The third week had come to an end, and Summer Connections is more than halfway done! The students got to explore two ecosystems this week: the meadow and the forested woodlands. A meadow is a field habitat vegetated by grass and other non-woody plants. Forested woodlands are habitats covered with trees and shrubs. Both of these ecosystems are known for their high biodiversity, thus making them ideal areas for students to explore and discover.

During this week the students learned what entomologists are, and what their careers, as field scientists, consist off. An entomologist is a scientist that studies insects such as beetles, ants, butterflies, etc. The students explored the micro-wilderness of the two ecosystems with the same tools entomologists use: aspirators, field journals, butterfly nets, beating sheets, jars with magnifying caps and vials.

Mikaura holding an aspirator and a plastic cup with a magnifying cap.
Yazmarie holding on to a captured insect and her butterfly net

Craig demonstrating how to put together a beating sheet.

Once the students arrived to the site they circled up and located themselves on a map. Then they took a few minutes to write careful observations and sketch what they noticed, what they wondered, and what they were reminded of.

Exploration time! After writing down their observations the students ventured into the meadows and woods with their tools, catching all kinds of insects. To help further their understanding of the micro-wilderness, the students counted insects and used their field guides to help identify them. The students found a variety of insects including moths, worms, crickets, and bumble bees.

Emma showing off her moth on National Moth Week!
Students exploring the meadow

Students and ranger Matt trying to identify the captured insects.

The summer is really flying by, but what a great week this was! Students not only explored what it means to be a real entomologist, but some of them also conquered their bug phobias. Tune in next week to hear about the students’ adventures on the Salt Marsh!

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