Friday, July 4, 2014

Flano's First Day - by Henry F.

        My first day as a Junior Ranger was quite fun, I got to spend the day with two new Junior Rangers Beck and Nick.  Both boys were very funny and a pleasure to be around and will be for the rest of Summer.  The first thing we did was play the Hunger games.  The Hunger games at the field station is not what you would think it is.  Instead of fighting to the death (even though sometimes that can happen) we go out and Lenny tells us names of plants and animals that we have to write down, then whoever has the most at the end gets an italian ice..  Most of the plants I know from last year but it is a good way to learn the many that I have forgotten, it is also a good way for the two new Junior Rangers to learn new plants.  It was amazing to see all the plants and realize how many names I had forgotten and how many different plants I knew last year.  After going around writing down many plants and animals we went into the lab and grabbed a bucket.  With the bucket in hand we went down to the marsh and checked a trap, inside their were green crabs and an eel.  We immediately went up to the lab with the eel to estimate the circumference and measured how long it was.  To measure the eel we put it in a long tube so that it would be easier to measure.  Then got the yardstick and measured the eel to be 18 1/2 inches.  Then we measured the width of the tube which was 3 inches.  Then we multiplied 3 times Pi which is 3.14, which gave us the circumference of the tube 9.42 inches.  We then estimated that the eel was 1/5 the size of the tube, so we divided 9.42 by 5 to give us 1.884 the estimated circumference of the eel.  After measuring the eel, Nick was dying to hold it. So Lenny let him hold it, and immediately afterward he dropped it back into the bucket because it was so slimy.  Afterwards we brought the eel back to the marsh where we let him go free. We next went to the garage to see if anyone was gonna come on the walk.  At 10:15 we decided no one was gonna come on the walk, so we went into the pond to get more traps.  We took the canoe and kayak out.  Me and Beck got the canoe out while Nick got the kayak.  The canoe only had one good paddle so Beck and I agreed that he would paddle out to the birdhouse and then I would grab the trap (mostly because I can’t paddle for my life in a canoe).  So once I got the trap we paddled back.  Beck was getting tired so I made him take the trap and I paddled back (this was a horrible idea).  Half the time when I was making us go in circles and then the other half of the time I was making us eat the bushes and trees on the bank of the pond.  When we got close to the opening where we should have pulled the canoe up onto land, Lenny yelled at me to get out and pull the canoe the rest of the way.  This is because it would it would have taken forever with me paddling.  So I took off my shoes and then jumped off.  SPLASH!!  Went the canoe with the trap and Beck .  Then Lenny and Nick started laughing at us and we had to drag the water filled canoe the rest of the way.  
        After drying off we went up to the lab to help Emily out with mosquitoes.  Emily puts out traps to attract the mosquitoes.  The traps use light to attract mosquitos but they also attract many other nocturnal insects like moths beetles and any other nocturnal insect attracted to light.  Because of all of these other insects that get trapped inside with the mosquitos we were given the job of taking out anything that wasn't mosquitoes.  Mosquitos have specific characteristics such as their long nose called a proboscis and their wings.  We looked at a few cool mosquitos underneath the microscope.  It was amazing to look at the wings and how beautiful their body was.  Emily gave us a lesson on how mosquitoes can be different and showed us a bunch of different species of mosquitoes.   And being me I had to eat one of the bugs, so I ate a beetle.  It tasted weird and it was crunchy, oddly enough it tasted like a wild blueberry. YUM!!!  
After finishing separating the mosquitoes we went down to the marsh and then hopped into kayaks to bring the trap out  into deeper marsh.  I decided to take the single kayak since I didn’t want to be going in circles the whole day.  So Nick and Beck went into the double kayak and had the trap between the two of them.  When I put my kayak in I was dumb and pushed it in, then the current took it and brought it away from me.  Luckily there was grasslands and the kayak didn't float away from me.  Then I did something even more stupid and jumped right into the marsh and didn't look before I did.  Turns out their was silt stuff that made me sink knee deep into it so I could not walk and get the kayak.  So Nick and Beck had to go get it with their kayak and I had a spa treatment for a few minutes.  But dang when I got out of the silt it smelt so bad it smelt worse that 2 week spoiled milk, and trust me I know what it smells like I also know what it tastes like but thats another story.  But then we got to kayak through the marsh looking for a good place to put the trap.  Once we found a good place to put the trap we headed back to Lenny and then had lunch.  After lunch we went for a little swim, even though I was the only one swimming and boy was it cold.  Then we went back to the garage and we ALL had italian ice cause Lenny is a softy.  He didnt even check to see how many things we had got written down from The Hunger games.  All in all my first day as a Junior Ranger was quite fun and I hope to have lots more fun in the upcoming Summer. 

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