Last night, when I went to bed, my head hit the pillow I fell asleep immediately. When I went to bed, I heard so many things, and I listened for a while. I loved the sounds, it was so much better than running down my phone battery listening to music or white noise. When we woke up after sleeping well, we felt like we could breathe. It felt so good to wake up with the day, instead of the alarm clock, to not have to open the blinds to see the sunlight. For breakfast, we ate outside and enjoyed the cool air, looking out over Lake Berryessa. We could see the sun rising over the rolling hills and water.
In the morning, we left for the campus, where we took a tour of the museum and the botanical conservatory. We walked into the botanical conservatory and were instantly taken aback by the hundreds of plants that greeted us. I personally came here for the entomological experience, but seeing all the interesting plants and the way they are able to interact with the environment in so many ways, I was absolutely blown away. For instance, the bull-horn acacia, which has a symbiotic relationship with the big-eyed tree ants. When the tree is disturbed in any way, the ants will immediately fall onto the source of the disturbance and put a stop to it through stings. We also got to see several carnivorous plants, which we dissected to see the digested insects on the inside. Then we saw some of the many ways that plants reproduce with several examples of specialized seeds, such as seeds that explode or stick to animals.
Before that, however, we spent some time visiting the Bohart Museum of Entomology, which held its own set of subjects of interest. Not only were we given the opportunity to view and learn some about almost every insect you could want to see, whether that be a colossal moth, a praying mantis, an iridescent blue wasp or a butterfly with wings displaying identical patterns to that of a dead leaf. I had been wondering for a considerable while before camp about a specific kind of wasp that was somewhat rare around my house, but was unsure of what kind. Simply be describing it, we were able to find an almost identical specimen to that I have myself. This was soon followed by returning to the academic surge to begin packing.
Upon arriving at the station, we situated ourselves in our quarters and ate dinner. A group of us went out to mosquito infested grasses in order to set up a motion activated critter cam. Additionally, we sprinkled talc on the ground in the surrounding area so that any animal prints will be visible in the powder. Personally, I am curious whether the dew will ruin this impact, but that still remains to be seen.
While some of us were setting up the camera traps, others were trying to set up a blacklight, and also trying to unlock one of the cabin doors (oops!). We got to spend some time being part of the habitat, listening to birds, pinpointing where the calls were coming from. Even thought it was all just pine trees, just listening to the river and the birds, we realized that there was so much diversity, both in the moment and as the day turned to dusk. After dusk, we discussed these ideas about biodiversity and turned them into hypotheses which we will test tomorrow when we set up our group project, after making breakfast and having an introductory lecture from the head of the field station.
It’s getting late now, so even though we have so many other things to talk about, we’re to wrap this up. One of us thought it had already been three days, but it is only the second day—we have done so much, and we are so happy that we aren’t even halfway through the camp yet!
Thank you, and good night!
KT, ES, BB + a councilor