU forestry students who were taking classes from Dr. Michael Fountain (dendrologist). I also learned from Greg Grant (who was in charge of the PNPC at the time, famous local horticulturalist), from Hans Williams (Wetland professor), and from SFASU horticulture student friends.

I've recently discovered the Texas Master Naturalists and am eagerly waiting to start the class! I have already developed a presentation all about recycling! I will also be trying out a kid's sorting activity this spring (2021) based on an activity I did as a kid when TXU had it's educational Energy Park. Volunteering opportunities and outdoor activities have been a great way to build my strength back up since recovering from Lyme Disease and to practice in my field of expertise.

Lyme Disease
I picked up the disease while studying wetlands around present-day Lake Naconiche. I did use bug spray, but did not have my shirt tucked in. After failing to remove the ticks properly, I experienced migraine headaches, increased sensitivity to bright summer sunlight, and brain fog. After failure to diagnose in a timely manner (years later), I suffered from extreme fatigue, brain fog, neurological issues, and much more. I have spent several more years treating and recovering. So, I have become a low-key advocate for Lyme Disease awareness.

Please dress so that you prevent exposure to ticks. Light-colored, long pants and long sleeves. Pants tucked into boots, shirt tucked into pants, collared shirt. That collar on the shirt has stopped several ticks on my forestry friends. The ticks like to hide in tight spaces and will crawl upward until they find a place (underwear, waistband, bra, shirt collar). They can be easily brushed off if found under the collar. If they are allowed to attach to skin under the other tight spaces mentioned, they will need to be removed.

Check yourself as soon as possible after leaving the field. Even if you did apply bug spray. You will not notice a tick bite because they inject an anesthetic to prevent you from feeling it. It takes 4 hours to transfer the bacteria from tick to bloodstream. The longer it is attached, the higher the likelihood of transmitting. If you do find ticks on you, look up a YouTube video on how to properly remove them. https://lymediseaseassociation.org/about-lyme/prevention/tick-removal/

Carry a tick removal tool. Don't squeeze the main body with tweezers! Don't puncture a tick with a needle or burn it! You can end up squeezing or expelling the stomach contents (and bacteria) into your bloodstream! If using tweezers, gently & slowly pull the tick outward by their "head" until it lets go. This is a big preventative measure. Believe me, it's worth it to do it right. You could spend years diagnosing and recovering from a debilitating disease!

Keep the tick in a small vial in case you develop symptoms and need to test the insect. Symptoms may occur days or months after a bite. Don't assume you will develop a Bull's Eye Rash. My first symptoms were migraine headaches and brain fog, with no rash. Many people experience a stiff neck, joint paint, and fatigue. Schedule a doctor appointment if you experience symptoms common to Lyme Disease because the sooner it is diagnosed and treated, the more successful the antibiotic treatment will be.

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