Today we woke up to a rising sun at 6:30. Our hardworking breakfast crew sacrificed some of their sleep to make us a fabulous breakfast of scrambled and purgatory (eggs in last night’s tomato sauce) eggs, sausages, bagels, and cantaloupe. As we were packing up to head back to Davis, one of our instructors spotted a pacific rattlesnake. It was headed under some rocks but we got to snag some photos and oohs and ahhs at a safe distance, under counselor supervision, and with great caution before it found safety under the rocks. We finished up packing and had a chill ride back to Davis.
Once we got back to Davis, we went to the Bohart Museum of Entomology and looked at the insect collection, both alive and dead. We got to handle Australian Leaf Insects who constantly “danced” and waved their arms around. According to museum personnel they moved constantly to mimic leaves. The stick bug felt and acted just like a tree branch. It kept climbing up one of our arms. They had a surprisingly big collection of live black widows, and we got to touch one of their webs. The feeling of the web was strong, rubber band like, and not very sticky to the touch. They had a vast collection of preserved insects—from giant moths to tinsy tiny flies and mosquitos. We also learned about a lot about botflies while we were there.
We had some quick sandwiches for lunch and continued into the herbarium (a collection of dried plants). We saw some very interesting dried plants including a milkweed, a fern from the 1800’s, and a giant seed that was more than three feet in circumference.
We then ventured into a tropical rainforest, aka the Botanical Gardens of UC Davis. We were surrounded by a variety of giant leaves, vines, carnivorous plants, and cacti. Mr. Ernesto showed us around the plant packed greenhouses. He exhibited exotic plants from all around the world including: cacao plants, a 9ft leaf (corpse flower plant), and fruit that aggressively popped when exposed to moisture. In addition, we did a quick pit stop in the general biology lab to see how those run.
We moseyed under the scorching sun into the heavenly air-conditioned Center for Watershed Science where were welcomed by a group of Davis students. They allowed us to observe them dissecting fish and examining micro-plankton and daphnia under microscopes. Afterword, we became children again and played in a topographical sand box. The sand box mimicked changing elevations in real time.
We loaded up the vans and made way up to Sagehen. We noticed the change in vegetation as we ascended the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. We divided into two groups: the chill van and the crazy van. One of the camper vans had fun listening to Disney music and playing Heads Up. The other van slept and read enjoyable novels.
We arrived at Sagehen, unpacked, organized our food, and scarfed down a yummy dinner of sausages, hamburgers, and baked beans after a long car trip. And now we are getting ready for lights out and look forward to another exciting adventure-science packed day!
-Beeloggers out : ) Chris, Isabel, and Alisa