Purpose and Background: To refresh my powers of observation and encourage the use of the scientific method while taking a walk in the woods.
Materials and Equipment: Paper, Colored Pencils, Internet
I. 1. The wind is slight and coming from a southern direction. It sounds like a buzzing.
2. The relative temperature is around the high sixties. Without numbers I would describe the temperature as crisp, breezy, and cool.
5. The relative humidity is around ten to fifteen percent.
6. There are absolutely no clouds.
7. No clouds to identify.
II. SKETCH ON BACK
1. Ladybug or Coccinella magnifica & Honey bee or Apis mellifera
2. The ladybug is smaller than my pinky nail, without many spots on its back, and it is bright red. The honey bee is furry and about the size of my pinky nail, and black and yellow.
3. Both the ladybug and the bee can fly as well as walk.
4. The bee makes a buzzing noise through its wings, and the lady bug does not make any noise.
5. Lady bugs and honey bees use pollen as a source of food.
6. The gestation period for a lady bug is 3 or 4 days and hatch a few to several dozen lady bugs. After a few days lady bugs are able to reproduce once again. Only the queen bee reproduces for the honey bees, and can lay up to two thousand eggs a day. The queen bee has one mating flight where she stores enough eggs to lay for the rest of her life.
7. Honey bees build honey combs and lady bugs usually live on or around plants.
III. SKETCHES ON BACK
1. Eucalyptus or Eucalyptus sideroxylon
2. Extremely tall, many branches, darker bark, light to dark green leaves, no flowers or cones.
3. The bark felt very rough but the leaves were smooth and thin.
4. The tree did not smell very strongly of much but the leaves had a faint scent of campfire.
5. Although I did not notice any, the Eucalyptus tree reproduces through flowering.
6. The tree is evergreen.
7. There is no evidence of fire, aging, pests, or harsh weather conditions.
IV. 1. Soil is light brown and soft and dry. The rocks are very small pebbles and all a brownish gray.
2. The soil feels dry and cool. It also feels very soft and like powder.
3. The rocks are pebbles so they feel very rough and small.
Results: SKETCHES ON BACK
Not much rocks or much soil to have plants growing in. Weather was sunny and cool. Not humid. No clouds.
Not many animals on campus, many insects including ladybugs, spiders, and bees. Many birds on campus. Many trees and many shrubs, a decent amount of flowers.
Analysis: My tree was Eucalyptus sideroxylon or a eucalyptus tree. An interesting fact is that the eucalyptus is native to Australia. I only observed the tree, the honey bee, and the lady bug along the walk around campus. The bee’s scientific name is Apis mellifera. The lady bug’s scientific name is Coccinella magnifica. Keeping in mind that we were in a campus, I felt like there was not a lot of variation or diversity in the plants. There were a lot of trees, mostly eucalyptus. Also, there were not many flowers unless planted there by teachers or the school itself. There were not many animals which makes sense since many kids are walking around school most of the time. Also our impact on the nature was obvious, there were many places that kids made pathways with that were obviously not naturally there. I did not see many spider webs, but the one I found was in between two bushes. The spider may have adapted to form a small web such as the one I found due to having its bigger webs destroyed by students walking through campus. I feel as though there would be more diversity on campus if kids wouldn’t walk through bushes as much or disturb the small islands of nature that we do have.
Conclusion: In conclusion, the field walk changed my view of nature because it allowed me to realize that there is not much diversity on our campus. I realized that we have forced animals and insects to adapt to finding other places to grow and reproduce instead of where we kids are walking every passing period. In my results I realized that we could take much better care of our campus’ plants. Our soil was very dry and there were many empty patches of dirt that one was plants. Also, it was obvious in these patches where pesticides have been sprayed. Although this may be necessary as to keep pests away from kids, it should be limited. In conclusion the field walk made me realize the impact we have on plant life and animal life on our campus.
Suggestions for further investigation: I would suggest that the next field walk takes place in an area far away from a large amount of people. I would also suggest taking pictures rather than sketching animals and plants, to find more exact results. I also suggest taking leaves or flower petals, (not too many!) but enough to observe at home. I would also change this lab to look for more specific plants or animals rather than looking for any kind of tree or flower.