Acton, Mass., to Saco, Me.

Abby and Jim’s back yard proved to be a very comfortable place to sleep. As we were packing up the car to leave, I noticed these charismatic European Paper Wasps (Polistes dominula) building a nest.

Native to Mediterranean Europe, P. dominula was first introduced to the United States in Massachusetts in the 1970s. Since then, it has spread to Maine, Pennsylvania, Michigan, South Dakota, Nebraska, Arkansas, Washington state, and perhaps elsewhere. Abby said she was going to kill the insects and remove the nest, which I am glad of — according to the Invasive Species Compendium website, P. dominula has been shown to displace native Polistes species.

Another dreary drive today, though only two hours long. Traffic was heavy and aggressive from Acton to southern Maine. We were glad to get off the highway, and set up our tent at Ferry Beach Conference Center, where I’ll be leading a workshop in ecological spirituality for the next week. I’ll post more about that workshop in the coming days.