Progress Update 8/24/2017: Navigation improvements

In an effort to improve page loading time as well as keeping some pages from getting impossibly long, we have separated the “Browse by Photo” and “Browse by Name” lists into separate pages which can be toggled via a button.  This cuts the page loading time almost in half since it doesn’t have to run the database query twice.  It also cuts the length of the page nearly in half, so you don’t have to scroll-down so far to find what you’re looking for.

We will also be using this button space to add in some upcoming buttons for browsing wild edibles and other ways to view data within that category. For example, when you’re in the Plants category, expect to see an “Edible Plants” button in that space soon.

We are currently at about 950 unique species, pushing closer to our 1000 species benchmark and are continuing to add more almost every day. We still have a sizable backlog we’re working through.

What’s Next

  • We will put together a special section dedicated to foraging and wild edibles. That was a feature that was available on the old website and we hope to make it better than ever.
  • We will also put together a new special section dedicated to potential dangers of the wild such as deadly poisonous plants, poison ivy, etc…
  • A new section we will be looking forward to is recipes for wild edibles. (Such as pickled ramps, sauteed mushrooms, etc…) We will look to our audience to submit recipes and photos.
  • A new article on foraging in the local supermarkets.
  • And finally, we are going to work on producing some monthly reports that will help people know what to look for at any given time of the year.

There are also still a few minor bugs and formatting issues on the website that need to be resolved. We also want to make a few improvements to page layout to improve loading time as well as some additional navigation options. Simply put, we want the website to load faster and help you get to what you are looking easier.

What’s Happening Outside

We’ve had some decent rains and the forests should be over-flowing with fungi of all shapes, sizes, and colors, so make sure you get out there and have a look. Especially be on the lookout for black trumpets and chanterelles, which should be popping out now.

A Connecticut mother and her two children recently spent a rough night lost in the forest of the Naugatuck State Forest.  Having just spend a day hiking there recently, it seems to have confirmed my belief that the Naugatuck State Forest can be difficult to navigate. While the trail map is somewhat helpful, it’s could be a lot better and the trails could be more clearly marked. While I didn’t exactly get lost while I was out hiking, I also wasn’t entirely sure which trail I was on during all points in the hike. One of the problems that complicates matters is that there are two separate, nearly perpendicular sets of power lines running through the park. The result of which is that if you’re not familiar with the trails, you might think you accidentally doubled-back on your trail when in reality you are following a different power-line trail. A few of the trails I was on were also not well maintained and were over-grown and difficult to pass. While I enjoy the adventure of the outdoors, I think the state could make a few improvements to the trails and navigation in the name of public safety. This also wasn’t the first time a person was stranded in the woods and rescuers had difficulty locating them.

I’m sad to report that a Connecticut man from New Milford recently died from a tick-born infection. In this case it was a severe case of babesiosis and not Lyme disease. My heart goes out to his family. Please remember to check for ticks after being outdoors.

I posted this in the last notice but I think I’ll keep it here all summer:

This has been a particularly bad year for ticks unfortunately. Always remember to take precautions outdoors.  Wear socks, long pants, and use insect repellent, preferably containing DEET 40% or more. Always do a thorough tick check after being in the woods. Always shower after hiking. Check your pets for ticks regularly. And learn the warning symptoms of a potential Lyme disease infection (bulls-eye rash, fever, neck and joint pain, headache) It’s no joke this year, be careful!

-Mike

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