Friday, July 13, 2012

Hellbender Hunting

We looked for hellbenders in the creek. We split up into two groups and flipped over big rocks on the bottom and searched underneath them. It took us a little while and a whole location later before a little one.was found. We took turns holding it and then let it go.

Canoe Trip!!

It was a great day in canoe trip. We did two stops. In the first stop we collected fresh water mussels and in the second stop we did a water fight. We had to row a lot. We saw some amazing the nature around the French Creek. At the end we were all tired and we had an awesome lunch.


On Thursday we went on a canoe trip and about halfway down French Creek we stopped to look for freshwater mussels. It was hard to find them and even harder to find ones that were alive. If you found a live one you had to make sure you put back with the dirty side facing up so they weren't upside down. It was a lot of fun!!


Laura showed us how the geocatching works on the computer, then we left our apartment in search of two boxes that were hidden in the campus of Allegheny College. We divided into two groups so we could start the hunting.
 The first box was hidden near the bridge of the crevice, and was very small and difficult to find because it was camouflage with some logs.
The other box was on a trail in some woods, it was protected by an army of bugs and mosquitoes, so it was difficult to get it.

Meeting Herps

Yesterday, after we took our canoe trip, we came back to the North Village to learn about Herps. Herps are amphibians and reptiles like frogs, salamanders, lizards, and snakes. There are a ton of different types, and April brought a bunch to show us, including a super enthusiastic milk snake, and a puppy that ran away from a turtle. We learned a lot about Herps, and we got to know a lot of cool things about field characteristics to identify them.

Trip to Bousson

Tonight we went to Bousson, a research facility that deals in herpetology. We looked under logs and under branches and rocks and found a couple different kinds of salamanders and frogs. We found a northern red salamander, mountain dusky salamander, northern dusky salamander, spotted salamander, green frog, and pickerel frog. We looked until it was dark and it was a lot of fun!    

1 foot and ice cream

This afternoon we ate at Eddie's and Casey's. We had a great time, we started with a foot long hot dog, which was delicious, we could choose from different toppings for our hot dog, the fries also tasted great. At Casey's we ate ice cream that was home made, it was a bit artificial but it was good. So many flavors to choose from but no one was brave enough to pick bacon ice cream, that was a bit gross. It was very hot and we had to sit on the hot benches. We had a great time it was a lot of fun! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


At Pymatuning, we immediately saw many common waterbirds such as geese, ducks, and gulls. There was a ton of carp as well there. The carp would all fight in the same place to try to get bread which was thrown by people at the side, the birds would also try to get bread. We fed them, and then a guy who was with us explained why this was a bad thing for the ecosystem, and how they couldn't stop people from feeding the fishes because that attracted tourism and the town wanted tourism.

Pitt Labs @ Pymatuning

This morning we went to the University of Pittsburgh laboratory located at Pymatuning.  There were a ton of kiddie pools and cattle feeders in which the scientists would fill with water and use to grow whatever they need for their experiments, typically tadpoles or plants.  Then there was a small building that actually held the lab equipment.  Most of the researchers were working on a joint project with scientists in Oregon involving a disease that is killing frogs in Oregon.  The egg masses were shipped from Oregon and have been grown in the pools.  Now the researchers are working with the metamorphlings and pesticides in order to find out if the use of pesticides is weakening the frog's immune system.  Later on we were allowed to feed some tadpoles to a drangonfly nymph.

Mining in North Village

This afternoon Wil Taylor came to the campus and taught us all about mining at the turn of the century, life in the mines, and abandoned mine drainage. We played a live board game where we chose cards to determine our fate. Some made it out of the mines but others, sadly, didn't. It was also really cool to see how mine drainage compares to other types of water. I liked learning about the different effects of mines.

Bat Counting!

Last night we went and saw spooky bats! We learned that they are actually not vampires around here and are not related to rats! Once he told us a little bit about the bats he showed us the clear boxes and there were 7 cubs(baby bats) in the box. Then we went and sat down and counted the bats as they came out and we counted 270 bats in only a few boxes! Even though they were kind of scary i enjoyed the experience!

Attempting to canoe

Learing how to canoe was interesting. Everyone was running into one another trying to go straight. Watching everyone attempting to canoe was pretty funny. Once most people got the hang of it a couple races broke out. Most people got the hang of it, but a couple were all over the lake. Hopefully the canoe trip tomorrow will go a little better.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

We  got the nets and went into the water. We kicked around for 3 minutes then brought the net onto land. Then we looked for all of the macroinvertebrates but didn't find as much as yesterday. We loved finding all of the big crayfish.

French Creek

Today we went to the French Creek. While there we walked around in the creek and explored. We looked around and lifted up rocks and found crayfish, fish, and mussels. We all had a really good time.

Owl Hunting

We left our apartment with Doctor Mumme and went hunting for owls. We went to a small forest and saw our firsts owls, they were quite big and fast. Later we went to the campus and saw another species of owls, these were smaller than the others.These ones had yellow eyes and they were very small.

Water Chem

This morning we went to the Upstream of Woodcock! We had to take an A and B sample of the water by going into the water and scooping it up. Then everyone got into groups and picked a kit to use. Some of the kits tested temperature, pH, TDS (total dissolved solids), and turbidity. It was so fun and we found that our water was fair. 

Mad Boring Skills

Today, we went out to the woods with Penn's Woods reps Stacia and Nicole, to determine the age of some of the trees on their lot. It may not sound interesting at first, but it really was a blast! We pretty much ferociously bore holes into trees (they'll be OK, I promise!) and pulled out a little cylinder of tree matter. It's like when someone chops a tree down to count rings, except it doesn't kill the trees. And, it looks a lot more cool. And... we saw a fish. It was in the creek by the forest that we were in. We were plotting to catch it with our totallyunrelatedmadtreeskills.


Today, a guy named Jay took us up the creek to teach us how to shock fish and then catch them. We had a lot of fun slipping all over the rocks trying to catch them. It seemed like everyone was getting really into it, even though we killed a few... Luis even had the guts to let a crayfish latch onto his ear!

Having fun at the stream table!!

This afternoon we went to the Alden geology building and Professor Reiss taught us about different parts of the river and how it works, it was very interesting. The stream table had sand and water in it which we got to play with for a while. We made dams, mountains, islands and we had a lot of fun! We made a great dam and then we destroyed it. It was great!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Water Chemistry

This morning on July 9, 2012 we did some water chemistry in the creek. First we did some water sampling so we can do alkalinity tests or the water's ability to resist change in pH. Lastly, I thought it was a pretty nice expanding my Knowlegde in Chemistry.  (DS Creek Camp 2012)

Yay for Macroinvertebrates!!!

Today we went downstream of Woodcock Dam to check the water quality and chemistry in addition to searching for macroinvertebrates.  The diversity of macroinvertebrates signify how healthy a stream is.  We found some neat little critters.  There were a lot of cranefly larva, some water beetle larva, and there were even two small crayfish among other creatures.  There is then a system that assigns values to the different macros based on whether they live in healthy, fair, or poor water.  The value that we got told us that the water was of fair quality.  The tests for water quality also came back with pretty decent results.  We checked the temperature, pH, total dissolved solids, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, alkalinity, nitrates and phosphates.  Tonight we get to go hunt owls in a cemetery so wish us luck:)

Dam Time

It was cool learning about the dam and its functions. It was amazing how long and high the dam was. Walking out on it was fun. It was scary looking over the railings. It was so cool learning about how the dam works and how the creek flows through it. Learning about how the dam releases certain amounts of water for different times of the year was cool. Looking over the balcony at the lake was pretty cool, but scary.

Geocaching Campus Tour

For geocaching we were given GPS's and a coordinate to start. We used the GPS and coordinates to find a location where another coordinate was waiting to lead us to another location. We repeated this several times while guides informed us about the campus. The coordinates eventually led back to the start where we received a drawstring bag, headlight, shirt, and a towel.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Creek Connections would like to thank all the campers that came to Allegheny last week. We all had a great time and enjoyed getting to know the campers. We learned a lot from you!. This past week was another creek camp success!!