Compiled by: Leonard Charles, Jim Dodge, Lynn Milliman, Victoria Stockley.
This piece was originally published in Home! A Bioregional Reader, edited by Van Andruss, Christopher Plant, Judith Plant, and Eleanor Wright, New Society Publishers, copyright 1990.
What follows is a self-scoring test on basic environmental perception of place. Scoring is done on the honor system, so if you fudge, cheat, or elude, you also get an idea of where you’re at. The quiz is culture-bound, favoring those people who live in the country over city dwellers, and scores can be adjusted accordingly. Most of the questions, however, are of such a basic nature that undue allowances are not necessary.
- Trace the water you drink from precipitation to tap.
- How many days till the moon is full? (Slack of two days allowed.)
- What soil series are you standing on?
- What was the total rainfall in your area last year (July- June)? (Slack: 1 inch for every 20 inches.)
- When was the last time a fire burned your area?
- What were the primary subsistence techniques of the culture that lived in your area before you?
- Name five native edible plants in your region and their season(s) of availability.
- From what direction do winter storms generally come in your region?
- Where does your garbage go?
- How long is the growing season where you live?
- On what day of the year are the shadows the shortest where you live?
- When do the deer rut in your region, and when are the young born?
- Name five grasses in your area. Are any of them native?
- Name five resident and five migratory birds in your area.
- What is the land use history of where you live?
- What primary ecological event/process influenced the land form where you live? (Bonus special: what’s the evidence?)
- What species have become extinct in your area?
- What are the major plant associations in your region?
- From where you’re reading this, point north.
- What spring wildflower is consistently among the first to bloom where you live?
0-3 You have your head up your ass.
4-7 It’s hard to be in two places at once when you’re not anywhere at all.
8-12 A fairly firm grasp of the obvious.
13-16 You’re paying attention.
17-19 You know where you’re at.
20 You not only know where you’re at, you know where it’s at.