Hi! My name is Ms. Ziemke. Please join me as I travel to New Orleans to study climate change. Check my website at www.tinyurl.com/burley106

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I finally saw an alligator!

Hi Friends! For more info and to view my photos, visit my website by clicking here.

I finally saw an alligator! Yippee!! As we were going into the field today we saw an alligator sunning in the swamp. I was so excited since it was our last expedition into the field and my last chance to see an alligator! Now I can cross that off my list...

This morning I spent time identifying leaves and caterpillars and entering the information into a data table. This project has collected over 12,000 caterpillars in Louisiana! It is so educational and gratifying to work as a scientist and be part of the team. Thank you to HSBC, Earthwatch, Rebecca, Mark and Mike for including me in this experience!

Today I Skyped with 106 and our "Big Buddies" in Room 302! It was great to sharing my learning with you! I am so proud of all the 106 scientists! You are learning so much. Thank you for your thoughtful questions. I can not wait to see you on Monday.
This evening we collected at Honey Island Swamp. We got a late start and ended up counting leaves in 6 inches of water for the whole plot. There were so many mosquitos I had to wear a bandana over my face to reduce the number of bites I got! Then it got dark very quickly. We had to hike out in the dark--it was exciting!

My favorite caterpillar, the Saddleback, pupated today. Here is my new favorite, the Saturniidae.

Do you like him?

Thank you to Roni and Room 302 for all your comments! Here are some answers to a few of your questions...

*Yes I have seen many "little" frogs. There was one in the shower this morning. I have not seen any four-leaf clovers, but I have seen water lilies, swamp oak, palmetto and holly.
*Putting the caterpillars in Ziploc bags is not harmful because we clean the bags and give them fresh air and food everyday. This is how we keep them healthy.
*We capture the caterpillars by inspecting the top and bottom of leaves and the stem. We then use clippers to cut off a small part of the plant to put inside the bag for the caterpillar to eat.
*I chose this area of study because I am very interested in climate change and how plants and animals are impacted by the environment.
*We sleep and eat in the Pearl River Management bunkhouse. I will try to post a video of it on my website.
*The most common type of caterpillar we are finding is the Fall Webworm. It is very prevalent now because it lives in the fall!
*The most poisonous caterpillar we have found is the Saddleback. One of the teachers got stung by it today and it hurt! She said it felt like a bee sting.
*We did use fractional geometry for the herbivory counts--good question!
*I am not afraid of the poisonous caterpillars, I am just careful around them. They will not make you sick, but they will give you an allergic reaction.
*My favorite part of my study is all the new information that I am learning! It is great to learn new things and stretch my brain. I also LOVED kayaking through the swamp.


At October 30, 2009 at 4:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey Miss Z.
did anyoe get hurt by the maseties in the samp?
maddie reichert

At November 2, 2009 at 9:08 AM , Blogger Rosie said...

What a fantastic opportunity! Leyla and Mia loved the caterpillar pictures, especially the Saddleback.

I liked your suggestion of counting leaves in a small area to represent the impact on a larger scale. It's important for the students to connect that the changing populations of a small organism like a caterpillar can represent changes that are happening on a much larger magnitude.

Next question is, what are the observed changes and what can we do about it?

At November 2, 2009 at 6:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms. Ziemke, Thank you so much for sharing this great experience with all us! We had a great time reading your blog and looking at your pictures. That saddleback caterpillar sure is cool. --Madi and Family


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