Tuesday, September 4, 2012

From Eliza Dean

                                 My Time as a Junior Ranger

What I did this summer as a Junior Ranger:

How I helped:

I helped in lots of ways. I taught other kids about nature and how to preserve it and helped around the Field Station. I helped collect creatures for the lab tanks. I help spread awareness of our natural world on Nantucket.

What I learned:

 I learned all about local plants and animals and how to identify them especially birds. I also learned about local plants medicinal qualities and made a pain reducer from Saint John's Wort that I collected. I learned about all of the different habitats on Nantucket as well as the endangered habitats like the grass plains. In particular the Field Station has 4 different habitats, forest, beach, grass plain and marsh, so it was really easy to learn about all of the different kinds of animals that live in the very different habitats.

My notebook

I also used a notebook to write down everything I learned that day so that I could go back to it when I forgot something. It was really great to be able to spot a plant and name it right off the bat using my notes and memorization. I also loved drawing the plants in my notebook so that I could identify what they looked like.

 Leadership and poetry:

Not only did I learn about nature, I also learned about leadership and poetry. Lenny would teach us poetry after lunch and we would all share the poems we made that day. Also when a new Junior Ranger joined, another Junior Ranger would teach them about plants and animals. It was really great to have that kind of trust. I don't know about every other kid, but I don't really experience this kind of trust very often. Working with Lenny and learning about Nantucket’s plants and animals also gave me the confidence to lead some tours.

What activities I liked most:

 I loved seining and bringing shrimp, fish and crabs back to the lab tanks. I also enjoyed  going off in groups or on my own and taking pictures. I thought the Junior Ranger program really let me combine my passion for birds and photography, and I really used everything Lenny taught me. I entered 10 of my photos in the Yesterdays Island Todays Nantucket photo contest, and I want to enter some of them in the National Geographic photo contest. All of the photographs were all from the Field Station. One day I used a tripod. I loved it so much! After that day I showed my parents the pictures and two days later, guess what came in the mail, my own tripod! I also liked teaching during nature walks. Everyone was so enthusiastic and wanted to learn as much as they could.

As a final note, I feel incredibly lucky to have had this experience.  Len Germinara and the entire staff at the UMass Field Station on Nantucket are amazing teachers and really inspired me to continue learning about the natural world. I hope I can go back and be a Junior Ranger next summer.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Joey finds a Mantis Shrimp

 Joey,a three year old, found this Mantis Shrimp on the incoming tide. 

Incoming Tide

Eliza takes her folks for a walk at the field station.


From left to right - Isobel, Sonia, Anjali, Molly, Carloline, and Mookie.

Thanks for a great summer!

From left to right - Sonia, Anjali, lenny, Ross, Orion, Molly, Tate, and Julia.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Feel Better Soon TG


Thomas had a boating mishap yesterday. He's out of action for a few days and we hope he's feeling better real soon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Guess my name, win a secret prize.

Hells Bells!

Yesterday, our Jr Rangers went on a plant Id scavenger hunt.  This plant, (Datura stramonium) is a member of the Nightshade family and is known by such common names as Jimsonweed, Thorn-apple, and the very colorful "Hells Bells".  This plant is medicinal, it's toxins (which are significant) make this a plant that should be handled with care, and only by trained experts. This plant will be today's writing prompt. 

The color of the day

Molly and Eliza went in search of plants that they might find interesting.  Molly liked that this Yarrow was pink.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Jr Rangers on the beach

From left to right
Thomas, Gigi, Isobel, Julia, and Laura.

They worked hard to make FIELD Day a success,  
finished off the day with a dip in the ocean.


This past Sunday the Conservation Foundation hosted a nature walk for members families.  Anjali is wearing the latest fashion for Deer Fly control on top of her hat, a blue cup covered in Tangle Foot, a sticky substance that works just like fly paper.  When we catch the flies, we feed them to our turtles and fish. 


Our newest Jr Ranger is Molly, she's seen here meeting Dr. Sarah.  Molly jumped right in and helped with the FIELD Day here at the field station on Sunday.  Both of these ladies are from Oklahoma, they have a lot to talk abouit.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Lunch with a friend

Pictured on the left is our Jr Ranger Julia, on the right is her friend Serene.

Nantucket Boys and Girls Club take a nature walk

Anjali and Sonia take the Boys and Girls Club on a nature walk.

Camp Wildwood & Blue Crabs

You can tell this is a male Blue Crab, notice the marking on the middle of the carapace 
(main portion of the shell)
If the marking looks like a lighthouse it's a male.

Ben explains Deer fly and Greenhead fly control to Janet's camp.  

Jr Rangers Take Audubon Camp for a Nature Walk.

We always look forward to our yearly visit from Camp Wildwood.  

New Jr Ranger - Ben G.

This is Ben, our newest Jr Ranger.  Ben helped with Greenhead fly control measures.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


The Jr Rangers work to keep our waters free of invasive species whenever possible.  Pictured above is some Codium. Codium competes for the same habitat as Eel grass. The Codium in turn, has been invaded by a Tunicate, a good word and species to study. Our after lunch discussion today.  

Acrostic Poems

After lunch our Jr Rangers take a half an hour or so to review our mornings work.  Storytelling and songs, sometimes poetry are part of the process.  Here are a few of the Acrostic poems that came out of yesterday's after lunch discussion.  

Marsh fiddler crab fiddles,fiddles around the marsh to dig,dig out a nice little home in the sweet Marsh.  

A Marsh is where marsh fiddler crabs fiddle around and flies buzz,buzz,buzz.

Return to their homes that are holes in the marsh, the marsh fiddler crabs hide from Godzilla with plastic feet.

Salt pan is the lowest point in the marsh, where flies lay their eggs and where marsh fiddler crab waits for a snack.

High in the sky the fiddler crab fiddles around, and falls down,down,down to be food for flying monsters



Flying high
An amazing bird
Landing gracefully
Caging them is wrong
On and on they go flying in circles looking for pray
None should kill them


Domesticated wolves
Outrageously cute
Got to get one
So adorable



Fiddling Fiddler crabs fiddle together
Identify by big or small claws, which snap prey
Digging their small but long holes just to get moister so they can breath
Doodling in the sand, we step on them
Liking one and another is not why they stick together, they together for a less chance of being eaten by predators 
Every day, more are getting born, more are growing, and more are dying
Remembering them reminds us of crabs, and crabs remind me of green crabs that we squish

Crazy as we know it, it only has enough smarts to get by the day
Remaining in their holes, we cannot find them
A crab is a crab, and all crabs have something in common
Being out in their habitat they like, but when captured easily die
Serving is their duty, and they know it well. Fiddler crabs live on.



 Catbird, catbird flying in the sky
Another bird comes along
They are both happy together

Both of them are catbirds
I think they are beautiful together
Really cool together
Doing their thing

They are awesome


Great sharks
Really big
Eats seals
An aggressive shark
To cool

White on its belly
High on the food chain
On the most aggressive shark list
To wet
Engage with sharks

Some sharks lay eggs
High in protein
Are cool
R predators
Kills animals


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Orion Goes Seining

On my first day as a Jr Ranger this year my mom drove me to the field station. Lenny met me there. He showed me the fish in the fish tank. 5 minutes later a car showed up. A family wanted to go seining. Lenny said , “Sure, we can!” So 5 minutes later we were going to the marsh. When we got there we walked all the way down the deer path. We started seining. While I was holding the net the other people saw a blue crab. When we pulled in the net we saw what we had: fish, shrimp, and crabs. We brought them back to the lab. My mom was waiting there. She drove me home.

Orion Dailey
                                                                                                            - July 7, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

         Fiddler Crabs by Anjali

       “Oww!!!” A male Fiddler crab just pinched me. We were catching Fiddler crabs to make a Fiddler crab tank. We only caught Sand Fiddler crabs, not Mud Fiddler crabs.
                 There is a unique way of catching Fiddler crabs. If you were trying to catch a Fiddler crab, and it fled into its hole, right where the tunnel goes left or right, North or South, or just straight down, you put your hand in the sand and block the tunnel. Then you push up and the Fiddler crab pops up and you get another chance to chase it.
                 After we caught the Fiddler crabs, we went for a little swim. I got dunked a couple of times and then we started to head back. When we got back to the laboratory, we pour both the sand and the Fiddler crabs into what used to be the tank of…  DOOM!!!!!!!!! We caught about 20 Fiddler crabs, out of a million and a half. That was pretty fun!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

First Blog Post - Eliza Dean

Eliza and Anjali on the beach

Today was my first day as a Junior Ranger, I learned so much about nature, like, deer flies hang around Juniper  Trees and when a warm blooded animal walks past the Juniper Tree the deer flies attack! We went to the beach and looked at deer tracks and erosion. I learned that you can tell a male and female deer apart from their tracks! We also looked at dead man's fingers, a type of seaweed that takes over eel grass. Then we walked back and had lunch. After lunch we went to the Conservation Foundation and picked up badges and bags for us to keep. When we got back we had free swim time on the beach, I also got to hand feed the turtle. I had a really fun first day.

Eliza Dean

Seining on a sunny day

Lenny demonstrates seining to a group of visitors, one of our favorite activities here. No one is wearing a hat!  Not a good idea when the sun is so bright and strong.  

Orion on the camera

Tuesday it was Orion's turn to take photo's of our nature walk, I like this shot very much, good work Turtle Whisperer.

Tate strikes a pose

On the beach and ready to learn while having fun.

Jr Ranger with Blue Crab

Ross found the remains of a Blue Crab on the beach, nice photo Orion!

Jr Rangers Take Mackenzie for a nature walk

Last week our cracker jack staff of Jr. Rangers took a nature walk with Mackenzie (in the front with camera) and her mom.  Little Mack liked it so much she brought her brother, her dad, and mom back to show them around the field station and show them what she learned.

Jr Rangers (back row) Tate, Eliza, Anjali, Orion, Sonia, and Ross.