Friday, April 6, 2012

Keji and holidays in Canada

After our data session and lunch we headed off to Keji again to do the seaside trail and hopefully see some porcupines. Dr. Newman was confident we would see some, but as you can see, I did not get either pictures or even a glimpse of one. We did see some seals out on the rocks. The beach at Keji looks almost tropical from a distance, but it was cold and windy! I took some pictures of the seals but it was so cold and my hands were shaking so much holding the camera, they look fuzzy.
On our way back, Dr. Newman had promised the group he'd stop at the dollar store for them--but the mall and everything else was completely closed. In Canada they take their holidays seriously and stores don't stay open. I actually think that is a great idea so that retail employees can spend time with their families on holidays. What do you think?

camera traps

These are some pictures from the camera traps.

5th graders: I've got your answer!

When we were skyping Wednesday, you asked me a great question that I could not answer but I promised to asked the scientists. You asked if the climate change was affecting plant life. Chris tell me that yes, it does affect plant life. As the climate warms, the deciduous tress (hardwood trees like oak , maples,etc) would be advantage over the conifers (pines, balsam, furs). However, people are intervening to keep planting the conifers. do you know why? It has to do with economics. Those quick growing conifers are sold for lumber, pulp, etc., and generate dollars faster than the hardwoods.


Today we are spending the morning looking at data! Scientists use mathematics to interpret data--in fact I've heard math referred to as the language of science! I am always surprised at how useful math can be to tell us about our daily lives. When you think about it you're using math and estimating almost constantly as you estimate how much time it will take to get from the computer lab to your locker and then to class in the morning (without being tardy!). Math also helps (a lot!) when you are trying to buy something at the best price. But if you're going to be a scientist, math is a must and not just adding and subtracting, but algebra, too! I don't think anyone would ever say algebra is useless if they could see how if helps create formulas to understand animal distribution and make predictions. Today we'll find out how to figure out abundance and distribution over time of the animal population.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Survival Skills

I certainly hope none of us ever get lost, stranded or have to try to survive on our own. Minnesotans are usually pretty savvy about being prepared with adequate clothing and never setting out without letting someone know your destination and ETA (estimated time of arrival). However, I thought you might want to see some of the survival skills Chris showed us--here he is setting a trap to catch a small animal--this time for dinner not research.

This evening we went to a pond near Chris and Christina's home and sat on cushions, at the edge of the pond, watching for beaver.

taking in the traps--and one last mouse!

Today we took in the traps--whew! That meant up and down the hills several times, then we spent an hour building habitat piles. Our traps were productive--here I am holding a mouse, and the video shows the process of carefully removing a vole from the trap. After lunch Chris taught us some survival skills. He told us to remember "PLAN": Protection, Location, Acquisition and Navigation. That is what you need to consider if you get lost or stranded (of course if you have a cell phone, and you can get a signal, you'll probably be fine).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

fun skyping with you today--I am very proud of you!

It was great to skype with you today and you guys totally rock!! I often hear that Americans don't know anything about geography but you knew where I am, where Nova Scotia is and could even tell me what surrounds Nova Scotia! Awesome!
I was also so impressed with how many of you are concerned about the environment and climate change and your proactive approach. The conservation measures you are taking do make a difference. It is going to be important to share your ideas with the entire school community. I just read Mr. Schollmeier's latest comment and as usual he is right on and ahead of the curve! The frac sand controversy in our area is a great (an unfortunate) example of resource depletion and the cost of trying to secure cheap energy.