August 5th, 2022

The night previously, many of us planned to wake up early in order to pack. However, many weren’t woken up by a counselor or an alarm, but rain showering on their tents. Everyone rushed to pack their tents, grab their bags, and throw all they could into the vans. After eating delicious breakfast tacos, we hit the road and headed back towards Davis.

Upon our arrival we ate lunch, played a gnarly game of catch, and toured two collections. The first was the UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, there we had the opportunity to view dozens of birds and mammals. We could even touch some! The second collection we toured was the Bohart Museum of Entomology. We held several stick insects, cockroaches, and viewed a variety of creatures from throughout the collection. We left UC Davis full of newfound knowledge and curiosity towards the natural world.

Our final destination of the day was Quail Ridge, another UC reserve, owned and operated by UC Davis. The station sits atop a ridge with views of Lake Berryessa and the sunset. On the way to the reserve, we made a quick pit stop to look at the Lake Berryessa glory hole. Veve, Chloe, Claire, and Autumn went on a hike, Jakob, Payton, Brandon, and Spencer made pizza, and Diego and Jamie worked on their personal projects. After eating dinner, we finalized our caterpillar project data, and snacked on cookies and popcorn. Spencer even taught the rest of the group how to perform the “basketball dance”. After a long, fun, and exciting day everyone was ready to tuck into our canvas tents and our comfortable beds.

Thursday, August 4

Today was our last full day at Sagehen Creek. It was a mostly freeform day as we continued to work on our personal projects. We also checked on the caterpillars throughout the day, and one of them even had a bite in it. Later in the afternoon, we went on a hike to the marshy areas, walking on logs and jumping over trenches in hopes of not getting wet. We were weaving in and out of trees too, and we even found a a Sagehen perched on a tree, which then flew away, which kind of sound like helicopters. We foraged some wild mountain strawberrys and blueberrys on the hike and we got to try some. We also saw some sun dew which are carnivorous plants and they were really cute and small, they were also pretty hidden but we still found them.

On our hike to the marsh area
On our hike, in the meadow with lots of Yarrow

Today Jakob also caught another shrew in his trap, but this time it was a baby. Jamie worked on dissecting bees for their personal project and also played around in an ant hill trying to find some cool specimens to take home. Tonight is the last night for caterpillars so some of us went out and took final pictures and notes and collected them. There were a lot of mosquitos in the meadow tonight. Now, we are going to look at the last of the data and see what the results of our group experiment are.

Wednesday, August 3rd

Today when we woke up, we got ready, had breakfast and had delicious pancakes. Calla’s shrews for her personal project were set up today, and one of them went missing, and Jakob caught a shrew in his pit trap! Jamie began their project on dissecting bees in the lab. A lot of people spent their time pinning their finds in the lab with the help of Diego’s knowledge. Veve found a rare potato bug (Jerusalem cricket).

Most of the day we were at the Lake Tahoe. On the way to the lake, Xavier’s group listened to Mother Mother and Payton’s and Syd’s group listened to rock on the radio. In Tahoe, we waded around in the water. We saw a family of common mergansers and were on the rocks looking for craw fish that were mostly found by Spencer and Claire. Multiple groups went on walks for their personal projects and saw some edible blueberries, and they were yummy!

Tabatha payed a visit and took some groups to the lightning rock. This rock was formed when lightning struck and made the rock liquefy and turn to pumice rock. Later in the day, Spencer, Brandon, Claire, and Chloe raced along Sagehen Road and at dinner, Brandon and Spencer held an arm wrestling contest.

Finishing off the day, we organized a night hike to the western edge of Sagehen Reserve. In an open meadow, we stargazed and chewed on mints that sparkled in between our teeth. Then we drank hot chocolate before tucking into bed.

Tuesday, August 2

This morning, we learned about the Bio Lab at Sagehen. We went into the field and we were given field equipment to obtain and study the local wildlife. We discovered multiple species of beetles, butterflies, spiders and grasshoppers. After collecting specimens, we used field guides to try to identify exact species although, in the end, we did not have much luck. We’ll have more time tomorrow to look at the insects using the microscopes. In addition, we started out personal research projects today.

Here’s a pitfall trap set out for a personal project
This is a window into the stream at the Fish House

After lunch, the group decided to take a small hike up to a prescribed burn site. Tiring, but worth it! In hopes of discovering different species we decided to go off road. It was much drier and brighter in the burnt woods compared to back at camp due to the loss of tree cover. This caused the ecology of the burned area to differ allowing smaller plants to grow more rampantly.

Examining shrubs at the prescribed burn site
The burned forest

In addition to our other activities we revisited the meadows to check up on the clay caterpillars. In the morning, we found no trace of predation. In contrast, later in the afternoon we noticed that several caterpillars had been attacked and even one went missing. Its exiting to see that the project is working!

Clay caterpillar with a scratch on the side

One last thing, it was Chloe’s birthday today. Happy birthday Chloe!

Birthday cake!

Monday, August 1

This morning we went on tour of the field station. We saw the fish house which you can use to observe fish underwater in Sagehen creek. We were able to see some brown trout and also saw a false widow in the corner inside the fish house. Later, we hiked across the meadow up into the mountains. We saw many different species, including several moths, a fox, a burrowing spider, and many wildflowers. After we hiked and learned about different types of evergreen trees, we started discussing and planning our group and individual projects. For our group project, we are investigating predation on caterpillars. We started by making caterpillars out of clay with different colors and patterns. We imitated the patterns from two real caterpillars, the Anise Swallowtail and Western Tiger Swallowtail, we also used a plain green one and a rainbow caterpillar we called “disco party”. Then we set up a grid system to keep track of each clay caterpillar’s location. We hope to learn what traits predators are more attracted to in caterpillars.

Later in the day, we also got a mini tree talk, and learned about the different types of trees here at the field station, including pines, which have connected leaves, and firs, which have leaves that are separated. We learned that Ponderosa pines and Jeffrey Pines aren’t actually the same species, even though they look very similar. Ponderosa pinecones are very prickly to the touch (“prickly Ponderosa”), while Jeffrey pinecones are gentler (“gentle Jeffrey”). Also, if you get up close to a Jeffrey Pine and smell the bark, it smells sweet like butterscotch or vanilla.

In the evening, we set up our group experiment in the meadow, placing markers and clay caterpillars on the grid we made. While we were there we identified many bugs and plants including a Mountain Gooseberry, a plant which produces small edible berries that taste like unripe grapes.

Making clay caterpillars
Setting up the grid system for our group experiment

Sunday, July 31

Today we arrived at Sagehen at around 8 o’clock. While people waited for dinner we explored and found some critters. We mainly spent the day chilling and driving.

Some of the creatures we found:
-snakes!
-millipedes!
-long-horn beetles!
-darkling beetles!
-big ants

We’ll have more to report tomorrow.

The Last Supper

Hello, everyone BBC with the final blog post. Today we enjoyed a filling pancake breakfast with bagels, syrup, and honey. After breakfast we had time to pack up at Sagehen and head out to UCD for a quick pit-stop. Once in UCD we had lunch and time to look at some the insects there in the Bohart Museum of Entomology and some plants at the campus conservatory. We also did a walking tour of campus and saw some baby ducks in the arboretum! After the tour, we enjoyed a pretty car ride up to Quail Ridge in the Coast Range. At Quail Ridge we immediately started to explore and take in the beautiful view of Lake Berryessa. We unloaded all of the groceries and set our things down in the tent cabins. Then we came back to the meeting to finish up our individual projects. While we worked away on our posters, the counselors prepared a delicious pizza dinner. We had fun toppings like sausage, caramelized onions, crispy potatoes, and olives. We quickly changed into our costumes for a pizza dance party. We had a turtle, lumber jack, butterfly, ballerina, cow, and a cowgirl, to name a few. Everyone had tons of fun singing and dancing to “Country Roads” and “Lean on Me” and then line dancing to “Cupid Shuffle”, “Cotton Eyed Joe” and “Footloose” out on the patio.  Tired and sweaty, we came back inside for s’mores and more work on our posters. The group split off as some people went on a night hike and others kept working on their projects. Everyone was stoked about the shooting stars, scorpions and bird nests that were found around the reserve. Now, as we write this blog and think about the last few days at camp, everyone has some reflections:

 

“I had an awesome time at this camp and I have enjoyed connecting with people from all over the world with similar interests to me. I am so glad I had this experience and I’m definitely gonna miss it!”—Jessie

 

I pretty much always had a collection of live invertebrates, but I’ve never had the chance to really practice entomology with semi-formal methods.  It was interesting to look at the field in the eyes of a researcher rather than the eyes of a hobbyist.  I learned a lot about the methods of the field.  Getting to bond with camp members who also shared such a strong passion for entomology was super fun & I wish I could spend more time with them.” –Brendan

 

“Bio Boot Camp was such a fun experience. I got to learn so much and make new memories with people from all over the country each day. I’m gonna miss this (except the mosquitoes and bad jokes from certain people who I won’t name).” –Catalina

 

“Overall, Bio Boot Camp was a blast. We got to meet new and interesting people, learn more about our passions, and above all, we had fun.”—Alecia

 

“My time at Bio Boot Camp was an amazing experience and I’ll remember it for a long time. It was fun and the people were so interesting to talk to. I’m going to miss the family-like bond we all shared over bugs” –Toxtli

 

“I’ve never had less sleep in my life, but I’ve also done more in this camp than I have this entire summer, and I also met so many people who were like me, but also had slightly different interests and knowledge that I can learn about.” – Onjray

 

“I got eight hours of sleep every night except for this night where I’ll go to sleep at 12:30. The camp was fun and I saw a lot of cool insects and people. It’s enjoyable to go places with new people especially when they’re weird like you. Also, I liked going to Quail Ridge Station which overlooked Lake Berryessa, it was like we were on Mt. Olympus.” – Elizabeth

 

“Bio boot camp has been one of the best experiences of my life and I have nothing bad to say about this camp—it was a nice way to get away from my modern plugged in lifestyle.  My friends are amazing but none of them share the passion for insects that I do, because I have attended this camp I’m filled with joy to see people who actually like insects. My friendships here will last a lifetime and hopefully I can meet more people that share my passion in the future.” – Riley

 

‘This camp was a good experience for me. Being out of my ordinary life is always a good thing. I feel like I refreshed and had a good rest for a week in the nature.”—Victor

 

“There are many things which I could say about this camp but my biggest take away was the fun and relaxed environment. The students were all very kind and eager to help each other learn while the counselors were energetic and provided much needed guidance when we could not figure out problems by ourselves. Bio Boot Camp gave its students a lot of free time and resources essentially enabling them to research whatever they had access to. Bio Boot Camp was extremely helpful in my understanding of where I am as an entomologist but was more importantly helpful in that it provided some information about what college would be like. The college talk covered how I could continue my interests in entomology through school without bias to one school or another. This is very important to me as a rising senior. I would recommend this camp to anyone looking for an easygoing environment which will push you as far as you are willing to push yourself.”- Kenna Stone

Thanks for the memories– the Cockroaches (group C)

Camp: Day 5

Uh oh!  Back again, back to back maybach stACK THE M’S

Finally, the boys have slept for more than 6 hours and the breakfast table buzzes with the energy of well slept campers. Bagel breakfast sandwiches serenaded with scrambled eggs, avocado, and arugula decorate the table along with fresh melon and not so fresh juice. Campers talk excitedly about the plans for the day. Between mouthfuls of sandwich, campers speak of swimming in Lake Tahoe followed by a visit to the ice cream parlor.

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Making Lunch!

After a couple hours, they finally pack up the vans and drive to Lake Tahoe. Forty-five minutes later, they find themselves on the shore of Tahoe. Within minutes, Victor jumps into the lake and loses his glasses. He finds them after some hectic searching. Jessie, Elizabeth and Cat follow into the freezing waters while the others look for fish and crawdads along the shore.  Soon enough, everyone was tired and hungry.  We voraciously ripped open our sandwich bags & tore into our lunches. They were delicious!

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Off to Tahoe!

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Lake Tahoe! Wading in search of Crawdads!

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Corralling fish!

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Fish! Caught by hand!

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A closer look! Named Fishy George II

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Lunch!

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Group Photo!

Another take on Lake Tahoe:

Cobalt blue water formed gentle waves along a soft breeze. Birds harmonizing in orchestral melodies and dark green pine trees providing a mottled canopy cover. This is the image of Lake Tahoe that I imagined. However, lake Tahoe did not look different from New Port Beach that I go every week. 1392308 people talking instead of birds singling and building creating the shade instead of trees creating beautiful canopy. And I got a small cut on my foot. But it’s all ok. Water was clear like crystal. Swimming was fun. Since there were many people, I probably wouldn’t die by drowning. Whenever I face a disappointing situation, I try to think optimistically like this. I believe there are more beautiful sites of Lake Tahoe. I should probably visit other parts of Tahoe with out millions of people next time.”  –Victor 

After lunch, everyone wanted boba! But unfortunately there was no boba in the region.  So we settled for the next best thing: ice cream! We drove to Truckee & stopped by a local ice cream shop for some sweet, creamy deliciousness. After a bumpy ride back to our lovely field station, the group split apart like a disturbed ant hill.  Some people took naps, some people explored a controlled burn area, and some people worked on individual projects.

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Looking for critters in the control burn area!

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Now we sit and wait for the dinner crew to wrap up their chili!  After dinner, we will have a talk on data-viz and college advice in general. We can’t wait to learn about college life. Wow, I’m so excited to go to college, study vigorously on the topic that I’m most interested about, and forge my own path through life. Hoping to learn a lot from our counselors.

-Catalina, Elizabeth, Brendan, Victor, Kyle