Kicking off our Week of Fun and Ecology, 2018

Hello friends and family! Hello to everyone! It’s great to get this thing going once again with an awesome new crew! Unfortunately, internet was down for our first night so our first post is coming in a bit late now that we’re back in civilization. So without further adieu, we blog!

Getting to Camp:

Some of us were nervous, others were excited, or even both. It was awkward meeting everyone at first but over time we all grew more comfortable with each other. We played games and icebreakers to get to know each other better.

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Goofy awkward beginnings

We went to the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology (MFWB) and it was very exciting and interesting to see all of the taxidermied animals. We saw a baby harbor seal, several different types of quail, and the paw of a tiger. Some of the authors’ favorites were the pelt of an African Lion, the pelt of a sea otter, and the arctic fox pelt. The pelt of the lion was coarse and not very soft; it was smaller than we expected it to be. The sea otter pelt was very fluffy and soft to touch but not as soft as the arctic fox and its pelt.

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Harbor Seal Pelt! So soft!

 

Next we set out for Quail Ridge! On our way up to the reserve, we separated into two vans and each van had a different way of keeping entertained during the car ride. Kyle entertained his group by telling us the story of him and an accidental rattlesnake encounter. The other group, entertained by Caroline, made small talk and learned more about each other through the tales of their summer adventures.

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Quail Ridge Reserve! With a great view of Lake Berryessa!

The location: The tent cabins are large and comfortable with a balcony that led to an amazing view. Speaking of the view, it is very beautiful and overlooks Lake Berryessa and the surrounding plants and wildlife. It was ExTrEmElY hot, and even the cool breeze couldn’t stop the scorching heat.

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BBC Crew 2018!

We took refuge from the heat in the field house to wait for things to cool down outside. We played games, looked through our traveling library, and had a discussion about science. We discussed the process of science and learned difference between observations, experiments, models, and literature review and discussed the benefits of each. We then made a pasta dinner and geared up for an evening hike.

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Flipping cover boards to see who’s using them as habitat

The hike was 1 ½ miles long and strenuous, with steep trails and switchbacks. However, we pushed on and prevailed and saw many amazing creatures along the way. We saw scorpions, beetles, spiders, and crickets. We shined a blacklight on the scorpions and watched them glow. At one point we even saw bats! There were trees that had smooth bark called Manzanita trees and we saw poison oak in great abundance. As a group, we saw examples of other experiments by scientists which showed us how scientists worked out and about. During the hike, we had the chance to bond more over this challenging excursion and we learned to lend each other strength.

Highlights below:

Turning in for the night:

At the end of the day and the end of a long hike, we returned back to the field station, showered, and prepared for bed in the tents. The guys talked about how raccoons are naturally bulletproof late into the night. Sometime in the night we were greeted with the sight of a longhorn beetle (Prionus californicus)! It was 5 cm long!

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Long Horn Beetle! We watched this little critter in a viewing tank for a bit and then released it.

That’s it for day 1! Can’t wait to see what’s in store for day 2!

-Team A (aka Team Hypogriff): Sierra, Alfredo, Lucia, Kyle

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