Friday, June 28, 2019

After Lunch Creek

Right after lunch we traveled down to the Ravine. Here is where we tried our best to find Salamanders and Crayfish in the shallow water. It was a nice way to relax after lunch, but still have a good time. We were able to find a few critters, and trees, that were amazing.

Herp Intro

Today our group learned about amphibians and reptiles with April Claus. We talked about the native species that live in the area. April brought out some of the species that live in the area and let us hold the animals.

Carr Den

The garden outside of Carr Hall is known as the Carr-Den. This is a very interesting part of the campus, as it is a produce garden that sells its produce to the dining service on campus, or Meadville's Mobile Market.
There is also a "pink house" where some plants grow year round, as well as an aquaponics room. This is where a closed system using fish waste as fertilizer, and the plants filter the water for the fish.

Ice cream social

On our last full day of camp, after an afternoon of holding snakes and amphibian and snake hunting, we got a chance to try out a local ice cream shop. It was really good, and a really nice way to end the night.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Fish Research

Hello its Joe again and this will be my last blog post! Creek Camp is coming to an end and it has been so awesome! Earlier today we examined some fish and other macros under microscopes and learned the huge lengths taken to understand fish habitat and behavior in general as well as around invasive species. 

Fun with forestry

Yesterday my fellow campers and I were able to have a hands on experience with some trees on Allegheny College campus. We were able to use some forestry equipment such as the Biltmore stick to get an approximate measure of the number of board feet in a tree and its individual value.

Water quality robot tester!

we got to see a robot live in person that is built to test water quality, we got to control it  and make it manuver around the pool! it was created by students!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

French Creek

French Creek is an important part of our local watershed, and many valuable species of animals and plants call that part of our community home. The water was to fast to enter at the time of our visit, however, we still observed a few traces of wildlife, like small fish and tadpoles.

Owl Pellet disection

Today we dissected owl pellets since it was raining, not exactly what i imagined we would be going there to do but it was still a blast!we also learned about the owls that live in Pennsylvania and learned their hoots and toots!

Sugar Lake

Today we went to Sugar Lake to canoe and learn about the plants. Brian pilarcik showed and talked about the invasive species of plants that floated on the water. We also visited a beaver lodge and learned about how the beavers feed in the winter when the ice freezes over.

Kelly's Otters

After lunch, we met up with Kelly Pearce, a biologist who focuses on Otters. She sat with us outside and talked with us about the different Otter species and their habits. We compared River Otters and Sea Otters. Kelly told us just how different these two Otters actually are. Then, we went on to examine fish scales and bones that were left behind by Otters after they enjoyed their meals.


Right after breakfast we headed out on sugar lake for some canoeing. It was actually my first time going canoeing, and even though it took me a while, I got the hang of it. We learned about some of the plants, saw and heard some of the cool wildlife, and even had a little water fight. Going out on the lake then having a picnic right beside the water was a nice, relaxing and cool way to start the day.

Bat Watching

For a late night activity we visited with Terry Lobdell. He is a self-taught bat expert for the area. Using his own knowledge, what he has observed over the years, and some reading; Terry has developed his own bat boxes where you can actually open up the back and see them roosting. After he shared some of his findings, we waited around for dusk to watch the bats fly out. The bats that flew out of the boxes were Little Brown Bats. However, there were already Big Brown Bats flying around the sky. Inside the boxes, even after the bats have left, the pups were still inside; we were lucky enough to see some that night.

Abandoned mine drainage

Today our group talked to Miranda Crotsley to discuss abandoned mine drainage and what the effects have on the environment. We talked about the natural filters that help get rid of the iron in the water coming from the mines. We learned about how the old mines in the area are now leaking iron contaminated water into streams and creeks. This effects the aquatic life and the plants in the surrounding area but biologists figured out how to use natural filters to change the levels of iron in the water.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Hello! Its Joe again, and I am going to talk to you about Electro-Shocking. Today in Woodcock Creek my fellow campers and I participated in an activity called Electro-Shocking where you use a low dose of electric voltage to "stun" fish and other aquatic organisms to make it easier to capture and observe them. In this activity Mark Kirk taught us about different fish species in Woodcock Creek.

The Macros of Downstream Woodcock

In downstream Woodcock creek, there are many diverse creatures to be found. Many of them, however, cannot be seen. These are often aquatic worms and larvae of creatures, as well as nymphs and crayfish (adults and young). These critters often serve as bio-indicators for things like the amount of pollution in the water.

Today (as well as identification of macros, which are creatures that do not need to be seen with a microscope) we tested features of the water, like pH, dissolved solids, and temperature.

Engineers talk

We were thankful for being able to meet two people, Amy and Carl, from the corps. of engineers who were there to test the conditions of the water. They talked to us about how they test the water, what they look for to tell the health of the water, and they even told us how they got into the job positions they found themselves in today. Seeing their equipment and how it works was really cool, and knowing how they got there will really help me when picking my college major.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Woodcock Dam/Lake/Creek

            Hello I am Joe Lindstrom and I'm going to talk about our experience at Woodcock Dam today. Mr. Joe Arnett Woodcock park ranger (aka the Lone Ranger) gave us a tour of Woodcock Dam inside and out and showed us just how the dam works. We got a detailed description of all of the parts involved in the dam as well as why it exists.  Remember the three main goals of the dam, to prevent floods, to allow low flow augmentation, and lastly to support wildlife and recreational activities.

Stream Table: The Flume Room

The stream table. 
A magical land of limitless possibility.
 A perilous land capable of limitless destruction.

In the depths of the geology department of Allegheny College lies a stream table, a pit of sand and flowing water that allows for a look of how water bends through land (meandering) and how water may carve its path through soil (erosion). By creating dams and paths for the water to travel, we witnessed the power of water in a sped-up scale (normally the process would take thousands of years) of water's amazing journey through our watersheds and our world. 

campus geocaching

me and my team putting in a set of coordinates
As a first true activity, it was kinda fun. Geocaching is where you get a set of coordinates, plug it into a compass, and search for a little prize. In our case, the prize was often another set of coordinates, until we got to the end to find a bin full of drawstring bags with a lot of special goodies inside. It allowed us to see a lot of the campus and to stretch our legs a bit. I also enjoyed the freeze pops afterward. This was really cool, and I might even try it at home.

Water Chemistry and Macros

Today our group went to the creek upstream from the dam. We tested two samples of the water to measure the pH, dissolved oxygen, alkalinity, etc. After we finished the testing, we kick-netted. We used nets attached to pole to catch aquatic macro invertebrates and studied them to determine the ones who had pollution tolerance and who were intolerant. We were able to do this by counting how many of a species was in a sample.

Admissions Lunch

Today during lunch, us campers were joined by Jason Andracki. He is the the Associate Director of Marketing and Communications here at Allegheny. While we ate he told us about the college we're staying at and what it has to offer. Taking it a step further, Andracki explained how one should go about selecting a college that is a good fit personally, even if it is not Allegheny. He sat with us and answered our questions about applying for other colleges, as well as questions about Allegheny. Overall, it was a very informative lunch.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Introducing me: Willa! hey

Hi everyone!
I am one of the counselors for Creek Camp! I am a rising junior at Allegheny College, but am originally from Bainbridge Island, WA so I love being around water and exploring the mountains near my home. I am super excited to meet all the campers and get to participate in a bunch of activities with them during the week. I can't wait to be out on the water and show the campers all the cool critters we have in our creeks. See you all soon!
This is me crying while seeing my very first prairie dogs.

Creek Connections Intro!

Hey Guys!

My name is James and I am one of your Creek Connections counselors this summer! I am a senior at the University of Pittsburgh graduating this upcoming December. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pa and I have loved the outdoors my whole life. My family has a cabin in Pymatuning where we have spent countless summers out on the lake and in the streams exploring our little piece of heaven. Creek Camp is a great opportunity to get active in the outdoors and a chance to learn from professionals on a wide variety of topics. Its gearing up to be an awesome action packed week that we have planned for you all! I hope you are all looking forward to it as much as we all are.

Heres a picture of me (in the blue wet suit) and my brother (yellow wet suit) from our certification dive in Gilboa, OH.

See you soon!!

Friday, May 31, 2019

Boogey Shoes for Creek Camp!

Hi all!
I don't know about you but I am getting super excited for Creek Camp! I've been busy practicing my frog calls and macroinvertebrate identification so I've been pretty busy. While watching videos online or reading pamphlets have been helpful, nothing has been better than going outside and using my senses to help improve my knowledge. One of the most important things for hanging out by streams and will be super important for you as campers is to have the proper footwear so you can maybe get a little muddy and still protect your feet. That is why you should invest in a good pair of shoes for Creek Camp, from now on known as your boogey shoes. My boogey shoes are sandals with adjustable straps and most importantly, a backstrap. You can see it in the video down below where I'm able to get my shoes a little messy but my feet are secure. Water shoes are another great option for boogey shoes. I can't wait to see all your boogey shoes in a few short weeks!