Friday, June 29, 2012
Bats are really cool animals. They are even cuter up close. Normally, animals are made more adorable by drawings and stuff, but with bats it's the opposite. Drawings of bats never do them justice. The little squeaky noises they make are even cuter!! I want to get a pet bat that will sit on my head, that would be nice. I found it interesting that according to Terry people seem to have become less afraid of bats in recent years, and to be honest I have to think that that has something to do with the return of the batman movies, etc. In any case, I want some bats for my backyard. Especially the really pretty silver ones.
While on our canoe trip, we went searching for freshwater mussels! We scanned the banks for the 26 different types of mussels in french Creek. We kept an eye out for zebra mussels, which campers found last year. Zebra mussels are an invasive species that latch on to other mussels and often kill them. Unfortunately, we did not find any while canoeing, although we found some later when we went on our Herp Hunt.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
At French Creek, we caught wild hellbenders, the largest species of salamander in North America. We split into two groups for finding hellbenders. We found them by lifting up large, flat rocks to see if there were any under the rocks. There were a lower amount of hellbenders than expected. Once a hellbender was located, we used nets to capture them, and we then examined them. We learned how to determine a hellbender's sex. Males have heads that are broader than their shoulders, and females have heads that are narrower than their shoulders. We also noticed various scars on some of the hellbenders. We learned how to hold the hellbenders properly, because their slimy bodies make it easy for them to escape from our clutches. The hellbenders were then released. After handling the slimy amphibians, we used bleach to sanitize our hands. In total, around 20 hellbenders were caught.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Today we took a trip to the upstream (before the Woodcock Dam) part of Woodcock creek.The micro-invertebrates we found in this part of the creek were far different in variety and number compared to the downstream (after the Woodcock Dam) part. It was very interesting to see how a stream can be effected by a dam including the animals that live in and around it. To catch some of the micro-invertebrates in the stream we split up into groups of three. Then we held a kick net in the water and kicked up the water in front of it to loosen the dirt and rocks. This allowed the animals to swim right into the net so we could take it out of the water and observe them. We compared the animals to discuss which ones were more susceptible to pollution and how they would adapt to live in a stream. We found many different macro-invertebrates including hellgrammites, water pennies, and dragonfly nymphs.
Today after lunch, we went to Woodcock Dam and pulled out our canoes.Everyone was eager to get on the life jackets or PFDs. It was very windy out and some of us had some trouble steering the canoe but thankfully no one flipped their canoe into the lake.
Today for lunch, we went to Eddie's and Casey's! At Eddie's we got delish foot long hot dogs and fries. After eating, we went across the parking lot to Casey's and got ice cream. It was so good! They had lots of cool flavors like Frog and Nerd Heaven. All their flavors were great, and we totally loved the ice cream. Lunch today was the best!
Today we traveled to Pymatuning state park to look at the spillway. We watched the masses of fish try to climb over each other so that they could eat the bread that we threw into the lake. After we fed the fish loaves of bread, we learned about how much damage the bread can do in the water. In reality, by throwing bread into the lake we are adding nitrates and phosphates to the water. Adding these things messes up the lake's ecosystem, and in the future this could eliminate most of the life in the lake.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
This morning, we partook in our second day of running water tests at Woodcock Creek. This time, we ran tests above the dam.Today, I ran the alkalinity test with Elizabeth Siefert. the the name suggests, this process tests the alkalinity of the water running through the creek, or in other words the water's ability to resist change in pH. This was a quick and easy test where in we simply add drops of a chemical until the waters color stops changing, and then multiply the number of drops by 17 to get your answer. Woodcock Creek averaged 42.5 mg/L. Elizabeth Siefert and I got some of the chemical on our hands, which turned them blue when we went to look for critters.
Last night at nine o'clock sharp we went owl watching. It was very cold, the temperature was 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Mr. Mumme took us to many different places in the cemetery. To attract the owls, Mr. Mumme played owl calls on a CD player. Unfortunately, we were only able to see one owl. We tried many places but did not see any owls. We finally saw a Screech owl when we arrived back on campus. Overall the trip was a lot of fun and very exciting.
We traveled to French Creek via car, and were there from around 2:30 to around 4:00. While we were there, we did not do any experimentation. We were just there for fun. While there, some people tried to find and catch fish and mussels in the creek. A snake was also caught. The stream had a riparian zone consisting of forest and land covered by grass.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Today we visited the Woodcock Dam on Woodcock Creek. We walked out half-way and talked about how "cool" it would be to ski and slide down the sides of the Dam into the lake and the grass on the other side. We were all amazed at how long it was and how it works. Sahar, one of the girls counselors, was having fun playing around with her hat and acting like a nerd making the campers smile. It was windy today when we were up there and we stopped to talk about the Dam and its function.
This afternoon, we went into the Alden geology building on campus and learned about stream tables. The stream table looked like a giant bathtub filled with sand and water. It represents the environment and how streams and rivers evolve over time. A hose at the top fills up a "lake" and you can let the water flow and represent erosion in streams. It was a lot of fun to make rivers and dam up the water! We built mountains and watched them collapse, saw the groundwater fill up, and played with sand! Our dam failed miserably, but we had a blast playing in our mini beach with the little cowboys and dump trucks. It was great!
Today we went on a tour where we learned about the green and sustainable elements of Allegheny college. We explored the different ways in which the college has grown to be environmentally friendly. These ways include adding geothermal heating and cooling systems, using recycled materials, installing dual-flush toilets, and taking advantage of alternative energy sources to power the college. Here are some photos!
We did an activity that involved using a GPS to go to different locations. At first, we received a strip of paper with a set of coordinates written on it. We learned how to use the GPS, learning how to type in the coordinates we needed to go to and how to locate said coordinates. Using the GPS systems, we walked to the location that we were supposed to go to. At that location, we discovered a container that contained yet another set of coordinates, and we traveled there. This cycle repeated several times. Once we reached our final destination, we each received a drawstring bag that contained a shirt, a towel, and a head lamp.