The Trailblazers Blog

We give our Trailblazers the opportunity to pursue their own outdoor interests, whether they enjoy nature journaling or want to learn how to use a seine net and identify local fish.

 

Adventurous Naturalists Part 1

May 29-June 1

Camp Week Summary:

Campers in our Trailblazers group delved into the wonders of the natural world. A favorite activity was digging up worms and feeding them to our resident turtles- then observing the turtles to learn more about how each captured live prey and ate. Collecting organisms outside for further observation was also a critical component of camp. 

Slugs were caught and taken care of for a few days, to learn more about how they move, what they eat and how they breathe. One camper noticed both on the slugs at home, and the ones found at Blue Heron, that there was a hole on the right side that could open and shut. We wondered what the hole was for. We knew on our own bodies that holes could be used for breathing, smelling, or waste- what one or several of these options was the hole used for by a slug? This process is exactly what a naturalist does: explore outside, collect, make close and careful observations, and ask lots of questions to eventually come to answers (and usually more questions) about the natural world and how it works. The hole on the side of the slug, by the way, is called the pneumostome and is how the slug breathes.

Another favorite adventure came at the end of the week, when campers were able to visit a small pond off Nancy Creek and catch tadpoles and small fish that had observed swimming. We also began to notice many other interesting creatures living in and around the pond, including a wolf spider and water striders. Unable to reach the center of the pond where the really big tadpoles were, the group decided to set a fish trap the next day. It caught a tadpole, which unfortunately died when the group was unable to return to the fish trap soon enough due to a large thunderstorm. Events like this open up discussion around ways we can responsibly trap and release animals when we want to study them further, and teach us about how our actions impact the world around us. Next time, we might set the trap for a shorter period of time or use a different method to catch tadpoles- saving the fish trap for fish only.

Many great naturalists of the past (like John James Audubon, who shot and collected the birds he was creating paintings of) killed numerous animals in order to study them more closely. When an animal is killed unintentionally during our explorations (we squish and ant or spider or roly-poly, one of the slugs we collected dries out, or a tadpole stays in a fish trap too long), we can think critically about how we want to act in nature without making children feel guilty for wanting to uncover answers to their questions or for making changes and alterations to the world around them. 

 

Discovering New Worlds Part I

June 4-8

Camp Week Summary:

Campers explored the many different habitats of Blue Heron this week, and discovered the unique wildlife that can be found in each.  One of my favorite things from the week was when I was able to join the group for a pond exploration. 

We got ready to get wet and mucky- and splashed into the pond that most of us just look at from our parking lot bridge.  In the pond we found that we could sink in mud up to our knees, and we had to learn different ways to move our bodies in order to explore. We found a dragonfly nymph that was HUGE and looked like a green fish. We also got to stick our fingers into a big raft of very sticky frog eggs.  Large and small tadpoles were caught, along with several small minnows- although most things got away from us.  We heard and probably scared several Green Frogs, and dragonflies buzzed all around us.  This type of immersive exploration is incredibly joyful, and they type of experience we know grows a love and respect for the environment.

Children also noticed some trash in the pond, and we were able to clean some it out and remind ourselves that we need to bring along a trash bag!  Of course, this week was full of exciting encounters with nature. We also found salamanders, tons of insects, watched birds fly all around us, and got up close and personal with the water in Mill Creek when we enjoyed jumping off an old tire that is in the creek. 

 

Water Ecology Part 1

June 11-15

Camp Week Summary:

There are so many ways to explore water ecology, and this group seemed to find a way to explore them all!  From setting up "transpiration bags" on trees throughout the Preserve, to playfully exploring Nancy Creek and beginning to wonder about the temperature, water quality, and organisms that lived within.

After walking part of the creek on our first day, and turning over rocks and digging in creek mud to look for living things, campers began to ask questions about the creek. This led to setting up thermometers to monitor the creek temperature at various points.  Rainfall changed the look and feel of the creek overnight, and this inspired children to want to study why the water was cloudy- which they learned was called "turbidity".   

Campers learned how to use a secchi disk, and measured the turbidity in different areas of Nancy Creek and Mill Creek.  They also began to explore depth, and at first used non-standard units of measurement to estimate the depth of the stream at different points.  Boats were built, and sticks sent downstream to see how fast the water moved. We even spent time in the community garden! Can you think of how this might connect with water ecology? 

My favorite part of this camp was the paired activity between Great Blue Herons and Trailblazers.  Both camps learned how to make and read trail signs. Then, our older campers blazed a trail and set out trail markers for the Great Blue Herons to follow. We all hid at the end, and waited for the younger group to find the signs we left behind and eventually find us!

We love when our camp groups can work together, and enjoy being outside together.

 

Survivor: Green Edition Part I

June 18-22

Day 1: We started off the week brainstorming ways we could go green! We set up recycling and reuse bins in our camp room, and began creating solar ovens from found materials. We took a river clean-up bag with us when we walked Nancy Creek, and one of our campers found an old percolator.  Thinking about ways we could reuse our found object, we ended up creating beautiful art by pushing paint through the percolator! We really enjoyed seeing the textures and patterns that were created using this non-traditional tool to paint. 

Day 2: We love visiting the creek, and make the most of it when the water quality is good for exploration. We did another creek clean up today, while searching for interesting wildlife and rocks. We even found a rock like object that we could draw with- we called it "nature's crayon"! 

During the afternoon, we decided we needed to try our hand at outdoor shelter building. We created a small tipi for the children's garden from sticks, bamboo, and twine. 

Day 3: We have so many caps from fruit squeeze pouches. We decided to put them to use and make mosaics and designs to add color to the Children's Garden. We used hot glue to attach the plastic caps to the sides of raised beds, and made flower designs. When the Little Blue Herons camp came to visit, they pulled them all off! So we are going to have to brainstorm other ways of adding our designs to the garden. We really enjoy doing this type of experimental, trail and error, thinking. While we worked on our cap project, we also set our solar ovens out in the sun with thermometers inside. We monitored how hot the ovens got in degrees Fahrenheit. Some of the ovens were well over 100 degrees by the time we were ready to break for lunch! We think they will cook our bananas well, but some of us are going to add more materials for absorbing the heat to make sure our ovens cook even if we don't have full sun.  

Since we have a small camp group, we got to have a special visit with the box turtles in the turtle sanctuary today too. We each got to sit down and touch and hold a turtle. It was an incredible experience to get so close to these interesting animals! 

Day 4: We blended camps with the Great Blue Herons today, and made trail signs for the younger campers to follow! Before going outside, we helped the younger children learn how to recognize trail signs and what each trail sign meant. Then we went out first and made up a trail for the younger campers to follow. We hid at the end of the trail and waited for the younger group to find us! We also showed the younger group our solar ovens, and helped them make their own so that we can all cook bananas tomorrow. 

Day 5: Today we put our solar ovens to use, and discovered that our designs really could cook bananas and chocolate (Yum!). We used our survival skills to hike up to Emma Wetlands and enjoy a morning of discovery at this new site. We saw "mesocosms", tanks where the Amphibian Foundation is raising endangered species of salamander. We also met with Blue Heron's Projects and Operations Manager, Brooke Vacovsky, to learn about honeybees. She manages several bee hives at Blue Heron, and we got to pet a honeybee and learn about hives and queen bees! To our surprise, we got to watch a froglet in our aquarium in our camp room. A Great Blue Heron camper brought it inside for us to see, and then release at the end of the day!  

 

 Trailblazers Give Part I

June 25-29

Day 1: We came up with so many ways to give to Blue Heron and the people who visit, today! We began building an outdoor obstacle course for the Little Blue Herons, to help them develop gross motor skills and explore more parts of the woods. We also decided we should do some projects to beautify the Children's Garden. When our creek walk plan got cancelled due to afternoon thunderstorms, we painted rocks with bright colors for the garden. Once the all clear was given for outdoor play, we played the game "Predator vs. Prey" in the woods! 

Day 2:

Day 3: Today we helped the Little Blue Herons explore the obstacle and sensory trail we created. They balanced, crawled under and through, dug up pinecone treasures and buried one of the little children up to his neck in the sand! We had so much fun being mentors to the little kids, and we made friends in the process!! Later, we got to help Blue Heron's Project and Operations Manager, Brooke, remove honeycombs from frames and clean honey off.  Brooke maintains honeybee hives at the Preserve, to help ensure our native plants and the community garden have pollinators!  Our hard work earned us a special treat- tasting honey fresh from the honeycomb!!! 

Day 4: Today, we focused on helping in the community garden. We pulled up a lot of weeds and invasive plants, and learned about some of the problems that invasive plants pose in the landscape. Our lunch had to be specially delivered by Alternate Camp Director, Lauren, while we sought shelter from a big storm. It was exciting to watch the storm and think about how it was changing the landscape and the waterways at the Preserve. After the storm, we raced sticks at the dam and marveled at how much faster the water was flowing. Then we cooled off by painting decorative gourds that were donated to camp by a community member!! 

Day 5: Today, we celebrated our week by hiking to Mill Creek and enjoying watching the waterfall at the old mill dam. We squeezed honey out of fresh wax, tracked a Great Blue Heron, and we caught minnows and tadpoles to put in the camp aquarium.  The minnows and tadpoles are a wonderful addition to the camp room, and will help future campers learn more about the wildlife at the Preserve!! We really enjoyed a full week of Giving Back to Blue Heron and making a difference for wildlife, children, and our community! 

 
bioblitz1.jpg

Georgia Bioblitz

July 2-3,5-6

Day 1: Our goal this week is to find and identify as many living things as we possibly can- and we have already discovered so many living things that are new to us!! We are looking under rocks and logs and leaves, watching up in the sky, and even taking a peek in the aquarium that was set up for us by the Trailblazers Give week last week. We noticed a very tiny tadpole in the tank, that must have hatched out over the weekend. We also can't identify one of the minnows in the tank, it wasn't in Blue Heron's fish i.d. catalog. So we may have found a new species to add to the list of fish found in our creek!! Our search for living things inspired us to create our own animals, and we finished the day making imaginary animals from clay. They have different adaptations to help them survive- like a big tail that can be used as a built-in awning to keep the imaginary animal shaded on hot days!  

Day 2: On Tuesday we fed box turtles in our Turtle sanctuary, practiced mindfulness in the forest discovering trees, the life on them and around them, and pondered why one pine tree had such a deep wound while we were thinking about that, we found a beautiful inch worm crawling up it and explored the life cycle of an inchworm. We walked up The Mill Creek Trail to find a beaver carcass that had been decomposing for a few weeks, hopeful that it was ready for us to collect. It will be ready for us on Thursday and we will collect it. We don't know why the beaver died, but we can use it's wonderful bones to learn more about beavers! While we were exploring that trail, there was a beautiful red tail hawks circling and calling out, so we got to learn about its voice and how it's soars.

By Tuesday afternoon we had identified 31 animals 10 trees, we have a lot more trees to identify, 16 plants and two fungi. We did find more life, but on one walk we forgot our tally sheet that we are considering adding mosses and lichens because they are so interesting. With our 2-day tally pretty close to 60, we decided to take the afternoon off to work on our imaginary animals and play. During our play we discovered so many animals!

Day 3: We celebrated discovering over 100 species of living things at Blue Heron Nature Preserve today! 

Day 4:

 

Adventurous Naturalists Part II

July 9-13

Day 1: On Monday morning, we discovered a really weird insect. We researched and found out it is probably a shield bug baby. Apparently, they can bit pretty hard! We took a long lunch so that we could spend time in our camp room making our very own solar ovens. We made them from recyclable items that we found in the recycling bins around the building. We created many different designs and are going to test them in the sun to see which ones heat up best. We'll put thermometers in our solar ovens to see just how hot they can get! During our afternoon outdoor excursion we thought about different adventure and obstacles we could create for the other camps. We sat down on the edge of the creek, and relaxed to the sound of the water. Then we got the idea to make mud pies!! We discussed a mud pie competition, and brainstormed the best mud pies we could imagine. We thought it would be neat to make pies with different colored layers, or that had good smells, or maybe even mud pies that hold special surprises inside of them!! 

Day 2: 

Day 3: We enjoyed playing with the Little Blue Herons campers today! We helped them find treasures we had hidden along the trail, learn about insect pit fall traps, and play in the creek. We even used our inflatable pool to give the kids raft rides in the creek.  We put our solar ovens to the test, and made amazing banana and chocolate chip gooey treats! They turned out so yummy, and we enjoyed sharing them with others.  After enjoying our treats, we spent some time answering one of our campers questions: "If you had a nature super power, what would it be?" 

 

Day 4: Today the Trailblazers went to our Emma Wetlands site. Here are some of their comments from a day spent outside:

"This was the best day ever!"

"Wow! We were out all day! Now I feel like a REAL naturalist."

"I liked walking to Emma, the stream, and the tadpoles." 

"The mud was fun when I was in it and gross when you got out. It was really fun!"

"The mud was the good kind of disgusting!" 

Day 5: Today we were all about water and mud! The creek called to us and we loved playing in it. We explored more mud and discovered how quickly we could sink down to our knees or lose a shoe! We saw lots of tadpoles and small fish in the small puddle near the mud, and noticed that some of the tadpoles had back legs. In the creek, we skipped rocks and enjoyed climbing the downed trees. Some of us made up our own dance/climbing routines for going up and down the trees! We even made up our own music to go with the routines. Others found driftwood and large rocks and built a small foot bridge between two sand islands. It took us some trail and error before we could make it work, and we enjoyed learning how hard it can be to design and build a structure. We stayed by the creek to enjoy our lunch outside, before heading back for a few early pick-ups! Our smaller afternoon group decided to use the pictures from all the other weeks of camp to make camp picture albums to share with others coming to camp. 

 

Discovering New Worlds Part II

July 16 - 20

Day 1: 

To start off the morning, we did a whole lot of fly catching! For some reason, there were/are a ton of house flies in the Trailblazers classroom. The kids saw this as a challenge, and used our bug catchers to catch as many as they could. We released some, some were swatted, and some are still hanging out in our bug catchers. The group is very interested in learning more about the flies.  One child wondered why they rub their two legs together, how they eat, how they drink, and if they have a mouth.We are also curious to see if the flies we kept in the bug catcher will reproduce- and what the life cycle will look like. 

We didn't spend too much time in the classroom- because we wanted to get outside to discover new worlds! We started building our base camp, the place we will discover from, at a favorite spot in our woods. The children also decided they needed their own forts, or  "Me Forts/My Forts" as one camper named them, near the climbing tree.  We added wood floors, fire pits, and began painting flags to go on the me forts. We  also talked about creating satellite camps at the other sites that we visit. Something else we did outside was create a mud slide, that ends right close to the little pond off of Nancy Creek. They love exploring the world of MUD!! 

 

We had a short closing meeting at the end of the day to talk about what we enjoyed, and what they want to do again.  We want to work on base camp more, and the Me Forts. We want to check out the world of mud more,  and we are also getting super excited to go to Emma and explore the wetland world. 

Day 2: Today we started the day by talking about flies a little more. We made some observations (one camper  noticed that the flies “stick their tongue out to eat”) and we caught some ants and noticed that they had pincers. One Trailblazers decided that she would give the flies water by leaving wet paper towel balls in their container so they could pinch them and squeeze out the water!

After fly time, we headed outside where we added to their “my forts” and planted their flags. We went to the mud slide where we saw a young copperhead in the water. It was pretty cool that earlier we had been inspecting the poster inside our building that helps us identify copperheads and tell them apart from other snakes.  Since the Trailblazers knew what to look for, they were able to identify it themselves! It brought up some good discussions about being outside amongst many different living things, and how learning about the different plants and animals we live with can help us keep each other safe- we realized it is our job to keep the snake safe too, just as much as keeping ourselves safe. 

After lunch we had originally planned on getting out to the meadow but a last minute change was made to play capture the flag and a communication breakdown game. We talked about definitely getting to explore the world of the meadow tomorrow. We were really excited about the idea that we could explore in the tall grasses off the trail a bit :)

Day 3:

We went to Emma today to explore the world of the wetlands! We decided to not take any supplies with us, because we wanted to just play and explore. We decided it could be a "scouting" expedition, and after discovering the different worlds through play, we could then make a list of tools we wanted to bring on our next visit to take our discovery one step further! Our morning of splashing in Mill Creek, turning over rocks to find invertebrates below, seeing how many skips we could make a rock take (one camper got well over 10 skips on one throw!!), and trying to catch fish in our hands taught us so many things. We realized we needed buckets to put our invertebrates in so we could take a closer look, we also wanted good fishing nets to make it easier to catch the many fish that swam right through our hands, finally- the next time we visit Emma we want to have hand lenses so we can better see that tiny animals we catch. 

 

During the afternoon, we decided to return to base camp and played capture the flag. At the end of the game, we had some disagreements over what the rules of the game were. We played a group discussion game called "Rose and Thorn". Each of us shared a positive thing about Capture the Flag, and a negative thing. We realized through this discussion that we really had so much fun playing together- we just wanted everyone to know the rules.One camper had an excellent insight. They said that we all were having trouble with the rules, because we had all played the game at different camps and those camps had different rules. We realized that we needed Official Blue Heron Capture the Flag rules, and our Trailblazers are going to write them! 

Day 4:

We started in the Comm Garden catching butterflies and holding them in our butterfly tower. We caught plenty of skippers, a few cabbage whites and a gulf fritillary. One camper was very into journaling our notes and documenting what was caught, and we were so happy to have someone helping us conduct our field research! Two other campers ventured into the meadow adjacent to the Community Garden, to catch butterflies in a world that looked different from the neatly arranged garden.  They soon noticed that there were often different types of butterflies and other pollinators in the wild native plants.

After working up a sweat in the full sun of the meadow and garden, we went back to Nancy Creek and crossed near our Riparian Field Education Center. The creek was so nice and cool, we ended up walking up the creek to the island where we met the Great Blue Heron camp. We spent the rest of the morning there skipping rocks and making new mud slides.

After lunch we were originally planned to head up to Emma but the weather report made us a little hesitant. We opted to go back to the Meadow Field Education Center. We ventured deep into the grasses where we made the COOLEST forts! We used pieces of grass to tie taller plants together to make huts. We were so surprised how fast it cooled down in our huts once they made their own shade. We did cut down one or two of the bigger plants and found that the thick stems were hollow! We talked about using them as pan flutes or blow darts :). We watched fish in the water from the bridge. We even dropped in a rock and we watched the fish gather to the spot looking for food! We went home dirty, sweaty and with strict instructions to do a tick check!

Day 5:

We all wanted to do our second trip up to the Emma Wetlands, this time with gear for catching fish and invertebrates. We packed our bags, grabbed some fish nets and buckets, and made the hike up to Emma. On the way, part of our group saw a white-tail deer! When we arrived at our Wetland Field Education Center, we decided that before getting soaking wet in our stream- we should also check out the interesting world at our Land O' Lakes site. This is one of Blue Heron's newest bits of land, and there are bee hives, a Field Research Center, a native plant meadow, and a wonderful woodland to explore. There are also a bunch of really big tanks, called mesocosyms, that hold endangered amphibians. We lucked out during our trip, because Mark Mandica- the Executive Director of the Amphibian Foundation- was there checking on some of the salamanders in the tank.  We got to see him release a few new ones into a tank, and then helped him look for some Tiger Salamanders in another tank.  One of our campers found one hiding under a leaf- and then watched as it quickly moved under a big rock. We discovered that the Tiger Salamanders have a big burrow under the rock in that tank- and we couldn't imagine how many might be under there! 

We spent the rest of the morning in Mill Creek, and discovered so much aquatic life in this really interesting world. We caught dozens of fish, and watched dozens more get by us! We found the perfect area to look for salamanders, and were able to catch 3. We realized just how slimy and quick they are when we tried to catch them. One salamander took three of us nearly 10 minutes to catch. We really had to work together to come up with a strategy to get it. We also caught several tadpoles, one even had back legs. When we packed up to leave, we decided to take a few of our animals back to our camp classroom tank. We agreed that the salamanders were too sensitive to being carried in a bucket, and returned them to their little pool. We picked 3 fish we thought would do ok, and one tadpole, and carried them back carefully.  

To end our Friday, we played Capture the Flag- and we wrote the new BHNP camp rules. Each Trailblazer camper got to go home with their own printed copy of the Blue Heron Nature Preserve Official Capture the Flag Rules. Future camp groups will get to play by these rules!! 

 

Water Ecology Part II

July 23-27

Day 1: Our group was eager to get started with their adventure this week, and quickly packed up for a big hike up to our Emma Wetlands property! A 15-20 minute hike away from our main site, Emma Wetlands is an area Blue Heron is working to restore native plants and animals to.  Mill Creek runs through it, and our resident beavers are most active in this area.  It is the ideal place for exploring water ecology.  We explored several different areas of the creek, and began to notice color differences in the water. We wondered what could cause them? The depth of the water, chemicals in the water, organic material?  We learned about turbidity, a measure of how cloudy the water is, and the different things that could cause Mill Creek to be very turbid as opposed to clear. We have a tool called a Secchi Disk that can measure turbidity- and we are excited to learn how to use it! Of course, skipping rocks and playing by the creek were a must.  While we were skipping rocks, we noticed an interesting lump on one of the rocks. Then we noticed that it was squishy- and that it was moving! Turns out, we found a leech!! We were all impressed by the size and the color pattern on the leech. We observed how it moved, and that it would flatten out its body and be still if we "tickled" it.  We decided to bring it back to our camp room in a bucket of water, so that we could learn more about it! 

Our group is also working on a book for the week. We are creating our own characters (some of them might even be superheroes), and illustrating the book. It will tell the story of our camp week at Blue Heron! We are excited to share it with the whole camp! 

Day 2: Our leech had babies!!! 

Day 3:

This morning, we worked on our nature journals, our camp book, and some nature poetry. Our scientific illustration skills are tremendous, and we have drawn diagrams of our camp leech- complete with labels of the body parts as we have observed. We decided that since we learned leeches are sensitive to light, we need to keep our leech in a dark area. It is now living in the bathroom, in a bucket with stream water, and we keep the lights off as much as possible. We are still wondering if the babies hatched from eggs that our leech laid, or if there is another story to their birth. We have not found anything to tell us much about the leech lifecycle in our current camp books, so we will have to keep doing research. 

Our outdoor exploration was centered on walking around the pond at Blue Heron, and setting bug pitfall traps.  We dug holes in the ground in several spots, and put jars into the holes. The hope is that bugs will walk into the jars and get trapped. Then we can collect them and see what sort of invertebrate life is living near our pond. We wonder if the life supported by plants on the edge of the pond will be different than what we found near Mill Creek. 

Before going around the pond, we paused on the bridge in our driveway and watched how fast the water was moving down the spillway. Some of us tossed leaves into the water, to see how fast they would move. Then we got the idea to try sticks- and then we got the idea to dam up the water with our sticks. We worked together to carry big sticks to the bridge and toss them in. It was exciting to throw a big stick, watch it land, see if it would break, and see if it would effectively stop the water. We wonder if the sticks will be there tomorrow! 

While on our walk around the pond, we observed tons of grasshoppers of all colors and sizes. We also paid attention to the birds we were hearing, and the incredibly tall plants!! Many of the plants in the meadow near the pond are several feet taller than us, and when bent over, they can make nice huts. 

Lawson chose a group game for us to play, called Lighthouse. The Lighthouse player has to help a blindfolded Sailor find the way to the exit, without running into the Flotsam and Jetsam players! The game requires good communication and listening skills- and our Sailors had to be ok with army crawling along the ground to go under the waving arms of the Flotsam and Jetsam! 

In the afternoon, we pressed leaves that we collected outside. Some of us made abstract patterns, while others of us created leaf characters. One character was an alien from a planet in another galaxy (Zorclax?!). It could take on the shape of a tree. Nature invites us to invent and create so many interesting ideas! We also challenged our physical skills by climbing up a steep, rocky hill. We learned to use tree limbs and roots to help us climb, and to lower our center of gravity to prevent a big fall. Some of us scooted down on our bottoms, others found a long and low limb to use like a rope. They held onto the limb, and climbed down backwards- just like a mountain climber. 

Finally, we started an experiment with colored water in our classroom. We are watching the water move through the paper towels that are dipped in different containers. We wonder if the colors will mix, and how the water will move from place to place. 

Day 4: 

We worked on painting some beautiful and educational signs to go outside at the Preserve. They were inspired by us noticing the litter that was near our waterways. We are concerned about how the litter impacts the quality of the water, and the plants and animals that live there. We have discovered so many wonderful living things this week that we wanted to do something to make a difference. Our signs help remind people to take care of the plants and animals and water at the Preserve! We are making them big and brightly colored so that people will see them and read them. We hope it will encourage people passing by to not throw out their garbage, or to pick up litter if they see it on the street-before it gets into the water! 

Day 5:

We had an amazing last day of camp! We found the perfect places to put our Community Education signs.  You can see them from Roswell Rd. and Lakemoore Drive. Slow down as you pass by and take a look- plus, you will be helping the wildlife all around the Preserve by driving more slowly! 

For a Friday treat, we went to Blue Heron's  Eidson Mill trail and explored the waterfall.  We tried to catch minnows with our bare hands!! It was really hard- they would swim up close to us, but as soon as we moved to grab them, they would get away. We imagined we were Great Blue Herons trying to catch fish, and stood as still as possible, but we all agree that we need a lot more practice to be as adept as herons! One of our campers decided to use his water bottle as a trap, and managed to get a fish to swim in!! We all had fun checking out the water bottle fish before we released it. We also continued up the stream, away from the waterfall and past an old Grist Mill dam to our Emma Wetlands property.  We found animals tracks in the sand, and a great spot for catching salamanders. We got three very quickly! We noticed that they still had external gills- just like the axolotols in the tank in the Burrow classroom.  We also noticed an orange, rusty looking substance in some of the puddles near the creek. We found out that it might be an iron-oxidizing bacteria which is not harmful to fish life or us- and is naturally present in slow-moving areas of streams and will probably get washed away in the next big rain! 

When we came back, we brought a beaver skull with us! It was interesting to see what the skull of a beaver looks like, and to see the big front teeth! We also discovered that leeches don't like acid, before we decided to release our leech and all the babies into the pond. We wonder what will happen to all of them!? 

 

Survivor: The "Green" Edition part II

July 30-August 3

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

Day 4:

Day 5:

 

Trailblazers Give Part II

August 6- 10

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

Day 4:

Day 5: