The Dragonfly Woman is 1 Year Old!

It’s official – today marks one whole year of my writing The Dragonfly Woman!  I have to say that this has been a very rewarding experience for me.  It’s been great fun interacting with the other insect bloggers around the world and I love getting questions from readers.  It’s been a much more interactive adventure than I would have anticipated when I first started this blog and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Although the fellowship that prompted the creation of this blog is now over (and honestly, I never would have gotten this blog off the ground if I hadn’t gotten the fellowship – thanks Biosphere 2!), I intend to keep blogging.  I really love doing this and feel like I’m doing some good,spreading some good insect vibes to those who read my posts, so why not?  And now that I’ve been doing this for a year, I know what I’m doing, I’m motivated to do it, and I feel like I’m really getting something out of it personally and professionally.  Hopefully you, my readers, are getting something out of it too!

Because I’m anal, I have plans to make my blog better in the coming year.  Not that I think I’m doing anything wrong now, but there is always room for improvement.  So, I intend to make some changes and/or additions to my blog this year.  These include:

1) Posting more often. This might not happen right away as I’m in the middle of writing my dissertation, but my goal is to start posting 3-4 times a week rather than once a week like I have been.  I can’t make all of my posts long and detailed if I do this, so I plan to keep doing one detailed post a week as I’ve been doing and make the other 2-3 posts shorter pieces.  This way I can share information I find interesting right away rather than simply adding it to my ever growing list of things to talk about in my blog.  Aquatic insects rock and I want to share them with the world!

2) Getting my gallery up and running.  I have a page for it, but I haven’t had the time to go back and plop my photos into the gallery.  It’s going to take some time and effort, but I think it will be worth it in the end.  I’ll have a table of contents as well as a gallery of thumbnails so that readers can find images easily.

3) Provide more educational materials. I love developing curriculum.  I even had a job to do just that at an extension office in Colorado once.  It was great!  Teaching people about insects is the goal of my blog, so why not make some formal activities available?

4) Making my blog more interactive.  The best part of my blog is the information, questions, and comments I receive from my readers, all of the fabulous interactions I have with the people for whom I write this blog.  Through my blog, I have gleaned several new outreach opportunities, from providing dragonfly photos to an Audubon educational facility in the Phoenix area to being asked to provide some giant water bug footage for an upcoming program on Animal Planet.  I have already added a contact form so that people can send me e mails to ask me questions or get more information about topics I’ve blogged about.  Please feel free to start using it to contact me!  I would also like to start posing questions and creating polls on my blog that people may respond to.  Improving the interactive capacity of my blog also ties into my last idea…

5) Hold contests. Who doesn’t like to get free stuff?  And free insect stuff is even better!  (Well, it is if you’re an entomologist or insect enthusiast at least…)  To that end, I now announce my first contest:

I’m curious how many people actually read my new posts each week.  I’d like for everyone who reads this post to leave a comment.  If you have any suggestions for how I might improve my blog or topics you would like to see me write about over the next year, feel free to include those in your comment, but a simple “hi” will suffice.  I will randomly select a winner from all of the comments received over the next week – you have until June 4th to respond.  I’ll post name of the winner on my blog and contact him or her to get a mailing address.  The winner will then receive a matted, frame-ready Dragonfly Woman original insect block print in the mail!  The print will be hand printed in black ink on white acid-free watercolor paper by me, the Dragonfly Woman, using a hand carved linoleum block of my own design.  And, you even have a choice of insects: damselfly (Argia sp.), caterpillar hunter beetle (Calisoma sp.), scarab beetle, ant (Polyrachis sp.), or giant water bug (Lethocerus medius).  Good luck to everyone who chooses to enter!

Next week I’m going to do a post with an update on how the pond I built at the Biosphere 2 is doing a month after it’s installation.  The following week I will be going to a conference in Santa Fe, the joint meeting of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography and the North American Benthological Society.  While I’m there, I will write a new post daily to highlight my favorite talk or poster of the day.

Thank you all for making my first year at The Dragonfly Woman blog so thoroughly enjoyable!

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