Friday, September 30, 2011

Saturday's Lake Wallace Clean up

If you're joining us for the CRWC's Source to Sea Cleanup at Lake Wallace

9am - 2 pm   email Louise Levy by 10pm Friday night to volunteer.   And ....  Thanks!!

meet us at Foley Field ... behind the Belchertown Police Station, pass the Senior Center and Teen Center, pass the Tadgell building onto the dirt road, through the trees and you'll see the fields.

Wear grubby clothes!!  Bring gloves, clippers, shovel ... other garden tools that would be helpful in grabbing garbage out of the woodland and water and trimming back raspberry, blackberry, multiflora rose and other plants that are overhanging the trail.

We will provide garbage bags and a bottle of water ... how do you feel about ordering pizza from Saparito's for a lunch break?!

Let's pull out some trash and make the area in and around the lake and down the trail safe and comfortable for students and nature lovers.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Levy students' assignments

Click the name of your class above for info about the WEco Leaf Collection or the Biology Research assignment

Nature walk from the Senior Center

A beautiful afternoon for a walk on Monday, September 12 and a group of hardy seniors joined MsLevy on an excursion down to the waters edge at Lake Wallace, along with 3 BHS students.  Equipped with binoculars, spotting scope, a basin, a few plastic spoons and a great sense of adventure, 5 participants set off on the half-mile walk past the Tadgell building, Foley Fields and on to the open water of the lake.

The birds were quiet but for the crowd of starling in the trees behind the Teen Center.  Neither the beaver nor the wood duck showed, though the preening geese and resting Kingfisher gave us quite a show through the spotting scope.  There were plenty of topics for conversation about this beautiful area ... fall wildflowers and webworms, dragonflies and mushrooms, and the pleasure the site provided to the residents of the former state school.  The geography of the area, the shallow depression of the Lake Wallace basin, the "forest" of dead snags out in the beaver-flooded wetlands, the oxygen-rich upper lake and the oxygen-poor lower "swamp," the feeling of being somewhere wild, while still hearing the sounds of the cars passing on Rte 202, and reminiscences of visits and times past provided yet more opportunities to discuss and appreciate this beautiful place.  All 5 of the participants passed the short quiz at the end of the walk. (kidding!)

A peek into the water revealed a variety of aquatic critters, including some hardy dragonfly larva that will most likely overwinter and be the first of the season in the spring.  There was a great variety of plankton, they were just a bit too small for a good look.   All in all, the ladies decided that they'd just refer to MsLevy as "the walking encyclopedia."  Thanks!

The next walk is scheduled for Monday, October 3.
Sign up at the main desk at the Belchertown Senior Center.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Ecology project boosted" in the Sept 6th Republican

Read about the Toyota Tapestry grant and the great opportunity it presents to the Belchertown Public School students!  page C1 in print and  the full article at masslive   

Belchertown environmental education programs to benefit from $10,000 Toyota grant  written by John Appleton

Monday, September 5, 2011

Kid-to-Teen Ecomentors Wednesday Sept 28th 3-5 pm

In this first of the year event, Kid/Teen teams will take on the challenge seeing the forest and the trees!
                                                                    White Ash

This event will feature identifying, measuring, and mapping trees between Foley Field and the waters edge.  We will likely locate Red and Sugar Maples, White Ash, Black and White (and maybe Scarlet) Oak, Quaking or Bigtooth Aspen, Pignut or Shagbark Hickory, White Pine and Smooth Sumac trees... along with others that might surprise us.  We'll use sketching and careful observation to identify the trees.  Once we know what species the trees are, we'll collect dbh (diameter at breast height) measurements and use "artists thumb" and "timber" methods to estimate the height of the trees.  Part of the discussion will be the services that trees provide us ... sequestering carbon, providing oxygen, filtering air and water, besides providing us with great material for poetry and serenity.  Using map coordinates from GPS, we'll begin developing a map of the tree resources in this beautiful place.  We'll end by scooping some lake water to see if the critters have changed much since the April and June KtT events.

Have your child get a permission slip from MsButler (CSS), MrClark (SRE), MrGreene(CHCS), MsO'Rourke (JBMS) or directly from MsLevy at BHS in Room 127.  Please be sure you've received confirmation that your child is registered for this event, the registration is limited in order to limit the impact on the ecosystem and to ensure that there are enough chaperones to safely conduct the event.  MsLevy and other BPS teachers will be on hand at Chestnut Hill and Swift River pick-up for students who have permission to be escorted to the Teen Center.  Otherwise, parents of elementary students, please bring your child to the Teen Center and sign in.  JBMS students should take the bus to the Teen Center - make appropriate arrangements well in advance.  BHS students are to meet MsLevy in Room127 after school for last minute preparations and to help with carrying equipment.

Pick up is at 5 at the Teen Center - be sure to sign out.

We'll go rain or shine, but not in truly inclement weather.  Come prepared with sensible clothing and shoes.  Be sure to have alternate plans in case the event is cancelled.