Today we had a visit from a group of high school students and their teachers from Nepean and West Carleton High Schools. They were at Regina Street to prepare for their role in delivering the Wetland Centre of Excellence program at Bill Mason Centre and MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre next spring, with the support of Ducks Unlimited. Ava has written about her experience sharing a walk through Mud Lake with her new high school buddy.
In preparation for our maps of Mud Lake, we checked out how many steps there were between the landmarks we identified last week.
Anna describes her "best trip ever" to Mud Lake.
Mickey will tell us about some of the fall changes that he observed at Mud Lake.
Check out today's entry courtesy of Tristen.
Mud Lake is home to a tremendous number of species of plants and animals. Today we took a closer look to see what we could discover.
This school year students will be sharing their journal entries on our blog. Joshua is our first student blogger. Click on the file below to see what we discovered this week. You'll need to install Adobe Reader to view the file - it's free and you can find it here.
Nature Canada and the Museum of Nature had invited our class, along with Mrs. Wellington's grade ones, to participate in a morning of exploring Mud Lake earlier in the month, but due to heavy rain, we had to reschedule. Monday was the new date, and the morning was perfect. We met Alex MacDonald and Sarah Kirkpatrick-Wahl from Nature Canada, and Tara Conroy from the Museum of Nature at the park on the way to Mud Lake, and later were joined by Emily Bird, a bird expert.
We split into two groups, and the boys started by heading to the water's edge, just past the rock lookout. Here, armed only with metal sieves, they were given the job of searching for aquatic macroinvertebrates. The specimens collected would be brought to the Museum of Nature to become part of a future exhibit. Within a few minutes, they began to fill up the collection containers with a variety of creatures. Dragonfly nymphs were very plentiful, and there was a great deal of excitement when a leech and then a salamander larvae (which we later learned was a blue-spotted salamander) appeared in the sieves after dipping. Time flew by quickly and before we knew it, the girls' group arrived and it was time for a switch.
The boys were then led by Alex and Emily on a tour of the pathways. Using a field guide and the ears of our expert guides, we learned to identify birds like the red-eyed vireo, the eastern wood pewee, the gray catbird, and the Cooper's hawk. After heading through the trees for most of the walk, we emerged at the dock to check out some aquatic birds. Ducklings ventured out from the safety of shore, and a double-crested cormorant flew overhead.
Like all fun, our walk came to an end, but not before Alex gave all of the students a poster, and a couple of summer challenges. The first is to create nests for native bees and can be accessed here. Challenge number two involves parasitoid wasps and caterpillars. If you're interested in raising a caterpillar and potentially having a new species named after you, check out this challenge. Dr. Jose Fernandez Triana, who is an entomologist with the Canadian National Collection of Insects, wants you to "hunt" for caterpillars in the area around your house (remember that Mud Lake is off limits, since it's a protected area) and use the instructions found here to take care of your caterpillar and record your observations.
It's been great connecting with Nature Canada this year, and we look forward to getting back together in the fall to resume our partnership. For an excellent summer project, please check out their newest initiative, an app to track wildlife in your neighbourhood, at naturehood.co. If you're in need of a rainy day activity during your summer holiday, remember to check out the Museum of Nature.
Mr. Cameron and the grade 4 and 5 students from Regina Street Public School hope to share their year-long journey of discovery with the world.