Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dear Session II Jokesters

I hope you all haven't been boring your families with bad puns! We miss you dearly. All of the pictures should be posted on shutterfly now. If you remember any that are missing let us know! Also I have posted some videos on Shutterfly that I wasn't able to get into the video. So if you scroll all the way down to bottom of the shutterfly page you SHOULD see them.

Here's your video!

Dearest Session I Campers

Here's your video!

Oh and if you haven't checked the last post from your session you might want to check out the sweet drawing that Matt taped to my door.

Friday, July 23, 2010


To collect the information on the Hellbenders we had to hold the Hellbenders easily. They were so slimy and hard to hold and grab. It was like trying to grab a wet bar of soap only it was moving and trying to bite. But the hellbenders were a lot of fun!! We all learned something new this day and it was a great and funny experience. Thanks creek connections for making this week happen.

Freshwater mussels

On Thursday we took a 2 mile canoe trip, on the way we stopped to look at freshwater mussles with Jerry. He showed us the different species in the area including the endangered northern Riffeled Shell. We saw how in some mussles different colors are present but they aren't sure why yet. My favorite shell that i saw had a greenish-blue circle on one side and a purple on the other. We saved a few mussles from drying out. There were mussles in the shallow water who needed to be burried in the deeper water. When putting back a mussle you put the muscular foot side down in the muck and leave part of the hinge out inorder for the mussles to filter-feed.

Out of this world

We were all blown away when we went to the roof of Carr Hall to look at stars and planets. As Nick 3 put it, it was out of this world. We saw five different planets. Mars, Saturn, Mercury, Venus, and of course, Earth. We then went to the Newton Observatory and got to see a giant antique telescope. We got to see the moon through it and it was so clear, you could see the craters. Then we went outside and saw two satellites going by. We then looked at clusters of starts through the telescope. It was a great experience.

Dancing with the Stars

Last night was a good night to go seeing the stars and planets. Mercury, which can only be seen 12-14 days in the entire year, happened to be visible this week and we were lucky enough to see it. Jamie Lombardi showed us this as well as Venus, Mars, and Saturn. Even though they looked like bright discs, it was still really cool to be able to see them. Saturn was especially amazing since you could see it had a thin little dash-like thing around it (Saturn's rings). And if that weren't enough, we were taken inside by Mr. Lombardi senior to see an antique telescope that was 110 years old! It was powerful enough so that the moon looked like a close-up of a white tennis ball with a bunch of craters on it. After that, Jamie Lombardi zoomed in to the Ring Nebula (400 light-years away) with a really powerful telescope. It looked like a blackish blob, but again, it was really cool to see.

scary night walk hwoooooo

it was so much fun we were going to to the woods in the night and looking for salamders we caught a hole lot of diffrent ones but the most common one we found was a dusky. How we found them was we looked underneath tree trunks that was on the ground and under rocks in the ceek we also so toads and crickets and we tryed to find some snakes but we didnt boohoo :( but on top of that i had fun yay for fun!!! :D well today is the last day ill will miss everybody bye.

What the ... Hellbender?!

There were hellbenders a-plenty yesterday. This particular one, having been caught by Nick 3, is named Xavier Worthington Ramsbottom Smide III. We would pull up enormous rocks and wait for the dust to settle and then go for the kill (...catch) and grab the hellbender sitting there. There's a disease infecting hellbenders called Chytrid which we tested for by swabbing their feet and sides. No kidding, these things were like huge slimy bananas, only more slippery. By far, these were the coolest animals we've caught at Creek Camp (sorry catisflies, you just didn't make the cut).


Hellbenders! we went herp (the study of reptiles and amphibians is herpetology) hunting and caught around a dozen hellbenders, the second largest salamander in the world, right here in PA. They were extraordinarily slimey and most slipped right through our fingers but we eventuallycaught all we saw. We weighed them, tagged them if they weren't already, took genetic samples, and tested them for an amphibian-killing fungus called Chytrid. After we let them go back to their giant rocks where we found them because if we just threw them in they would kick out the hellbender living under the nearest rock. They were awesome.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We're Going On a Tree Walk...

We went on a "tree walk" with Mr. Mark Louis. First we started out with the park's Black Willow tree, which beforehand Anna and i just HAD to climb. It's around 200-250 years old and the third largest in the state, which is special because Black Willows hardly grow to that size. They're measured by trunk size, diameter, height, and crown size (how far the branches spread).

Next,we came to a Black Cherry tree from which we learned that a substance called cyan (sound familiar?) is produced within the tree. we were given a taste test of the inner bark of a branch to find an awful bitter taste...the cyan. cyan is consentrated and mixed with a variety of other things to create (yes you guessed it you're so smart!) cyanide. For those who dared to taste, i did, we learned what cyanide tasted like (chill! it wasn't enough to affect us in any way), NOT to eat random things you find in the forest, and that Black Cherry leaves a bad aftertaste for about 8 hours...yeahh ick, though actually if you wait a bit before eating you can eat things and they won't taste strongly like cyan.

We learned about the importance of trees along the banks of creeks and rivers as well as how parts of some trees have cells that are like stem cells for human, they adapt to whatever is necessary to help that tree grow.

Gather around, we want to learn about trees!
I'm out on a limb...of a GIANT TREE!! Hello, all the way over there...
Happy Creeking!

This is for you, Nick 3

Nick 3 has some pretty bad puns. If you ever get the chance to hear them.. don't.

"Its a carp-et of fish!"

"These bats are making me batty"

"I may not be ripped.. But I'm rippled" - While wind was blowing up his shirt.

And that's just a few..

The Puns Get Worse... Part II

Part II:

-Some of us lost limbs or died while learning about Abandon Mine Drainage.

-We almost practiced canoeing, but i guess aluminum boats in a lightning storm on a lake isn't too smart...

-We found out that Matt could be a great Kindergarden story-teller.

-A custody battle developed over the Lorax.

-The Bread Ball Bowl 2010 was played, and ended in a tie.

-We learned about Aquaponics, and how vicious pumpkin seed panfish can be.

wow. We went to the spillway today and saw the mob of carp that were "carp-eting" the place. after a few slices of bread we saw the fabled gold carp and Matt And Kelsey played Bread Ball: Gold Edition, the loser had to pay the winner ten bucks. unfortunately, no one won but it was fun to see the carp literaly swim over each other to grab the bread.

Some dam stuff

Today we took a dam tour with the dam guy and watched a dam slide show. When we were done with the slide show, I was asked what I learned but I didn't have an answer so the dam guy gave me a while to think it over. As we were heading over to the dam, I was given some ideas as to what I should say when I was asked again. As we were leaving, I thought I had gotten out of it, but then he remembered. I told the dam guy that I learned some dam stuff and everyone thought it was rather clever. I think we're all sick of dam jokes. Including Nick 3's bad puns.

Holy Carp, Something Smells Fishy

The sight of so many fish fighting over so little food made us carp about jumping in and walking on them. Seriously, the water was carp-eted (haha). We all enjoyed feeding them and watching the furious feeding frenzies and Matt almost lost $10 to Kelsy in Breadball.


WOW!!! Eddie's hot dogs so very tasty and our wonderful counselors in the same picture!!!! AWESOME!! Today (Wednesday) we all went to Eddie's (for hot dogs) and across the street for some I scream You scream we all scream for ice crem from Casey's!! Today was a delicious day with all the yummy in the tummy food!! As you can see from the picture above even the counselors were loving the food, so it had to be good!!! Hope all familys get a chance to come up to Eddies and Caseys to try the hot dogs and ice cream!!! As Lorak would say NUM NUM NUM!!!

I Scream You Scream We All Scream For Ice Cream

In a word. Nom nom nom. We had footlong hot dogs, french fries, and delicious ice cream from Casey's. The flavors varied from the usual sorbet and mint chocolate chip to "nerd heaven" and "cinamon bun swirl".

"Its a carp-et of fish!" - Nick 3

The title is a quote from Nick 3, famous for his bad puns. Today we went to the spillway where we saw carp and fed them bread. They were all over the place. There was even a bright orange one. As soon as you throw the bread in the water, they all attack each other for the food. There must to have been thousands of carp. It was really interesting.

amazing owl walk in the grave!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IT WAS AMAZING! well what was amazing was a owl walk. we had this guy come in about owls and talked a little bit about them after his speech we gather all our thing and went to the meadville grave. then we searched for owls we saw a barred owls young one and older ones they were sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo AMAZING!!and so beautiful i just wanted to take one home but we know that answer, anyways i love owls they are my favorite flying animal. My also favorite part about the trip was the GRAVE! i love the grave specaly during the night time:). im a kind a girl that loves scary and dark things sort of like goth stuff but doin worry im not goth so anyways we had a great time at the owl walk i think i was the only one that loved IT SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!well i g2g seeya bye hooo hooo hooo hooo

So today we went to go see a some sort of Pitt lab. Apparently, they were testing pesticides on not only one thing, like a tadpole in a petri dish, but a whole ecosystem with not only tadpoles, but also snails and plankton and crustaceans oh my! There were more than forty of the tub like test groups so i guess it must be one heck of a job to get the readings from all those. After seeing the test tubs we went to a small stream where there were nets full of different kinds of leaves like maple and oak and we soon discovered that different aquatic invertebrates eat different "stuff."

The puns get worse...

Today's Highlights:
-We went on an owl walk, and spotted juvenille owls who were attached at the wing.
-The geocaching adventure took us through some serious jaggers, and one of us took a dip in the creek.
-We went out to watch bats, and as Nick 3 (formerly Nick 4) put it, it drove some of us "batty."
-The pinktown joke made everyone furious.
-Brooke learned some "dam stuff"
-Durring the visit to the Pymatuning spillway, Nick 3 commented on the "Carp"et of fish. We then fed him to the carp. His last words were "I don't wanna sleep with the fishes!"


Environmental Nightmare

Abandoned mine drainage is something that would put today's not-so-creative horror movies to shame. It occurs when an abandoned mine (mostly coal) begins draining its refuse into a nearby creek or stream. This drainage will make the acidity and levels of iron spike in this body of water, killing off all the organisms. The stream then is either clear or takes on an ugly shade of orange or some other unnatural color (depending on the contents of the drainage). Wil Taylor, our friendly instructor, told us about this travesty and about the hard life of a miner. Miners often worked hard long hours from the time they were 8 or 9 years old, sometimes even as young as 6. After the miners hit middle age, about 40 or 50 years, they were doomed to getting black lung disease and dying a miserable death. On a more uplifting note, we played a game at the end where the goal was to collect the most tons of coal (conveniently represented by little pieces of paper) without "dying". A large number of us "died" in a methane explosion but some people got lucky and made it through without harm. Two of the Nicks even got their arms cut off, fell down a mine shaft, and still made it through the game!


Fixated we stare intently upon the bat box. Nothing moves, but suddenly, something emerges. Something sinister. Something furry. Something that drove me absolutely batty. Yes, it was a brown bat, bloodthirsty and screeching.

Just kidding it eats bugs and we couldn't hear it's sonar at all. The local bat-enthusist, Terry, showed us some of his numerous bat boxes and their residents right before they took off for the night's hunting. We became well informed on the types of bats that are easy to find locally, where they nest, how many there are, what myths about them are false, what they eat, and what eats them. We sat around one of the boxes as they all crawled out and flew away in search of prey, we used a bat-detector to hear their sonar as clicks. The night was pretty, peaceful, and perfect for bat watching as it was humid and there were bugs aplenty. Nom nom nom.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Okay, so when i uploaded the pictures, they uploaded in the order opposite how it was supposed to be so when viewing the pictures, start from the bottom up. Thanks!

Super quick! GeoCaching is when you get coordinates online and use a GSP to find that specific location to find something, they vary in size but most commonly are ammo boxes and usually you don't know what it is... sound fun? maybe not...but it is! GeoCaching is an international hobby with locations posted online. Some are hidden very cleverly so sometimes you really have to think!
We did a Creek Camp version of a multi-cache, when you have mulitple coordinates to lead you to a single GeoCache, and in the end got some cool Allegheny drawstring bags filled with all sorts of useful things: a mask and snorkel, a towel, and a headlight. I wonder what we're going to need those for...
Group picture, everyone say "Creek Camp!" Relaxing with freezerpops ater a nice hunt, very refreshing
Going GeoCaching...for Tuberware!
I have my GPS...now what do i do with it?
Finding out what GeoCaching is...interesting... Happy Creeking!

Asia, Awesomeland, Aztec Jokes?

Today's Highlights:
-We learned that Matt hates the band Asia because theyre "terrible." Theres no accounting for bad taste...
-While we were busy learning, Matt and Kelsey were busy constructing Awesomeland, an island of awesome. Despite our efforts it survived the demonstration.
-We went electro fishing, which was shockingly informative (that's for you Nick 4)
-Nick 4's sense of humor was drying up like the dammed creek (no pun intended) and eventually he began to make bad puns about aztecs. Im still laughing Nick.
-Banana Cream Pie is awesome.

Awesomeland in all its glory

Stream Table, Ex-streamly Fun

We all wait in breathless anticipation for sand cliffs to collapse dramatically as the tiny river eats away at the sedement like acid (we're not as bored as we look, seriously, it was pretty ridiculous). The stream table is an interesting tool that geologists use to understand and view how rivers act over a long period of time (while being able to observe a few thousand years in less than an hour). Everyone was enraptured by it and cheered everytime something happened, but finally we all broke down into building our own rivers and cliffs (sort of like a god's playing field!).

electro fishing

it was so much fun we got to where theses waters they were very larg on me but i was able to make them fit ...........anyways this is what you call electro fishing.there was these guys that tell you about themselfs and tell you about electro fishing and he showed us on how to do it so all we had to do was a couple of people hold buckest while a couple people hold nets and the guys was holding a machine that is a shocker and it shocked the fish but dont worry the fish did not die they were in shock but anyways the people that had the nets try to catch the fish that was floating and put them in the buckets and the other thing was that we dont touch the water when the machine was on.

Green Allegheny

Today we went on a tour from Green Allegheny, a program that makes "Green!" changes to the campus. My favorite part of the tour was the Green Roof. This is a beautiful garden on top of the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts. This garden helps attract sun to the building in the winter to warm it up without using a heater. We also saw the herb garden, this is green because you don't burn fossil fuels in going to the store and buying herbs because you already have them. On the tour we saw many ways to help drain rain water. One way is on a hill side there are flowers, hte plants roots help drain some water from flooding the storm drains. Also the pavement had cracks to drain the water. I never knew there were so many ways to make things green.


As soon as everyone arrived, Matt took us outside to play a very fun but embarassing game, Bippidi Boppidi Boo. You stand in a circle and one person is in the middle. If the person in the middle points at you and says "Bippidi Boppidi" you have to say "Boo." But if they say anything else, like Dippidi Doppidi, you don't say anything. And if you do, you're in the middle. Another way to get people in the middle is to say something like elephant and that person has to make and elephant trunk and an elephant noise while the two people on either side of you make ears. Each thing requires three people and a noise. If you or the other two people don't do it, the person who was pointed at is in the middle. Every so often, Matt would add another action. It eventually got really hard.
Before bed we played another game: Catch Phrase. There is a handheld and it gives you a word and you have to get your team to guess the word and when they do, you pass it to the next team. The timer keeps going and it gets faster and faster. If you're holding it while it buzzes, the other team gets a point. We played Boys Vs. Girls. The boys won the first game, but the girls redeemed themselves and won the second game.

College Admissions - The Working Lunch

We got advice for selecting a good college that would really match our interests while having lunch at the same time. The sandwich wrap was pretty good that day and very distracting. After a short wait, Tahirah, our admissions presenter, talked us through the process and gave us ideas to narrow down our college options. At the end, she threw in a trivia quiz about Allegheny college and some things we'd learned earlier in the presentation. Some of us even won prizes like water bottles and T-shirts!

Cool Creek Critters!

After the Creek chemistry we grabbed our Creek kicknets and headed into the cold Creek. In teams, we planted the nets in the muck, two held the nets while the other "danced" to stir the little critters out of there homes. We picked up the nets and laid them out to see all the cool Creek critters we had found. all the nets were full of crazy bugs and some of us even found a few fishys =) The main reason as to why we did this was to see if the water was poluted because some of the bugs were sensitive to polution. we found that the river quality was fair. Go Creek!

"I want one!"

We were like oversized 3 year olds in an oversized sandbox. The stream table was a very exciting activity where we watched a scale version of a creek or river as it evolves. After observing how a river forms a delta and meanders down the path of least resistance, we were allowed to manipulate the stream table. Eagerly, we made tributaries, dams, loches, and other structures to see how rivers form and why they behave the way they do. Rivalries formed over who would get the water for their "projects". Eventually, after learning both about water systems and what we wanted for our birthdays, we packed up to go electro fishing.

Downstream Chemistry!!!

Today (July 19), all of the creekers went to the Downstream of Woodcock dam, to do water chemistry. When we did water chemistry we had to find all sorts of things such as temperature, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen and many more. All in all we found that the downstream is fair quality which is in the middle of the spectrum for creeks. This was a great time to be out in the sun and learning about the creek we had surronding us!


Goodbye dear friends.

To the 'awesomest' Session I Creek Campers ever.

Make sure to keep checking the blog and see what this week is up to! Also at the end of this week we will post your surprise from the counselors. All of the 'missing' fun pictures are now posted on creekconnections.shutterfly.com too!

Hope everyone had an amazing time because we sure did!
We will miss you dearly.

The Best Counselors in the World.

P.S. You're all allowed on Awesome Island now
P.S.S. Matt did not approve this message and griped about it later.
P.S.S.S. I also thought you might enjoy this picture