Project Title: Bog Meadow
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Bog Meadow Field Trip

By: SISPA

Saratoga Independent School
Bog Meadow Feild Trip
All Students K-6
 
On Thursday, June 6th, our school took a trip to a neighboring nature preserve called Bog Meadow. Traveling with their buddies, students had an opportunity to test the water quality by sampling for aquatic invertebrates. Each group also took a "five senses" walk along the nature trail. 
 
A few questions we set out to answer included the following: 

 
How polluted is the water at Bog Meadow
What kinds of things can we sense as we walk along a forested path? 
What kinds of animals will we see living in and out of the water? 
  

   

 

Along the boardwalk, students peered into bins of pond water searching for movement. Working with their buddies, each pair isolated one creature to study in depth. They drew a detailed picture of the creature, and compared the creature (and their drawing) to field guides to help identify it. Students then researched how their creature breathes and what it eats. 

    

 

 

 

    

 

                                   

Finally they compared their creature to a list showing tolerance of pollution. We graphed the findings to discover the water quality at Bog Meadow. Students were surprised to discover the diversity of life within the pond, and that we were able to find insect larvae that are very sensitive to pollution.  While the bulk of the creatures we found were somewhat tolerant of pollution, the presence of the few that were intolerant lead us to believe that the water quality was good!
 

     

 

During our walk students were encouraged to slow down and take notice of their surroundings. Using primarily their senses of sight and hearing, students were surprised by all they noticed. From the moment we entered the trailhead, a few of the children took notice of the larger than usual leaves on a plant growing along the banks of the stream. Different types of ferns were pointed out. Our eyes noticed frogs hopping off the trail and tadpoles in the stream, our ears heard snakes slithering out of the way. We saw  brightly colored damselflies flying by, and heard the buzz of the not so welcome mosquitoes. Along the way the students shared their observations with their buddies and word of these sights and sounds quickly spread. 

 

It was a treat to observe a young bird who was spotted along the boardwalk somewhat hidden among the branches and leaves. He was quite vocal in an attempt to defend himself from our group of curious onlookers. 

 

  

  

  

  

Along the trail that led away from the pond the students found feathers on the ground. Upon close examination it was realized there were many feathers from what appeared to be more than one type of bird. Among these feathers it was noticed there were no bones around the feathers leading the children to wonder what might have happened to the bird (or birds) and what kind of predator might have been involved? Some possible hypotheses were: an owl had caught the birds and nested nearby, and these might have been feathers of an immature bird. 

 

On the trees we found holes made possibly by woodpeckers or other wood boring birds looking for their meal of insects. Many types of moss and fungus were also spotted growing on the trees.

Along the trail we were able to spot some animal tracks, the shape and size led one student to believe they were from a running deer. 

 

    

 

Moving along the trails on our field trip  was a wonderful way to observe the diversity of Bog Meadow's ecosystem. It was also a fabulous way to enhance our study of microworlds.

 

 

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