Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Source-to-Sea cleanup

Once again, BEST of Lake Wallace participated in the Connecticut River Watershed Council's Source-to-Sea cleanup on Saturday, September 29, 2012.  This was our 3rd year doing our little part for this massive, watershed-wide effort, spanning the length of the Connecticut River - joining hundreds (thousands?) of participants in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

3 volunteers, the coordinator, and a couple of sidewalk-supervisors after a successful clean-up

The Lake Wallace area, the Lampson Watershed, may be one of the smallest in the state, but school groups and volunteers in this year's cleanup all agree ... it's one of the best quality habitats around.

Special kudo's go out to Rob Opalenik and the crew of the Belchertown Recreation Department for their fabulous maintenance of the Foley Field area!  We found very little trash ... great job of keeping the place clean and safe for all of the Lake Wallace wildlife!!

Scouring the shoreline and exploring at the same time!

Now, that really isn't much trash! (and, yes, that is a thoroughly decayed jacket and pair of very old polyester pants we found in the swamp!)

Ms. Levy sends a heartfelt "THANK YOU!!" to everyone who participated!

So, set aside some time for the next clean-up and trail maintenance  (date to be announced) and plan to join us next year. (usually the last Saturday in Sept or first in Oct)

For more information about the Connecticut River Watershed Council and the big Trash Tally for this year, go to 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ecomentors Club!

Get ready for our early winter explorations on

Thursday November 15   and   Tuesday December 18

Keep in mind that it will be dark early and it may be colder than you're ready for, so bring extra layers!!

Parents (and BHS students), please email Ms. Levy to confirm.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ecomentors in the news, again!

Check out this article by Jim Russell ... good press all around!


Woodland Ecology classes head to Harvard Forest

With the trees turning their brilliant fall colors, the Ecology students got an entire day of Massachusetts forest history and the science of Ecological Forestry going on at Harvard Forest.

Ms. Snow introduces us to the science of Ecological Forestry with a tour of study sites around the Harvard Forest 

wooly bears abounded

... wanting to go back to the leaf litter

Fuel efficient barns and solar powered work stations - testing out the idea that a woodlot can be zero-carbon-emissions

We got a primer on safety in the woods before going in ... including a look at how healthy poison ivy can be even if it doesn't have any leaves!

Back to school after a full day of learning 

Ecomentors on our first adventure as a club

The day was beautiful and the kids were ready to explore.  Trees, pond life, landscapes ... it was all there to take in.

Ready, set, explore!!

once you stop to look, you see that the water is full of life

with frogs, and ...

something new every time we scoop!  (Anybody know what this thing is?)

Mr. Clark and the Ecomentors, thinking about what it takes for aquatic critters to stay alive, what are the signs of good quality habitat, and why it should matter to us all.

3 toes, 4 toes ... not like us

Artists/Illustrators/Scientists documenting their field work

Woodland Ecology explores Lake Wallace with 2nd graders

Lake Wallace, September 19, 2012

Perfect weather, dragonflies tackling the mosquitoes for us and lots to explore.  Trees, aquatic life reveal just how healthy this ecosystem is.  Answer:  pretty darn good.

Giving a dragonfly a ride - and it stayed on the hat the whole time!

Lake Wallace, undisturbed

Garter snake, happy to warm up on our hands

Newt ... is it heading to the water for the winter?

ready for the water

just what kind of fish are in here?

Identify, measure, map

Discovering that what lives in this water translates into pretty good quality habitat

Levy and Clark's 2nd graders still trying to figure out how tall those trees are

This time, he's ready to be in the water ... but maybe not much deeper!

Yiite gets a swamp sample

A lovely spot to sit and think.

Take care, little salamander

Mike, discovering new species

The gummy-blob ... just what is that thing?  The consistency of a gummy worm, slimy, just under the waters' surface, the fish were picking at it, the raised areas had a starburst pattern, and the spore (released 2 days later) are shown below in images from the digital microscope.  Some were just a few inches across, the largest was a solid 2 feet across  
After much searching ... it's a bryozoan colony!

gummy-blob spore 60x, with cattail strands

spore at 200x ... anyone want to guess?

Dragonfly molt

Logan, still ready to explore at the end of the day

Ecology practicing tree measuring and mapping

BHS September, 2012
To know the height, dbh (diameter at breast height), and type is to have a sense of how the BHS campus trees contribute to our vital ecosystem services ... pulling CO2 out of the air and replacing it with O2, filtering groundwater, managing water from rainstorms, hosting beneficial species (like the birds and dragonflies that eat mosquitoes) and locking carbon away in their trunks.

The Spark says it's 10 degrees cooler in the shade

The birches are still just 3 inches in diameter

we're pretty sure this is a maple

Which kind of oak is this?

Just where is this tree?  mapping with GPS

Ecology explores the BHS pond

BHS pond, September 2012
There we are, getting ready for the trip to Lake Wallace by taking a look at the life in the BHS pond.

Scooping is an exercise in faith, you've just got to trust there's something interesting in there!

healthy ecosystem, for sure

sleep .... little frog, sleep

girl and swamp

happy to be outside

scoop, sort, identify, count

wow, look at all those critters!!

tiny tadpole

it's hard to know which one is more uncomfortable

Claudia and Ariel scoop and identify

Levy, in her element