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Distance Learning Young Naturalists Club

Virtual Vernal Pool Trips

We’ve heard about a few of your vernal pool trips this week!

Some of you joined us virtually for a Zoom field trip today. We livestreamed from the vernal pool on the Cucumbertree trail in Athens. We saw:

We share some of what we learned below. Like: how some frogs breathe through their skins, but some insects breathe through their butts.

Other people took their own trips. Take a short video trip with our friends, Juni and Maggi!

Juni and Maggi showed us how they find living organisms in their pond, and how they used iNaturalist to identify them.

What species did they find? How does it fit into the food web of the pond? If you like, do a little research and tell us what you figure out.

You can also explore more Ohio wetlands through these 360 photos here.

Questions to ponder from the field…

People asked a lot of great questions on our virtual field trip today. Here are few things we talked about!

Categories
Distance Learning Young Naturalists Club

A Call to Protect our Forest—by eating it

Last week, Brett taught us how to forage for tasty wild plants. He told us to only harvest a few plants from any patch. Today, we’re going to discover an exception to that rule. You can pull up every single one of this kind of plant.

It goes by many names: Garlic Mustard, hedge garlic, sauce-alone, jack-by-the-hedge, poor man’s mustard, jack-in-the-bush, garlic root, garlic wort, mustard root.

A picture of young Garlic Mustard

We will call this plant Garlic Mustard during today’s activity, but you can call it any of those names. Scientists have come up with a fancy Latin name to make sure other scientists know exactly what they are talking about. Alliaria petiolata is how scientists say Garlic Mustard. 

This picture of Garlic Mustard was taken by Leigh Casal on iNaturalist

Invasive- Have you heard of an alien invasion before? Invasive plants are kind of like an alien invasion, except they don’t come from outer space. Invasive plants come from distant ecosystems. They are able to grow extremely fast and take over the new ecosystem they are growing in, causing damage to their new ecosystem. They can take up all the food, space, or water, making survival more difficult for the original plants.

Garlic Mustard is an invasive plant from Europe. It’s been slowly taking over our forest for over 150 years! It can even release a chemical in the soil that stops other plants from growing. We need you to help save our forest. All you have to do is pull this plant up wherever you find it!

Luckily removing this invader is simple, easy and rewarding. But first we need to know how to find it.

Categories
Distance Learning Young Naturalists Club

Vernal Pools, Part II

Did you get enough of vernal pools last week? No? Me neither! Vernal pools are amazing and teeming with life. Check out Joe’s lesson if you haven’t already. Today we’ll dive a little deeper into the sounds of vernal pools, namely, frog calls!

Some of you took your own trips to vernal pools. Check out what you found:

Categories
Distance Learning Young Naturalists Club

Week 2 and 3: Edible Plants and Amphibians

Blink and you’ll miss them!

April in southeast Ohio brings some special things that are only around for short time: frogs calling and laying eggs, delicious wild plants, mushrooms, and wildflowers. This week and next, we will show you how to find them before they’re gone.

Here’s what to expect:

Monday, April 6: Vernal Pools, Part 1

Wednesday, April 8: Foraging for Ramps

Friday, April 10: Ecosystems in a jar

Downy yellow violet blooming in leaf litter.
Downy Yellow Violet

Monday, April 13: Vernal Pools, Part 2

Wednesday, April 15: Eating Garlic Mustard to Save the Planet

Friday, April 17: TBD

Click on a link or keep scrolling through the blog to start.