Friday, August 3, 2012

Ecology Quest 1

Our seventh week of camp was full of adventure and exploration! We did activities involving bugs, trees, sun and more!

We began the week exploring the Museum of Natural History’s very own Butterfly Garden! We talked about plant diversity in the garden and then ventured off into the Diag to explore this theme further. We even saw a cicada that had recently emerged from its nymph shell! Then we same back to the museum and explored the water retention rates of different soils.
Looking at the plant and animal diversity on the Diag

Counselor Hannah feeding a squirrel!

The cicada nymph shell

Looking at plants in the Butterfly Garden

Tuesday was all about insects! We made a tool called an Entomologist’s Aspirator, that consists of a bottle with tubing coming out of it. We used them to suck bugs into the bottles and then observe them. We collected everything from pillbugs to spiders to even a fly! We also looked at the insect activity on plants outside the Museum and talked about the interaction between animals and plants. Then we made Food Chain models to help us understand how food energy passes between trophic levels! Finally, we got to have some fun with Dry Ice Bubbles!
Using our Entomologist's Aspirators to collect bugs!

Fun with Dry Ice Bubbles! (Ethan is wearing compound lens glasses that allow us to see like insects do!)

On Wednesday, we talked about plants. We looked at tree cores and tried to determine how old a tree was by counting its rings. We also assessed what type of damage may have happened based on spots inside the core. Then we talked about various ways that plants protect themselves and even got to create our own plants with protection!
Learning about trees!

Plants with protection!

On Thursday, we took a field trip to the Arboretum. We collected plants that we found on the ground and used them to make sun art! We created design with our finds on Sun Print paper, which changes color when exposed to the sun. The objects that we placed on the paper left very cool designs! We also had some time to explore the river!

Making sun art!
The finished product!

On Friday, we returned to the Butterfly Garden and mapped the plants that we saw. We discussed native vs. nonnative plants, and how they affect our environment. Then we created some Ecology scavenger hunt questions that the afternoon camp will be using next week! 

It's been an exciting week here at Camp Explorations! We hope your children had a fun time with us and hope to see some of you back next summer!

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