Thursday, April 5, 2012

Deer Poo, Habitat Piles, and GPS...oh my!

Hey everyone!

It has been incredibly busy two days.  After going through the small mammal traps and finding two voles, we went on to count...deer poo!  Gross right?  BUT NOT REALLY!

In order to set up the deer poo count, we had to stake out an area of 10 by 10 meters.  We then head to stand basically at arms length from one another (5 teachers) and crawl on our hands and knees to "count" deer poo piles.  After analyzing this information, we can estimate how many deer are in the area!

After counting deer droppings, we went on to building something called "habitat piles".  This was hard work!  What we had to do was gather dead trees, tree trunks, large branches, etc., littering the forest floor and create HUGE piles of these.  This is actually good for the animals.  Extra Credit:  What could animals use these "habitat piles" for?

Finally, we had to GPS the area in which we are working.  We had to map out the large trees, as well as any "field signs".  A "field sign" is "sign" that tells you an animal lives there.  This includes droppings, dens, holes, fur, bird songs, etc.  Can you think of other field signs?

I am learning so much and am excited to share this knowledge with you all.  Tomorrow is the last full day.  Crazy!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012



How are you all?  I hope you had a great spring break.  I'm SO SO SO sorry that I am not able to skype you.  One of the requirements of my fellowship is that I go out in the "field" (a forest) and collect data on the small mammals we are researching (which then gives us information about the effects of climate change), and that is where I have to be during the time you will be in class.

Please read through my posts so that you have a general idea of the work I am doing here.  Feel free to comment or post on whatever you would like (keep it appropriate!)  The comment/post will not immediately appear, it may take as long as a day, so please do not worry about that.

Anyway, I hope you all are doing well.  Make me proud, work hard, and stay respectful.  Have a ton of fun at the community meeting today.

See you soon!!

These are two other teachers who are working with me.  One is from North Carolina, and the other works at CAT!

Why are we doing this?

Hey Class!

Another great day in the field here in Nova Scotia.  We caught a white footed mouse and I was able to hold it!  It was a little scary, but the mouse was incredibly cute, and way more scared than I was.

Just to give you additional background information, we are collecting "data" of these animals and comparing this "data" to years past.  We compare the number of animals we catch during these two weeks, with the same time period last year, and the year before that, and so on.

We then compare this data with the change in climate (or temperature).  We can see how climate and number of small mammals is connected.

Cool right?  Maybe we can do a graph of this when I return.

Check out the picture of the White Footed Mouse!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Kejimkujik National Park

Kejimkujik National Park...or "Keji" for short.  A great National park located in the center of Nova Scotia.  The team of teachers and I went there to count deer droppings (so we can find out how many deer there are), as well as walked through an old growth forest of Hemlock trees.

I saw the coolest thing at Keji.  A half tree trunk that was all gnarled and bitten.  Guess what ate it?  "It"-The Animal, was looking for grub!

I also saw this sweet waterfall!

Halifax-Capital of Nova Scotia

Hey class!

Today the teachers and I went into Halifax, the capital and largest city of Nova Scotia.  Nova Scotia is the province I am located in, a province is basically the same thing as a "state" in the USA.

One of the coolest things I saw was the Halifax Farmers Market.  The roof of the building was covered with renewable energy resources!  In addition, the water used in the building is collected from rain water from the roof.  Awesome!

There are two "renewable energy resources" found on the roof of this building.  Can you tell me what they are?  I know it may be a little difficult to see in the picture, but look hard!  Also, think about the location...the building is located right next to the water.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Two Small Mammals Today!

Hey class!

Today was awesome.  We caught two small mammals...a redbacked vole and a bog lemming.  They were pretty cool.  After we catch them, we have to weigh them, so we know whether or not they are healthy.

Check out the pictures!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Snow Day!

We had a real, life snow day today!  "Flurries" last night ended up being about two inches of snow on the ground this morning.  Not too much on the coast, but apparently inland (where we are doing research), there is plenty of snow and we wouldn't be able to find our traps!

I already miss being outside, but a snow day with the other teachers is great!  Check out the pictures!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Coldest Day EVER

It snowed and was about 23 degrees today!  WHOOOOAAAA.  And we had an incredibly busy day outside.  First we checked out the area we are studying, Cook's Lake.  We had to collect hay from a hillside to put into the small mammal traps.

Extra Credit:  Why would we want to put hay into the small mammal traps?  What would "hay" do for the animals?  Think about our HEAT unit.

We had to put these traps throughout the woods.  The other teachers and I put out over 100!  Tomorrow we go back and look at the traps to see if any small mammals were captured.

This is a small mammal trap!

Monday, March 26, 2012

1st Full Day-March 26th

Hey Metro!

Hope you all are enjoying your Spring Break.  Today was my first full day here in Cherry Hill, Nova Scotia.  I am here with two Scientists, 6 other teachers from all over the United States, and one really great lady from Washington D.C.!

We are all staying in an old green house pretty close to the Ocean.  We took a 4 mile hike today, and it started snowing at the end of it.  No, really.  Snow.  A lot different from Bayview, San Francisco!

Our goal here is to study the effects of Climate Change on small mammals in Nova Scotia.  These mammals include raccoons, deer, porcupines, coyotes, bobcats, minks, and squirrels, among other animals.  On our walk we studied their droppings, and used those droppings to identify what type of animals they were.  We could tell by what they "left behind", that some ate rabbits (the carnivores), while others mostly had a garden diet.

The hike was awesome, and had ocean views the entire time.

Anyway, I can't wait to learn more here so I can teach you all!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kenta Ferrin off to Nova Scotia!

Hello students, teachers, and anyone else reading this blog!

I am off to Nova Scotia from March 25th-April 7th to research that Global Warming has had on this Canadian Island.

I'm incredibly excited about this adventure, nervous about the cold, and stoked to meet people from all over the country.


Mr. Kenta Ferrin