Hi! My name is Ms. Dosmann. Please travel with me to Nova Scotia to study Climate Change and Mammals.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 13 - Final Day in Cherry Hill

Weather: cold, a mixture of rain and snow
Temperature: 20s and 30s

Well, today was our last day at the Green House in Cherry Hill. We woke up to our final breakfast of eggs and bacon. After breakfast, Dr. Chris helped us go over our data from Week 2. Scientists have to spend quite a lot of time working with numbers. They use the data they collect to make hypotheses about the world. Using the data we collected, we calculated that there are probably 21 deer and 9 red-backed voles living at Cook's Lake. We also made a list of all the species we studied while here in Nova Scotia.

After the data talk, I had some time to video chat with Ms. Curtis and Ms. Stiffend's classes from Toomer. They asked some great questions. The 5th graders created alliterations, similes and metaphors about the expedition.

I also video chatted with Miss Corey's first grade class in West Lafayette, Indiana. Miss Corey is my cousin. Those first graders were definitely thinking. They asked questions about insects, animals and the weather. Thanks for your thoughts!

After lunch and skype sessions, we decided to brave the rain and snow mixture and head to the seaside. It was our last excursion and we didn't want to miss anything. Plus, I had yet to see a porcupine and Dr. Chris this was our last chance. So, we all piled in the van and made our way to the Kejimikujik Seaside Adjunct. Lycos made himself comfortable on my lap for most of the ride. Can you imagine having a 90 pound dog sitting on your lap? That's more than most of you weigh!

We spent the next two hours hiking along the path at the Seaside Adjunct. Even though it was freezing cold and snowing, we had a great time. It felt wonderful just to be outside. Plus, we saw some beautiful scenery and neat things along the way. This is a picture of a sea urchin. Raccoons and seagulls like to pull open the urchin and eat the meaty inside.

Long ago, the land around the sea here used to be used to raise sheep. People cut down the forest here to make room for sheep grazing pastures. It is no longer used to graze sheep. Now, it is a protected wildlife park. Nothing grew back on the land. This is the remains of a shepherd's shelter from long ago.

As we were walking along, I was always on the look out for porcupines. I looked for any field sign I could find. I knew that porcupines like to hide in trees, so I looked up. I also looked up to find any branches that they had eaten. I looked down to find droppings. Boy, did we find some droppings! Look at this massive pile of porcupine droppings. Thank goodness I did NOT have to count them all!

This is me, signing off, live from the field in Nova Scotia. I can't believe how much I learned on this expedition. I have a renewed sense of the importance of taking care of our earth and feel so much more connected to the natural world.
I want to thank several people for making this expedition possible for my students and me:
  • HSBC in the Community (USA), Inc for sponsoring me. Without your generous donation, this would not have been possible.
  • Dr. Newman and Dr. Buesching for being excellent PIs and teaching me so much.
  • My team: Suzanne, Yuma, Alison and Candice. You made all the work so much fun!
  • My students for working so hard during this project and all year, not crying (too hard) when I left for two weeks and for doing a GREAT job thinking like scientists. I hope that you will all go on many scientific expeditions of your own in the future!
  • My students' families for encouraging a love of science and learning at home and for being so supportive of this adventure.
  • Dr. Jones and Dr. Hall for being encouraging leaders and for supporting the expedition in so many ways.
  • Toomer Teachers for visiting the blog, including your students in the expedition via technology and for picking up the pieces while I was away.
  • Mrs. Fannin for assisting with technology and helping with press releases and media coverage.
  • Mrs. Clarke for ensuring my students did not fall behind in reading while I was away.
  • Ms. St. Joy and Mrs. McCrary for making sure there were no technological difficulties. Video chatting worked perfectly!

And, the last person, I cannot thank enough...

  • Ms. Hanes for taking care of my students while was away. I could not have left for two weeks without knowing that my students were safe and learning. I couldn't have done a better job if I were there myself. Thank you so much!

Day 12 - Last Day at Cook's Lake and Beaver Watching

Thursday's weather: Sunny and Windy
Temperature: 30s-50s

Today was our last day at Cook's Lake. We checked our traps for the final time. We caught the same pregnant vole, another pregnant vole and a new vole. After doing the math, we calculated that there are probably 9 voles living at Cook's Lake. While we were collecting the traps, Ms. Suzanne found a tuft of hare fur that was caught on a thorny bush. It was very soft. Here is a picture:

After collecting all the traps and writing up the data, we carried the buckets of traps out for the last time. We said goodbye to Cook's Lake and drove back to Cherry Hill.

When we got back, it was time to skype with some of the best scientists in training in the world... YOU! You asked thoughtful questions and were so polite. Thanks to all the adults that helped get the skype sessions set up!

Remember when the "Bat Lady" Ms. Alison showed you the skull of the tiny pygmy shrew? Well here is a close up picture. You can see its teeth.

After video chatting with you, Dr. Chris taught us how to survive in the wild. Here I am using sticks and string to make a fire. Why would a person need fire if they are caught out in the wilderness?

After survival training, we had some free time before heading to the lake for beaver watching. It was a beautiful day, so Alison, Yuma, Suzanne and I walked down to the shore. It was only a five minute walk to the beach.

Beavers are nocturnal animals, so we had to wait for evening to come and the sun to almost set before going beaver watching. Not everyone that goes beaver watching gets to see beavers. Dr. Christina was hopeful that we would we see a beaver because the weather was nice. We bundled up and drove to the lake. When you go beaver watching, you have to sit very still and be very quiet. If they hear you, they may go back into their lodge and hide. Inside of a beaver there are usually several beavers. The are two adults, the mom and dad, two older cubs from last year and any new cubs. Cubs live in the lodge with their parents until they are two years old. When we got there, the sun was still out, but we sat still and waited.

We waited until the sky turned darker. The moon was a beautiful waxing gibbous We had our binoculars and cameras ready. We waited and waited in silence. Ms. Suzanne and I started to giggle at one point, but had to cover our faces. It's difficult to be still and quiet for so long! We just hoped it would be worth it.
Just when we started to think we weren't going to see any beavers, we noticed a fat body and a round head moving through water. The beavers were out! We watched them go in and out of their lodge for an hour. They brought back sticks sometimes. There were two cubs, a mom and a dad. Dr. Christina told us that the cubs were probably from last year. Can you see the beavers in this picture? There are two. It is much easier to see them using binoculars.

Well, tomorrow is our last day in Nova Scotia. I am starting to feel to sad to leave, but I am also very excited to get home and see you!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thanks for your comments!

How long will your flight be to fly back to Atlanta on Saturday? (from Taylor)
To get from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Atlanta, Georgia, it will take a whole day. We leave Cherry Hill around 9:00 a.m. and drive to the airport in Halifax. My flight leaves at 1:45 p.m. I will fly from Halifax to New York. In New York, I will get on another plane that will take me to Atlanta. Once I get into Atlanta, around 10:00 p.m., I will ride MARTA to the train station in East Lake. My friend Mr. Peter and Maggie will be waiting! It will be a long day!

How is an ermine different from a weasel? (from Patriciea)
I am going to have Dr. Chris explain this answer to you during our video chat today.

Have you found any more voles? (from Dianco)
Today we caught the same pregnant vole again! She must really like the traps. We also caught a new male vole. Today was the last day for the Longworth traps, so we will not catch anymore voles.

Do you think that ermines are cute mammals? (from Jawuan)
The ermine was very cute! Sometimes it's hard to remember that the animals are wild and not tame. They are so cute, you want to touch them and pet them, but that is dangerous for humans and for the animal.

Could you please bring back some Canadian money for us to see? (from Patriciea)
I will definitely bring back some Canadian money for you to see!

Are you bringing back anything to share for ''show and tell''? (from Ms. Dalton)
I'm not sure what I can bring back without getting caught in customs, so we will see!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 11 - Two New Sightings!

Weather: Rainy, cloudy and chilly (between 30 and 40 degrees)

5th graders: I tried to use some similes and metaphors in my post today. How did I do?

Today was as exciting as winning a trip to the super bowl! We got out of the van at Cook's Lake and walked down the path to the research site. After all the rain yesterday, the path was a river! We walked mainly along the sides, but sometimes we had to walk right down the middle.

While we were walking along, I noticed something moving across the path. It was gray, had long legs, long ears and a bushy tail. It looked a lot like Lycos, only slimmer and gray. It was a coyote! When it heard us coming up the path, it jumped into the forest as quick as a fox. Only Ms. Suzanne and I were able to catch a glimpse of it from behind. Maybe it has been this coyote leaving all the scat on the path. I couldn't get my camera out in time to get a picture, so I googled one for you instead. This one looks a lot like the coyote I saw.

Next, we continued down the flooded path to the research site to check the traps. Ms. Suzanne found a trap that felt different. She saw a pink nose inside and the trap felt heavy. A vole does not have a pink nose and it is not heavy. We thought maybe it could be a flying squirrel or chipmunk. Dr. Christina said we had to be careful because we didn't know what it was, so she took the animal out in the bag. Watch this video to see what happened:

Later, Dr. Christina wondered if it really was a weasel because it was so large and had a funny tail. Weasels are smaller and have short tails and this creature was larger and had a tail like a paintbrush. She called Dr. Chris to get his input. He said that it was definitely an ermine. I had never heard of an ermine. What can you find out about an ermine? Here is a picture of the ermine we found in in our trap. You can see his paintbrush tail.

After we let the ermine go, we went on another field sign transect. Remember, that means we walked down a trail looking for clues that animals live nearby. Can you remember some of the field signs we look for? Walking down the path today was like walking on a soggy sponge. Here is a video to show you what it was like:


Well, I'm as a tired as a sleepy baby, so I'd better get to bed. Tomorrow is our last day in the field. I can't believe it's almost over!

Thanks for your comments!

First, Ms. Stiffend's class, I am as alert for your similes as the coyote was for us as he jumped into the woods today.

Great science starts with a question... and you asked some GREAT questions today. I'm very impressed!

Vole Babies - How long does it take to have a vole baby?
I had to go ask Dr. Chris about vole babies to make sure I get the information correct for my inquisitive students. Baby voles grow in their mother's tummies (this is called the gestation period) for 18 to 19 days before they are born. Voles have litters of 3 to 6 babies at a time. They get milk from the mother vole for 14 days after they are born. Then, when they are 4 weeks old, they can go out and make babies of their own. Remember that voles do not live very long in the wild, so they have to reproduce (make new babies) very young. How does this compare to humans? You could do a great Venn diagram to compare.

Cow Skull
Zora got it right! The cow was shot. You can see the hole in his head. I'm not sure why the cow was shot. Good detective work, Zora!

Checking the traps twice
Ciara was close on this one! The reason we check the traps the twice each day is to make sure the small mammals aren't in the traps too long. Like Ciara said, it might be too cold or the animal might not have enough food. Some animals get very scared in the traps and this can be bad for them. The scientists are careful to only trap the animal long enough so that they can collect data and then release it into its habitat alive and well. Nice work!

Deer Antlers
Great work! One use for antlers is protection. If a buck (a male deer) is threatened, it can use its antlers to protect itself. Another important use for antlers is to show other deer who is the biggest, strongest and healthiest buck. Only the strongest buck becomes the leader of its herd. This buck passes on good traits to his young. Big antlers show that the buck is healthy, strong and smart. Bucks with small antlers won't mess with a buck with bigger antlers. It's kind of like people. A skinny little guy isn't going to mess with a big, muscular man! So, that's why antlers are so important. Pretty neat.

I can't wait to read your comments and questions tomorrow! Only two more days left in the field...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 10 - A Rainy Day at Cook's Lake!

Hello from a windy, wet and cold Cook's Lake Research Site! It rained the whole day and was very cold. I was very glad that I spent a small fortune on rain gear before I left. I wore my rain coat, my rain pants and even borrowed some rain boots. Luckily, the only parts of my body that got really cold were my hands. Ms. Suzanne's gloves got so wet, she could wring them out! Dr. Christina forgot to put on rain pants and was soaked to the bone in her jeans.
Despite the rain, we had traps to check. Why do you think it's necessary to check the traps two times each day no matter the weather? So, we walked through the forest on the soggy ground. Here is a video to show you what it was like:


Well, it wasn't the jumping mouse I was hoping for, but we did catch another red-backed vole! This was an important catch because she was a pregnant vole. Dr. Christina could tell because the vole had a round tummy and she had teats to feed her babies. We didn't get to weigh her because the bag had too much water on it, so we couldn't get a good measurement. Dr. Christina used scissors to give her a clip mark. If she is caught again, the clip mark will tell us that she is a recapture. We tried to hurry because the rain was getting in her eyes and she was getting wet. So, we took this mama vole back to her habitat and let her go.

Next, we did four deer dropping quadrats. That means we looked for deer droppings in four 10 by 10 meter squares. Ms. Suzanne was very observant and noticed something moving at her feet. It was a tiny common shrew. A shrew is like a small mouse with a pointy nose. Look one up, if you want.
Can you guess what we did next? Probably not... It was so cold and rainy and we were so wet that Dr. Christina said we should drive to town and warm up with some hot soup and a cup of hot chocolate. It was wonderful! We went to Tim Horton's coffee shop and got lunch. When we got there, we all went in the bathroom and used hand dryers to dry our clothes and warm our hands. After warming up, we had to go back to the site and check the traps before dark. We didn't catch any more small mammals.
The yucky part is that tomorrow is supposed to be even colder! Wish me luck and hope that we stay warm. No one ever said that being a scientist was going to be easy!

Thanks for your comments!

So, you were right about this one! This is a white tailed deer skull. You can tell because it has antlers. Antlers are interesting. Did you know that only male deer have antlers? Do you know why? They also shed their antlers each year. Do you have a guess about why they do that? When the antlers grow back in the spring, they are covered with a fuzzy skin called velvet. When the antlers are all grown in, the deer rub the antlers against trees and shed the velvet. If you are interested in white-tailed deer you can research more about antlers in the library or on the internet!

This one was tougher. It is not actually a deer skull. It is a cow skull. That is why it is so big. Can you see the horns? If you look closely, you can also figure out how this cow died.

This is actually the jaw bone of a white-tailed deer. You can see its teeth. Do you have a hypothesis about how this deer died?

Great job researching bobcats! I can tell you worked hard. A bobcat is a member of the cat family. It is large and can climb trees easily. If you like bobcats, think about more questions yo have about the animal, then look up the answers on your own.

I also love that you are having so much fun and learning with Ms. Hanes. She has done an excellent job of helping you research and think carefully about the questions in our blog. You should give her a big hug each day to thank her for her hard work. You should also kiss your brains for learning so much about mammals. I miss you all and can't wait to skype on Thursday. I will be home in Atlanta late on Saturday night. I am very excited to see Maggie. I will see you on Monday morning, bright and early!

Day 9 - Monday, Cook's Lake

Today we went to a new research site. Dr. Christina's family owns some land around a lake that is further inland than East Port Medway. Inland means that it is away from the coast. This means we get to see a different habitat for small mammals. A different habitat means there might be different animals. Why might the species of animals change when we move to a different habitat?

On the long drive to Cook's Lake, we had a great surprise. We saw a bobcat! It was the first bobcat that Dr. Christina has ever seen in Nova Scotia. What do you know about bobcats? We didn't get our cameras our quickly enough, so I googled a picture for you. Later that day, we saw other field signs of bobcats. We saw fresh (within half an hour!) bobcat scat, a feeding site and even some bobcat tracks. It is rare to see bobcat scat because they usually bury it, just like a house cat. Can you hypothesize why a wild cat might bury its scat?

We hiked to our research site down a long trail. Along the way, Dr. Christina showed us some field signs she has found in the area. She had us guess what we thought they were. I'll post them here and let you hypothesize. What animal do you think these skeletons came from?

After the long hike, we arrived at the research site. This site was less rocky than at East Port Medway. Part of it was like a field of hay and then it turned into a forest. We prepped and set the 100 traps again. Dr. Christina says we might catch woodland mice, jumping mice, red-backed voles, chipmunks and squirrels. I want to catch a jumping mouse. They have extremely long tails and large feet. Dr. Christina says that more of this type of mouse survives the winter. They aren't sure why yet. Do you have any hypotheses why having a long tail and large feet would help a mouse survive better?

Look below for answers to your questions. You have been doing a GREAT job commenting!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thanks for your comments!

Many of you commented on my question about whether or not Josephina is a smart vole for getting caught three times. I can tell you were really thinking. There really is no right or wrong answer to this question. She may have just happened into the traps three times or she might have thought it was great place: safe from predators, full of food and warm. You came up with both hypotheses. Brilliant!

You also thought about why the organic farmers cut the trees down with a chainsaw instead of a large machine. I was impressed with your thinking. Elizabeth said that she thinks the farmers use chainsaws to avoid cutting down the little trees. She is right! The loggers want to have all ages of trees in the forest so that they can always log and the forest will always have trees. Ms. Dalton's students said they think this type of logging is also safer for animals. They are also right! The loggers are careful to keep some trees around for animals to live in. They even leave some dead trees standing for woodpeckers, squirrels and chipmunks. Payton mentioned that using a chainsaw saves energy. She is right as well! A large machine will use a lot of gas and pollute the air. A horse-drawn cart does not. Great job on this question, thinkers!

Amerie asked about people hunting animals. That is a great question. People all over the world hunt animals to kill them. This is okay when it is done in the right way. Native Americans hunted animals and never caused problems. They used each and every part of the animals they killed, from the skin down to the bone. Hunting becomes a problem when people hunt too many of one kind of animal or when the animals suffer. Some animals are endangered because of hunting. In Nova Scotia, some animals, like beavers and flying squirrels, are protected, so hunters are not allowed to hunt them. Other animals, like deer and snowshoe hare, are okay to hunt because there are lots of them here.

I can't wait to read more of your questions tomorrow! Nice work today!

Day 7 - Saturday, Halifax

On Saturday, we were given a day of recreation and free time. The scientists drove us to a city called Halifax. The city is located on an inlet off the Atlantic Ocean. Look for it on the map of Nova Scotia. We visited the famous Halifax Citadel, the Maritime Museum, a fun candy store called "Freak Lunchbox" and then walked around the docks to find a place to eat dinner.

At the museum, I learned about two important events in the Halifax's history. The first was a tragic explosion in December of 1917. Two ships collided, or ran into each other, and exploded. The entire city caught fire. Halifax's citizens rebuilt their city. They are strong and determined people. The other event was the crash of the Titanic. Halifax was the first city to respond. They helped many survivors. The people of Halifax have a rich history as a port city.

My favorite thing about visiting a new city is seeing all the different people. There were people singing and playing instruments on the street. We stopped an listened to them play. There were children climbing a large wave. Tugboat captains were bringing in large ships from the ocean. Other visitors milled around to see the sights. I hope you visit Halifax one day!

Here are some pictures from our day in the city:


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 6 - Friday

It was so much fun skyping with you on Friday! I hope you enjoyed meeting Dr. Chris, the scientist, and Ms. Alison, the "Bat Lady." They are both from England. Zora and Marie, great job getting on the blog over the weekend! Marie, we did capture Josephina for a third time. Do you think that makes her a smart vole? We are going to talk about the hare data tomorrow, so I will let you know how many hares there were. Great question!

On Friday morning, we checked our traps for the final time at the East Port Medway Research Site. My team captured two more voles! We named them Joe and Jack. They were both male red-backed voles. This time, it was my turn to take the vole out of the trap. Joe weighed 15 grams and had a clip mark from last September. That means a team of scientists caught him last year. He survived the winter.

Next, we came back to the Green House to skype with you! You asked intelligent questions about voles and mammals. I was impressed that you thought about the questions beforehand and were so prepared. You are on your way to being scientists!

After skyping (and lunch, of course) we drove to an organic tree farm. Did you know that Nova Scotia used to do a lot of logging? The New York Times used to be printed on Nova Scotia paper. We learned about a folktale logger this year. Do you remember his name?

A farmer named Mr. Tristan showed us around the farm on a horse-drawn logging wagon. We learned that this farm is special because the farmer chooses not to use large machines to cut down trees. He cuts down trees one at a time using a chainsaw. Then, another logger hauls the tree onto a horse-drawn cart. The horses carry the logs to piles. These farmers are very careful to only cut down certain trees. On their farm, each section of land has baby trees, young trees and old trees. This helps to make sure the forest will have plenty of trees forever.

Why is it important that these farmers are using old-fashioned ways to cut down trees? How is this helping to save the earth?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 5 - Checking Traps, Hare Dropping Counting, Looking for Field Signs

Well, we checked our traps twice today. My team didn't catch anything. The other team caught just one vole- two times! And Guess who it was? That's right, Josephina. We have caught the same vole twice. She weighed more each time. Can you guess why?

After checking our traps this morning, we went to count snowshoe hare droppings. Look up the difference between a hare and a rabbit. In the video, I call them rabbits, but they are actually snowshoe hares. Dr. Buesching explained the difference to me. Here is what it looks like when we count hare droppings:


My team of Ms. Candice, Ms. Suzanne and I also went on a 2 and half hour hike today looking for "field signs." We looked for signs that small mammals live nearby. Scientists have to be very observant and use all five senses. We looked for tracks in the mud, dens or burrows, fur, droppings and markings on trees. We also listened and looked for animals. Here is what it looks like:


I can't wait to talk to you guys today on skype. Have some questions ready that you want to ask me. We will also have a guest speaker!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 5 - Checking Traps, Hare Dropping Counting, Looking for Field Signs

Hi! I’m glad you are learning about mammals! You are right, mammals have back bones and they give birth to live babies. They also have fur or hair and feed their babies with milk.

You were all right about the bag! We use the bag so that we can see what we are doing and so that the voles or mice do not escape. You were also correct about the spring scale. You are really thinking like scientists!

Here are answers to some of your questions:


Is the time different in Nova Scotia? It is one hour ahead here. So when you go to DI at 9:20 a.m., it is 10:20 a.m. here.

What is the green house like? The green house is cozy and nice. I have my own bedroom. There is a kitchen, a dining room and a living room. Upstairs there are bedrooms and a bathroom.

What does the vole eat? Great question! Voles eat seeds and grasses mostly.

Whose dog is it and what is its name? The dog is Lycos. He belongs to Chris and Christina, the scientists. He is like a giant Maggie. He makes me miss Maggie!


How can you tell how old Josephina is? Excellent question! The scientist can tell that Josephina is an older female because mostly because she lived through the winter. Also, she has had babies, so she must be older.

Here are some questions from Ms. Dalton's D.I. Class:

Dianco – Nice question! We also count droppings, survey areas for signs of mammal life, count the trees damaged by porcupines, set up cameras to take pictures of wildlife and watch beaver dams. There is lots of work to be done!

Taylor – I’ve been lucky! The weather has been in the 40s and 50s and sunny each day so far. Most of the snow has melted now.

Patriciea – I miss my kids so much! I love hearing from you on here and can’t wait to skype tomorrow!

Jawuan – We have also seen porcupine, otter and snowshoe hair droppings.

Journey and Amerie -

Who named the vole Josephina? My trapping partner, Ms. Candice, named her Josephina. What should we name the next one?

Johnvonte – Wonderful question! We trap the animals to learn about them. We measure them, weigh them and mark them. This tells us if they are healthy, have food, are making babies and how many voles live in the area.

Thanks for the great questions! I miss you!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 4 - Checking Traps, Dropping Counting and Porcupines

So, you think they were deer droppings? It was smart to guess a larger mammal because the droppings were large. Good job! But, the scat had bone in it and deer only eat plants. So, it couldn't be a deer. Do you have another guess? Tell me why you think it is that animal.

Today we had to check our traps. The traps have to be checked two times each day so that the animals aren't in there too long. We had to walk through the woods and check all 50 traps to see if the doors were closed. If a door is closed it means there might be a mouse or vole inside. Do you think we caught one? Watch this video to see what it looks like when we checked our traps:


Well, it turns out that we DID catch a small mammal! It was very exciting. Dr. Buesching showed us how to handle the animal so that we don't hurt it. We had to collect lots of data on the vole. We weighed it, found out if it was a boy or girl vole, clipped its fur and then ran it through a maze. Here are some pictures:

First, Dr. Buesching put the trap in the bag. Why do you think scientists use a bag like this? Next, she opens the trap.

We found a nest in the tunnel. The vole made it overnight.

Next, we weighed her. Do you know the name of the tool we used? We have one in our classroom. It is a scientific tool. She weighed 19.5 grams.

And here she is! This is Josephina! She is a red-backed vole. She is old and was lucky to live through the winter. Isn't she cute! Maybe tomorrow my partner Ms. Candice and I will catch more voles and even a mouse!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 3 - East Port Medway Research Site

Hello! Thanks for your comments yesterday. Did you like the slide show?

Dun ta Dun... Ms. Dalton's students were the Poo Masters today! They guessed that the droppings were left by either a fox or a coyote... They were right! The droppings were left by a coyote. You can tell because there are small mammal bones inside and it looks almost like a dog pile. Way to go Poo Masters!

We had a long day today. First, we made "coats" for the mouse traps. We wrapped styrofoam around the trap. My job was to tape the pieces together. They called me "Duct Tape Girl." The foam will keep any trapped animals warm. If small mammals get cold, they will die quickly. We also put lots of food in the trap. When animals eat, they stay warm.

Next, we drove in the van to the East Port Medlock Research Site. This a woodland area. We worked in teams to place the traps in the woods. My partner was Ms. Suzanne. She is an 8th grade teacher in Boston. We put 50 traps in the woods. The scientist told us to "think like mice" so that we would know where to put the traps. Watch this video to see what it was like.


Comment (or write in your journals) about this: If you were a mouse or a vole, where would you go? What would you do?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 2 - Broad Cove

Thanks for your posts yesterday! Zora, I'm glad you had fun in DC. I'm happy you are all enjoying Ms. Hanes and learning so much. The weather is pretty cold here, about 40 degrees, but it is very windy. The wind makes it seem much colder, especially on the coast. I wore 3 layers of clothes today to keep warm. Here is a picture of the house we are staying in and the room where I sleep.

I have so much to teach you about scientists, mammals and Nova Scotia already! Today Dr. Buesching taught us about the work they do as scientists. She told us about all the mammals we might see and trap. Here are some of the mammals: bears (but they are hibernating now), skunks, racoons, bobcats, deer, voles, mice, shrew, chipmunks, porcupines, coyotes, mink, fox and moose. Do you know what makes a mammal special? If you get time tomorrow, look up mammals on google or in an encyclopedia. You can post me the answer when you figure it out.

In the afternoon, we went to Broad Cove to look for signs of animals. We walked along the shoreline for 6 miles. It was rocky, sandy and muddy. We didn't see any live animals, but we did see lots of signs that animals were nearby.

We saw lots of scat (poop) on the walk. Dr. Buesching can tell what kind of animal left the droppings just by looking at it. I'm getting better, but so far, it just looks like poop to me. Hopefully, I will get better. I took pictures of all the poop for you, don't worry!

Here is one pile. It is white because it was bleached by the sun over time. Can you guess what animal left it? Here are some clues: 1. This is a large pile. It's about the size of your fist. 2. If you look closely, you can see fur and small bones in it. 3. It is one of the animals on the list above. Talk about it with some friends. Post me what you think and tell why.

The other volunteers and I are going to play scrabble for a while before bed. I will email Ms. Hanes to set up a time to skype this week. Probably on Friday around 10:30. I can't wait to talk to you! When you post today, make sure you tell me what kind of scat you think this is. You can also ask me questions.