Monday, June 25, 2012

Exploring the intertidal zone

The tides were exceptionally low in the middle of the day during this program and it granted our students an opportunity to explore and identify fascinating organisms present in the intertidal zone.


Students watched a European garden slug eating a dead mole.

Students watch owlette fly to its parents

Here's a short video clip of what students experienced during the owl telemetry lesson with our resident scientist Stan Rullman.

Tuesday and Wednesday postcards

Dear members of Teams Marsh, Pond, and Wave. We hope you have a chance to read this blog while you're at home or school. Throughout the week, we'll keep posting more pictures and postcards you recorded while you were at IslandWood.

Teams Rain and Bog, stayed tuned for your audio postcards and letters to yourself!

IslandWood misses you!

Postcards from Team Marsh:

Postcards from Team Pond

Postcards from Team Wave

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wind in the Trees and more

Yesterday, Team Wind focused on forests. They studied the trees as well a few of the animals that call the forest their home.

Wind worked with Stan, our resident scientist, to get some experience with dendrochronology (the science of understanding the history of a place, such as climate and fire history, by comparing the growth rings in trees). In the above photo they are shown taking a core sample of a tree.

Later that day they dissected an owl pellet in our lab classroom to determine what owls eat and tried to reconstruct a skeleton using the tiny bones they found inside.

Team Wind is shown here transplanting some squash and tomato starts into bigger containers with more room to grow. When the weather is a bit warmer, and the plants stronger, they'll be moved into the garden beds.

Later this day, they will continue to study soil and compost by looking at the food chain that exists within soil under a microscope and "dissecting" soil to determine each ingredient that makes up this amazing stuff.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Eagles and Sea Stars and Frogs, Oh My

Team Rain really got lucky yesterday! For one, they got to see and hold a Pacific Chorus Frog, a small, loud and elusive tree frog.

This team also got to hang out at Blakely Harbor during one of the very lowest tides of the year. It's only during these very low tides that we get to see some of the amazing animals that live in the intertidal zone. They saw sea stars (seen in photo), limpets, sculpins, anemones, and much more.

Of course, there are always the unplanned teaching moments that often bring out the most excitement. here you see a student looking through the spotting scope at a juvenile eagle in its nest. What a fun surprise to have encountered!

Finally, this group tested the dissolved oxygen levels of Mac's Pond. They tested for other things as well such as pH and temperature, in order to determine if the Pond was healthy enough to support aquatic life. Ultimately, based on a comparison between the data they recorded and the tables in their journals, they decided the water was quite healthy.

Monday audio postcards

Good morning!

A few of the field groups have recorded audio postcards for their family, friends, and teachers since Monday. Most of the postcards are in English and a few are in Spanish.

We have strung along Monday audio postcards from teams Marsh and Wave. Soon we will post more audio postcards from Tuesday and today.

Stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy these voices from the field!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday highlights from Team Marsh

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Tuesday Marsh, a set on Flickr.

Our first FULL day has been exciting! Team Marsh dissected pellets, tracked a family of owls using telemetry, studied the age and variations of the environment of a tree by coring the tree, and so much more! Check out our photos.

Monday highlights from Team Marsh

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Monday Marsh, a set on Flickr.

The week is busy with lots of fun and learning. Team Marsh wants to share some photo highlights from yesterday. Here in these photos, you can see us doing a Teams Course, checking out a dead mole that's decomposing, and journaling.

Team Marsh, like the rest of the teams at IslandWood this week, is made up of students from different schools. Already, we're succeeding at building community.

Soil to Snack

A couple of our groups worked with one of our garden educators and a chef from our dining hall in the garden today. They pureed some kale and cooked it into biscuits (seen in photo) and made strawberry jam and butter from scratch to spread over the delicious warm biscuits. How fun!

And we are off...

Students arrived yesterday morning after a combination of long drives from as far as Yakima Valley and Forks, WA. For some, the trip also included a maiden trip on a Washington State ferry. Some of the kids at my dinner table last night had to wake up as early as 3am to get here on time. Phew! I promised them it would be worth it in the end.

Their day included borrowing some gear to make their field days more comfortable and then, the fun and challenging Teams Course. The Teams Course experience invites students to contemplate and practice the skills that are required to work together with a group of people in order to meet a common goal. In the case shown below, the students have to get their whole group, 8 kids, from tree to tree on a wire without anyone falling off.

In the end, the groups talk about what they did well and what they could improve upon for the next challenge.

Finally, last night, after a big pasta dinner and some amazing chocolate chip brownies the kids went to the Great Hall for an evening program. We had a couple of guests from the Woodland Park Zoo leading an engaging program about observation skills, field marks, camouflage and more!

Check back later for an update about how the day is going. Reports just in that one group has already seen our resident Barred Owl, Gus while another cooked some food from the garden with our chef, Chris. More later!!