Summer Camp Volunteering – week 2

The theme for last week’s Howard Count Conservancy’s summer camps was ‘Fantastic Beasts.’ I spent a morning at Mt. Pleasant and the next morning at Belmont. At Mt. Pleasant there were three groups of campers….45 minutes for each. I used the dinosaur and mammal track rock found at NASA Goddard (saw it back when I was in the HOLLIE program) to initiate the conversation about extinct animals and fossils. There were some fossil shells from Calvert Cliffs and some of the campers had been there to explore themselves. I had on my ammonite shaped earrings too.

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Then for some action: Two pans of water, a measuring tape and white board. A person put one foot into each pan (shoes on) and then stepped out and walked normally. The measurement team (usually two campers) measured heal print to heal print to determine the walking stride length. We measured the walking stride of the tallest and shortest in each group (and then everyone else because everyone wanted to know their stride length…or game it and take extra-long steps!). In the oldest group of campers, we measured the running stride (heel first and on toes). It was a great activity to further explore what information can be gleaned from tracks.

We transitioned into evidence of animals living today with some whelk shells and egg cases found on a beach. Some campers were surprised that the whelks were animals that still live in the ocean along the east coast of the US.

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One of the junior counselors had participated in a dinosaur dig in Montana…and shared some pictures for her adventure with the campers.

It was a busy 45 minutes!

At Belmont, there were two groups of campers making Zentangle® tiles. I introduced the session using the NASA Goddard rock, the welk shells and my ammonite earrings….and then showed them patterns for beasts. The first group (younger) made octopus/jelly fish and tracks. The second group experimented with an ammonite type pattern, tracks and shells. The theropod tracks were the most popular. Many made some big therapod tracks and then some small ones (moms with babies). A variation from one camper: a therapod track….then a blank area where the therapod flew….then more tracks. One camper made mammal tracks. Both groups enjoyed adding colors after they made their patterns with the black Sharpie ultrafine pens.

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Gleanings of the Week Ending April 13, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Coconut Spice Cake Recipe | Magnolia Days – The cake I made for my husband’s birthday. It tasted great even without icing!

Photographer Captures Stunning Images of Ice Shards Along Lake Michigan | Smart News | Smithsonian – Spectacular ice forms – made during the breaking up on Lake Michigan a few weeks ago.

Ancient Caribbean children helped with grocery shopping in AD 400 -- ScienceDaily – Snail and clam shells (small ones) might be from child, rather than adult, foragers!

Thousands of Invasive Cane Toads Overtake Florida Community | Smart News | Smithsonian – Ugh! Not something people want in their yards and pools and driveways. These toads have a toxin strong enough to kill cats and dogs that munch on toads and can cause burning eyes or skin irritation in humans.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: March – National Geographic Society – Beautiful birds….changing environments and habitats.

Where Have All the House Sparrows Gone? – Cool Green Science – House sparrow numbers have been declining since 1966 – all around the world!

66-million-year-old deathbed linked to dinosaur-killing meteor -- ScienceDaily – Fossils of animals killed and buried within an hour of the meteor impact!

Pairing Geothermal Plus Rooftop Solar For A Truly Renewable Home | CleanTechnica – At what point will the idea of geothermal heating and cooling catch up with rooftop solar for our homes? Will Dandelion – or comparable companies - become nationwide?

Five new frog species from Madagascar -- ScienceDaily – Some tiny new frogs. The smallest is only a little larger than a grain of rice.

These pictures of seed bank samples turn biology into art – The beauty of seeds. The first photograph (of Australian windflower flower heads is my favorite. The x-ray of a red yucca seed head is also interesting….showing the 3D of the pod in the image.

HoLLIE – week 2

The second HoLLIE (Howard County Legacy Leadership for the Environment) class day was last week and it was held at NASA Goddard. I was worried about hitting rush hour traffic so left very early since we were to meet in the Goddard Visitor Center parking lot to catch the bus into the facility. The day was sunny and clear…but very cold and breezy. I managed to take this picture of the visitor center (not yet open) without getting out of my car!

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The theme for the day was “what informed citizens need to know about earth systems science.” It was the first of two days that our classes will be at Goddard; last week we started with lectures on “understanding the tools and the state of the art in earth science” from the Project Scientist for the AQUA satellite and then got a tour of mission control for several earth science satellites from the Aqua Mission Director. They did a good job of demonstrating the types of data that can be collected, the methods used to collect it, and the ways it has been analyzed. I was surprised to see the LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) mission control in the same building. That brought back the memory of my daughter being on the team to do image calibration shortly after it launched during her undergraduate days!

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On the way back to our classroom, we stopped by the replica of the big rock found at Goddard that has mammal and dinosaur and mammal tracks. This was not on our agenda originally but was a wonderful serendipity aspect to the day even if it took part of our lunch time. I’d read about it in one of my news feeds and followed the link to the paper…but it was such a thrill to see the exhibit and hear the short lecture. I managed to take a few pictures.

We started the lectures on ‘understanding the science of earth’s cycles’ that will continue in this week’s class. We talked about the oceans and the carbon system in this second class. One of the interesting videos in the lectures is available online: twenty years of global biosphere data mapped on a slowly spinning globe; it easy to see the annual cycles. With the massive amounts of data, visualization becomes an important component.

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When I got home an article in one of my newsfeeds talked about climate models that are developing that explain why there might be a linkage between melting of Arctic sea ice (one of the topics for the HoLLIE lectures this week) and droughts in California (How nuclear weapons research revealed new climate threats). It was easier to understand since I had the background of the lectures!

Previous HoLLIE posts: Week 1