Thursday, September 30, 2010

Animal Tracks and Signs

Last weeks Fridays Outside program started off with a few games before moving into a discussion about animal tracks and signs. We discussed the ways that animals move and how they leave tracks behind and what specific details to look for in a track to determine the animal and the direction of travel. We also discussed the various signs one might find in Nature such as remains of things they were eating, bones, feathers, fur, scat, dwellings etc.

This was followed by visiting a trail of several Bear tracks recently discovered in the Mountain Park!

We discussed the track and the animal which left it before mixing up some plaster and pouring it into the track to make a cast of the track as a permanent record of the animals' visit to this ecosystem.

We would have to wait for it to dry though, so we moved on.

We went on a hike into the Devils Canyon area in search of more animal tracks and signs, finding many signs, but few tracks. We also found quite a variety of fungi and had some talks about Decomposers in the forest and their importance to the cycle of life.

After lunch we moved up to a nice spot to do some writing in our Nature Journals about our mornings activities and discoveries.

After this we went for a short hike and found some deer tracks. We made plaster casts of the tracks for each student and then returned to the bear track to lift it from the dried mud and clean it off. We had a perfect cast of a young bears front paw!

This Friday we are going to continue our adventures as Nature Detectives looking for animal signs with a special focus on the amazing variety of Gall Wasps to be found in the Mountain Park.

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