Friday, June 30, 2017

tears of joy

Today we got to see various snakes, turtles, and salamanders. most of them were in cages but we could touch the snakes. it was actually the first time in years i'd had a snake move around my arm. but i dont think anyone thought someone would cry because the snakes were so"cute".

I didn't think they'd tell us much about reptiles but I was wrong about that. It was much morw fin than I thought it would be.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Herp Hunt!

Today we went looking for different reptiles and amphibians. Most exciting was after the long hard search we finally got a hellbender. Afterward we found some salamanders, frogs, and snakes. They were all so cute!

we go to creek and set up a group to hunt a catfish with a tool. I'm sure i got a lot more crayfish than other groups.

Bees, bees, bees!

We visited an entomologist named Beth in the Environmental Science department, and had a very interesting activity about pollinators, specifically bees. We identified some bee species by examining them under a microscope, and had the opportunity to ask questions about the bee population both in Meadville and the whole world. We learned how important insects are as predators, pollinators, and as part of the food chain.

The Night Sky

In the evening, we went to Carr Hall to visit the planetarium to learn about where the stars are in the sky. We learned about what constellations there are in the sky during this time of the year like Orion and Aquila the Eagle. We got to get hands on with some rocks, an earth rock and a space rock that landed in Arizona which was much heavier than the earth rock because it is mostly composed of iron and nickel. After our visit to the planetarium, we headed back to North Village for the night.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Fun in the Sun

Today we went canoeing, the first time for many of us.

We learned about the plants that lived in the lake and how the lake was formed.
Later there was a water fight and one canoe tipped over, but everyone was okay, if a little wet.

Last we had a picnic in the grass next to the lake because it was such a beautiful day.

Recovery In Tamarack

At Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Center, we got to met multiple beautiful birds of prey. We got to see the owls of the same species as the ones we 'conversed' with and briefly saw on our owl hunt Monday. In the center, we were given an inside look to the medical area for bringing some fatally injured birds back to stability. This center, we learned, was also a place for injured bunnies, possums, and turtles. It was a place full of love; love for the birds, love for their jobs, and love for nature and our connection with it.

The Night of Bats!

We went to Bats Crawford. We met Terry Lobdell, who presented information about bats. We learned many interesting facts that some of us had never heard of before. In 2007, in one area there were about 3,700 bats then many died from white nose syndrome; at present there are only about 41 bats in that area. That really wowed me! We hope you understand their importance and not kill bats. You should also know that you do not need to be afraid of bats. You should see bats: they are so CUTE! It was really amazing but a very cold night so many of the bats did not come out of their house!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

finding micro macros

Today in the stream we found macros on the ground of the river by kick netting. It was a bit hard with all the rocks in the way but many of them lived under the rocks so it made it easier for us to find them. But today the current was strong so it was hard to walk to find a good stop for net to go

after dancing around in the water to find the macros we looked through for all the different species of micros that live there. we found out just how healthy the water is by the animals in it. we freed them back in the water but i still never thought we'd find crayfish and especially as many as we did.


At night we all went out looking for owls but sadly we didn't see many. A great horned owl flew by quickly, but many of us missed it. One of my friend did saw a barred owl in the woods. Some of us heard an owl but I could hear it since I'm hard of hearing.

Jennings Park Ranger visit

Today a park ranger visited from Jennings national park. We learned about a coal mine that was active there in the early 1900's. Despite the coal mine being inactive for over 70 years, it is still affecting the stream. We learned that miners struggled a plethora in the work conditions they had. It was really interesting and increased our awareness about Jennings park!

Quick Peek At Campus

We had some time between all our other activities we went to two different buildings on the campus. First we visited some students here working on a solar cell research project. It was really cool to see the way they want to innovate this renewable energy source to make it easier on everyone. However, the other building held things like fossils and quartz. They even had a mammoth tusk and other bones of a mammoth. This building is not the oldest building on campus but it's pretty up there. I liked this because I got to see what was all here.

Water Chem

While working with my fellow campers I had a fabulous time especially taking the time working with Water Chem. I thought it was a fantastic experience working with each other and figuring out different levels of things such as the pH and dissolved oxygen. It was a great deal of fun and I would definitely take the chance to take the opportunity and do it again!

This is Betsy

Meet Betsy, our crayfish Laurel, Naomi, and Sydney caught day two of net kicking.

SHOCKING creek health :)

Today at Creek Camp we visited the upstream site of the creek to conducts tests. We looked at factors such as temperature, pH, and turbidity to determine if the creek is healthy. We also used this information to compare these factors present upstream, to the same factors present downstream. Furthermore, we gathered and documented wildlife like crayfish and hellgrammites, which also help determine the health of the creek because of PTI (pollution tolerance intake). After that, we went electrofishing, which does not permanently harm the fish, but does help scientists observe fish population and movement.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Activity on Beautiful Day!

On the first day at Creek Camp, we were set up in groups. We had to look at a small card with latitude and longitude coordinates that would lead us to different places. We used handheld GPS that had a compass and waypoint directions, and we had to go where it led us.  We then looked for a hidden box with small cards.  The cards led us to another place. Finally, we found our prize!  It was a bag that had swim goggles, towels, a cup, a head light, and  a shirt. It was really amazing and enjoyable!

Kicking it in a Creek

A method to figuring out how healthy a creek can be is to check out the creatures crawling about in the water. And a method to this method is net kicking! We clambered into three feet of a strong current and planted nets in the bottom and kick up the stones and mud on the bottom to force the bottom-dwelling invertebrates into the current, which pushes them into the nets. We gathered worms, larvae, helgrammites, nymphs, and even baby crayfish. Although some of us got soaked pants and a wet shoulder from reaching in the water, it was still super interesting looking at the wiggling beings that thrive in the creek.

Gathering in the lawn

On the first day of Creek Camp, we discovered fun facts about ourselves. For example, some of us have had turtle soup, some of us like to watch Coraline conspiracies, and lastly, everything is all Paul's fault.

A Disscussion: Lunch, College, and Art

On our first lunch all together, we were immersed in abstract art that lined the walls and sat around us. We were joined by Michelle, from the Allegheny Admissions Office, who led us in a relaxed and informative discussion about the college search process. Many of us were enabled to ask questions about her personal experiences with the added experiences of our Creek Counselors. We were greatly encouraged to search for the college of our dreams as well as ones that are worth applying for ourselves.

Fun in the Sand

At the stream tables, we learned all about the geology associated with streams and even got to create our own stream simulations. We talked about relevant terms such as erosion, deposition, meanders and braiding in order to better understand the process and classify the patterns that our stream was creating. We built islands, pools, and even attempted to make a dam out of sand to see how it would affect the water flow. It was a lot of fun as well as a great opportunity to test out our construction skills!

Testing The Water

We took samples of water from the creek and analyze them to see how healthy the creek was. We measured everything from the temperature to the pH to the dissolved oxygen. After many tests we were able to say that the creek was very healthy, was a good temperature, a good pH and plenty of dissolved oxygen.

A Dam Experience

We headed for the Woodcock Creek Dam after lunch and were greeted by a park ranger of the name Joe. Joe was a nice guy and asked us some questions to which no one answered to for a few minutes. He didn't make it easy for us and didn't give us an answer to his questions without giving us few hints. We discussed the importance of the dam being built back in 1973, having three specific goals; to prevent flooding, maintain a healthy environment in and around the creek, and for recreation purposes. We went inside the maintenance room where the crank wheels are for each valve that is responsible for letting water out from the dam into the creek are. The first impression everyone got was, wow this is very underwhelming. After our tour of the dam and our discussion with park ranger Joe, we headed to dinner.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Hey everyone!

I'm Kala and I will be one of your counselors for Creek Camp! I am a rising junior at Allegheny, and I have worked or participated in the Creek Connections program for 9 years! Although, I am a Neuroscience/Psychology major, I spend a lot of time in the creek and exploring the Meadville area. There are lots of cool animals in the French Creek watershed, but my two favorites are beavers and hellbenders! Now, you might be more familiar with one over the other, but have no fear! We will talk about all of these creatures in camp! But for now, I have attached a picture with a hellbender so you can get an idea of how cool (and big) these creatures can be!

Get excited to learn! I can't wait to meet you all!

Hi, I'm Paul! I'm one of your counselors for camp and I just wanted to give you a heads up on the forecast. It looks like we're going to have pretty good weather for the week! It might rain some, but that's not going to stop us! So, remember to keep checking the forecast (because it's always changing) and pack for whatever might come up. Myself and the other counselors can't wait to meet all of you!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Counselors are getting ready!!

Creek Camp counselors finding their way... maybe.  Excited to share the week with all of YOU!  If you have any questions before coming to camp, be sure to contact us.  Hoping for great weather but lots of fun activities planned rain or shine.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Are You Guys Ready?!

Calling all campers! The time for Creek Camp is quickly approaching. Your counselors have an amazing week prepared for you. You are going to meet lots of new people from places all around the United States!

To make this week the best that it can be, you should begin to prepare for camp. It is very important for the campers to bring sturdy close-toe water shoes/sandals. They must secure to your feet. We will be kick netting and walking in rocky creeks, so these shoes are a must. We will be in and out of the water every day, often multiple times a day. We suggest Keen shoes (pictured below) which can be found at a local Columbia outlet or Walmart. Please NO flip flops (only for the shower)!! Furthermore, please DO NOT feel like you must spend a bunch of money on water shoes old sneakers are fine!

Wendy, Laura, and the counselors are so excited to meet you! We hope that you are excited to learn about the French Creek and all the macro-invertebrates that live within it! Make sure that you are well rested and ready for an adventure! And don't forget to check your packing list!

See you soon campers!