Saturday, April 17th, Cub Scout Troop 321 came out to the PHES Forest to do some spring cleaning. Many parents, both moms and dads, came out to help as well. Zachary Smith was a PHES student and now he is a college student. He gave us a hand, too. Zachary and I went to the northern end of the forest. He confirmed that the beavers are indeed downstream from our forest. They actually have two dams. While the beavers are flooding our northern corner, they are making it a more interesting environment. Zachary cut the trail to the water and to the "owl pellet tree". The hidden trail is now clear. Meanwhile, on the main trail and around the shade tree seating area the cub scouts and parents picked up fallen sticks, raked a few areas for print watching, and picked up trash. The sandy loamy soil directly behind the fence held a huge array of deer hoof prints. The 66º weather we started the morning out with was perfect. When we finished it was a mere 74º. Wow! Thanks, scout leader, Mrs. Leigh Owens, Mrs. Larue Tanner, Mr. and Mrs. Mintz, Mr. and Mrs. Newman, and Mrs. Chandler.
Cross your fingers that we do not have any more technology glitches! Thursday, February 11, the fourth graders conducted our "unofficial winter bird count". Fourth graders, it is your turn to send back the data you collected. We read the temperature at our weather station and carefully counted birds. We have had quite a lot of rain. The paths were only muddy in two spots, which were easily avoided. However, the ditches are overflowing. More trees have been flooded. We also spotted patches of red on the grass. The dwarf sundew plants are back in full force. They are carnivorous and are endangered in some areas of the United States. Their scientific name is Drosera brevifolia Pursh. They are not documented in Georgetown County by the United States Department of Agriculture. We need to set the record straight!
On Monday, February 15, my husband went to the forest with me. He has a better eye for clues. He found a sapling (young tree) that a buck (male deer) had been using to scrape his horns. He also thinks foxes are using some of the holes in the forest in logs and dirt mounds, etc. (I thought so!) I found a newly gnawed sapling, which I think indicates the presence of beavers. The hole on the bank of the ditch could contain an animal, maybe a beaver because they also dig tunnels.
This blogging stuff is cool!
Hey! I am sitting in an inservice blogging about our site. Fourth graders went out Thursday and we did an unofficial bird count. More to follow. Hey, fourth graders, help me out.
When I was in the PHES Forest I heard an animal sound. It was not an owl. I thought maybe it was a wounded animal. I just listened to the National Geographic site's beaver page. Check out this site: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/beaver.html
That is the sound I heard!
Well, this has really been a cold winter. Today, however, the temperature warmed up and things have thawed out. I visited the forest today and was very pleased that the path is completely clear. The ditches which border our forest on three sides are full and overflowing the low-lying bank. The northernmost corner is still hard to navigate and get through. I was able to get close but could not see if the beavers have returned. I think it is quite likely that they have. If the banks continue to be flooded we will lose some more small trees.
Because most leaves have fallen I was able to see through most areas. I saw some scat which could have been fox. I also saw a woodpecker. I didn't have my bird book, so I can't be sure which kind it was.
I can't wait to get out there again!
Second graders released their newly emerged butterflies last week. It was a sunny day and their wings were flapping fuiously! We had just added some "butterfly bushes" next to the goldenrod that was already growing wild! There were already yellow and multicolored butterflies visiting! The second graders' butterflies were glad to be free!
Today I introduced my 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade Green Team members to the PHES Forest. We used the GPS to find the way to our Number 1 cache site. (This is part of Geocaching, a hobby in which people look for GPS coordinates to find a geocache or treasure chest.) Along the way their assignment was to find things that did not belong. The list included:
fruit drink paper
candy bar wrapper
bubble gum wrapper
pencil (Oops! Must have been left from last week.)
potatoe chip wrapper
vinyl from a house
So how did those things get in there?
Wow! What a week we had in the PHES Forest last week during spring break! Our new stone benches were installed under the large oak tree just outside of the forest. They look great! Mrs. Dean and I did some real exploring. We found evidence of at least one owl. How do we know? Owl pellets- that's how. When an owl eats an animal it digests the nutritional parts but reguretates (coughs up) the hair and bones in a nice neat little packet known as an owl pellet. If we dissect it we can tell what the owl ate for that meal. We also found evidence that beavers lived in the area before. How? Glad you asked. We found several fallen trees that had been gnawed down. We looked and listened for birds and other small creatures. We can't be sure but we also believe there might be foxes there. We were hoping to avoid wild hogs or bears. Maybe the coolest thing we saw was a geocache hidden there. Cool beans! (Geocaching: a hobby, which utilizes Global Positioning System units and the great outdoors.)
Hey, you guys are now so famous! Mrs. LeGette and I attended the National Science Teachers Association Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. We told science educators from around the United States and Canada about our very own Pleasant Hill Elementary Forest, how you have located and identified many species of plants and animals, and that you blogged about it! Way to go!
Mrs. LeGette and I learned a whole lot of new things! We can't wait to share!
Mrs. Legette's class wrote...
Hunter: I smelled horse sugar. It smelled bad. My nanny plants horse sugar. I go outside and smell the horse sugar. The nature trail grows horse sugar.
Jada: I saw a spider. It was furry and it was gigantic. It was black.
Dawnjana: I saw an insect. He was yellowwith dots all over him. He was pretty.
Dayshawn: I like the bee. A bee live in the hole. A lot of bees live in the hole. 20 bees live inside. It is good. I like bees. People like the bees. Some people like bees too much. I saw a red sundew. It strikes a fly on it.
John Edward: I saw a woodpecker. I saw a gum tree.
Joseph: I saw a sun dew. A fly was on it. It was going to get eat. It was stuck.
Shaniya: I saw horse sugar. It smelled good. It smelled sweet. Do you like horse sugar? I like horse sugar on the nature trail. Everybody was happy.
Jack: I saw a lot of things on the nature trail that I went on which were fun. And I like the paths and the signs so much.
Josh: I saw a woodpecker. He was pecking the tree. He had red on his head and black on his body. That was cool. His beak is hard as steel! Cool! Peck, peck, peck, peck, peck!
Justin: I found a bush with thorns. I took a sample of it. I felt the thorns and it hurt a lot! The bush was full of thorns. I didn't know what the plant was called.
Zane: I saw a pine tree. I smelled like yoke. It smelt good. I saw a bunch of weeds. It was green and some was black. I saw a bunch of grass. I liked the grass. It was green. I was on the nature trail. I like it. The pine tree was my favorite thing.
Corey: I saw a flower and its name was yellow jasmine! I went to it. It felt soft and twirlee. It was on the ground. I shook it but it didn't make any noise and I smelled it. It was sweet also it was yellow. I like yellow jasmines.
?: I saw a honeysuckle. It was seet. I like it. And I saw a horse sugar. I felt a horse sugar. And I felt a horse sugar. And it was hard. The honeysuckle felt soft.
Mrs. Donna LeGette's Class wrote:
Meghan- It was fun! We went in a cave. I saw a bird. We saw a centipede. I took a camera and took pictures.
Jordan- I saw this long plant and green leaves on it.
Joseph- I saw a centipede and it was fast! I saw a turtle and it was swimming. I saw a fish and I want t eat it!
Matthew- We like it and I saw a bird and a lg that I thought had termites in it. Joseph saw a turtle. We saw a centipede and a fish!
Dashawn- I like the centipede. I like it so much but I can't see it because it is so tiny.
Justin- I saw a centipede and a beetle. It was cool. We went across a ditch.
Minaijah- I saw a bird. The body color was blue and the hill was black. And I saw a beetle under the log. And I saw a spider web. The beetle was black. And I saw a turtle. I had a good time.
Zane- I saw a bunch of trees. I saw a centipede. It looked cool. I had a good time. I saw a turtle.
Tracy- When I went out in the woods I saw a woodpecker. It was pecking wood. Meghan took a picture of it. And she was the photographer.
Corey- I saw a bird. It was little and it had a bill and wings.
Shaniya- I saw a woodpecker on a tree and it made a hole.
Jack- I went in the woods and I had fun. My friend Johua and I lifted a little log and we saw some bugs under the log.
Dawnjana- I saw a bird in the tree. I like the bird sound. We had fun with the teacher. We had fun with Mrs. Jolla in the woods. We crossed over the ditch in the woods and we had fun.
John Edward- I saw a squirrel. I saw a little bird down the tree. We saw worms.
Josh- I saw a centipede. It was little. It was under a log.
Mrs. Dean Owens' students wrote:
Tabbitha- I had lots of fun and I got to see lots.
Keri- We went in the woods. I saw a bear cave.
Janna Grace- We went by the playground. We went by the tree. We went by the ditch.
MacKenzie- I see the tree and the bird.
Aaron- I saw a ditch and a tree. I saw a bird.I saw my ditch. It is muddy.
Harm- I saw the bear cave. It had sticks.
Zhanae'- I saw a fence and a tree.
Mrs. Kaylea Haselden's students wrote:
Hannah -My favorite part of going to see the outdoor classroom was being able to draw; but jumping the small ditch did get my shoes dirty.
Savanna -I liked drawing the map to show people where to find our cool trail.
Zane -Seeing the squirrels in the tree was my favorite part of being outside.
Kevin -I really liked jumping the small ditch to get to the trail.
Normazaia -I liked seeing where our outdoor classroom is going to be.
Carron -I liked the hike when we got to jump over the ditch.
Tayana -I liked when we were able to sit outside and draw the trees next to our nature trail.
Jabore -Drawing and sitting outside on the ground was lots of fun.
Dominick -Sitting on the ground and drawing was my favorite.
Mikey -My favorite part was jumping over the ditch with water in it.
Tory -I really enjoyed being outside and jumping the ditch to get to the nature trail.
Darnell -What I liked most of all was all the animals that we will see with our outdoor classroom and the fun activities we will get to do.
Malique -I really enjoyed drawing the different fields and paths for people to travel and see all the animals.
Devin -We drew maps for the nature trail.
Chanya -I loved drawing the trees to help show where to find our nature trail.
Darius -I enjoyed being outdoors; I just didn't like the spider that I found on me too much.
November 10, 2008
It is fall in our forest! As I walked down the path I saw a small turtle moving toward the water. In the mud near the water were huge deer footprints. Three small trees had been used by a buck to scrape his antlers on. I am anxious to have students study the changing seasons here!