Follow my blog as I explore the mammals of Nova Scotia!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Last Day

Today was our last day of exploring and observing in Nova Scotia. For our last trip we went to the Seaside Adjunct of Kejimukujik National Park. The trail was about 4 miles and it was mostly along the ocean. The views were beautiful and we got to see a white tailed deer and seals! Enjoy the pictures, I'll see you all on Monday!
Miss Beeman

Thursday, April 23, 2009

First Grade Friends in Nova Scotia

I just wanted to share a few pictures of my first grade friends Kawsar and Aisha exploring and trapping at Cook's Lake!

The door is shut- I wonder if we caught anything?

WE DID! It is a red backed vole.

Look at this neat skull we found in the woods!

Thanks for traveling with me and helping out girls!
Miss Beeman

Friday's Inquiry (our last one for this trip)

Boys and Girls,
My time in Nova Scotia is almost done, while I am sad to be leaving my new friends, I am excited to be back at AQ on Monday! For our last inquiry I'd like to have you look at differences between some skulls we found at Cook's Lake.

? Which mammals have horns? (tree map)
? Which mammals have antlers? (tree map)
? What is the difference between antlers and horns? (double bubble)
? Which mammal do each of these skulls belong to?

Wolf, Eastern Coyote, Coyote Information

Aquila Inquirers,
Thank you very much for all of your hard work and research about the wolf, coyote, and eastern coyote! You all found very interesting information. I am including much of what you told me, along with a few other things I have learned in a chart below so you can see all of it.

For those of you who did not figure it out, the eastern coyote is half wolf and half coyote, so it has characteristics of both animals.

  • has a highly organized social structure centering on a dominant male and a dominant female
  • has been exterminated in many parts of North America
  • works hard for its food—a pack kills only about one large mammal for every 10 chased
  • howls as a form of communication among packs
  • lives and hunts in a pack
  • used to be the most widely spread mammal
Eastern Coyote
  • lived on the western prairies, they were plains animals
  • adapted to a forest environment, including the pursuit of larger deer sized animals
  • larger than the western coyote
  • run in larger, more organized packs
  • hunts in packs in the winter and lone in the summer
  • has such well-developed senses of hearing and smell that a sudden odor or noise can make it change its course in mid-step
  • has very strong-smelling urine, which it uses to mark its territory
  • is a remarkably hard runner
  • adjusts its hunting methods to the prey size and food sources available
  • hunts alone

Thank you again for taking the time to research these mammals!
Miss Beeman

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hello Boys and Girls,
Unfortunately, today was another rainy day in Nova Scotia. Due to the rain we didn't catch very much, in fact, we only had two voles and a chipmunk all day!

Tomorrow morning will be our last day of trapping, we will check our traps and then collect them. Close to lunch I will Skype with most of you and we can talk about the eastern coyote.

On Friday I will Skype with many of you in the morning and you will have a chance to talk to one or both of our scientists. If you have inquiries for them, please write them down and your teacher will pick a few students to ask them questions.

I added a few maps (on the previous entry) for you to look at so you can see where we have been working and visiting! I miss you all lots and I am excited to see you next week!

Miss Beeman


Places we've been:
Cherry Hill (between Bridgewater and Liverpool)
Kejimkujik National Park (see below)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dear Aquila Friends,
I am going to take a break from blogging inquiries and answers tonight, as I spent a bit of time making a video for you to see on Thursday at the assembly and I am exhausted!

Today was a long, rainy day and it was very cold. I hope tomorrow doesn't rain as much. We only caught two voles, hopefully tomorrow will be better for catching!

Please try to get your answers together for the wolf/coyote/eastern coyote inquiries and post them on the blog tomorrow (Wednesday), I will then post the information I have received from our research and the scientists.

Miss Beeman


Boys and Girls,
After further research and discussion with Dr. Newman, I have to make a correction or clarification about the wolf/coyote blog... There are actually no wolves or coyotes specifically in Nova Scotia (there are some in Canada) the only one found in Nova Scotia is the eastern coyote.

I would still let you to look at the wolf, coyote, and eastern coyote and discuss their adaptations, similarities and differences. After you have determined the general adaptations, the important questions are:

*Coyotes traditionally lived in flat areas before coming to Nova Scotia (Canada), but now live in the woods of Nova Scotia, how would they have to adapt in order to survive in their new habitat? (Your thoughts as well as research are welcome here.)

*What is the Eastern Coyote and how/why was the species "created"?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Animal Counts

Chipmunks: 2
Red-Backed Voles: 7
Deer Mice: 3
Garter Snakes: 4
Mystery Snake: 1
Porcupine: 2
Muskrat: 1
Beaver: 2
Deer: 7
Toad: 1
Bald Eagle: 1
Grouse: 1
Red Squirrel: 2
Partridge: 1
Osprey: 2
Turkey: 1
Guinea Fowl: 4
Mallard Duck: 1

Tuesday's Inquiry

Wolf, Eastern Coyote, Coyote...
1) Using a tree map and start to find out information about each of the animals. There will be more similarties than differences, but there are a few things different (namely how they hunt and what they eat).

2) Coyotes traditionally lived in flat areas before coming to Nova Scotia, but now live in the woods of Nova Scotia, how would they have to adapt in order to survive in their new habitat? (Your thoughts as well as research are welcome here.)

BONUS) What is the Eastern Coyote and how/why was the species "created"?

Eastern Coyote



(I did not personally take these pictures, we have only seen droppings, no actual animals mentioned in this entry! I wanted you to be able to see what each looks like!)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Monday's Inquiry

We covered a lot of information last week! I am going to list a few things for you to inquire about, if you have already done one (or more) of them, go on to the next item!

1) Discuss differences and similarities between beavers and muskrats, answer the questions from the beaver/muskrat post, and see if you can figure out which one is a beaver and which is a muskrat (and why). (To be discussed during short Skype sessions on Monday.)

2) Look at my postings from "Catching Up" and "Halifax/Kejimkujik" come up with any inquiries you have about my pictures.

3) Start thinking about wolves and coyotes... use a thinking map to describe each of them and see what you know. We will discuss these animals in Tuesday's blog.

4) Write down any other general inquiries.

Miss Beeman

Halifax and Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia

On our day off from research we went into town for the day... it was a little different because we have been in a fairly remote area of Nova Scotia called Cherry Hill, along the South Shores. There were so many neat things to see and do, some of which were closed because the tourist season starts in May.

On Sunday we went to Kejimkujik National Park for a 7 mile hike and to do a little research.

Below are a few pictures!

Miss Beeman


Our team on the board walk in Halifax, on a cool but sunny day

The turkey we saw driving to Halifax

The town of Halifax

The wharfs of Halifax

Tommy the Tugboat

Kejimkujik National Park

The waterfalls at Keji

Miss Beeman at Keji

300 year old hemlock trees in Kejimkujik National Park

The deer we saw at Keji


Catching Up...

There has been a lot of really neat things I have seen and experienced, but have not had time or space to post them in my blogs- so this entry will be a random collection of pictures and information. If you have any inquiries, please feel free to post them!
Miss Beeman

The shore line at Broad Cove

The shore line at Broad Cove

My wellingtons/rubber boots/puddle jumpers that saved me on our shore walk!

Traps on the shore line

Our timidity tray that we (mostly Mr. Wolfe) built to test our small
mammals in

One of our 19 traps out in the woods

Dr. Newman setting a camera trap (to hopefully see pics of some larger mammals)

One of the chipmunks we caught in our traps

The snake Mr. Wingall was holding- we think it might be a Martime Garter Snake, but we're still researching

Our pile of hare scat, we collected 4,811 pieces total at East Port Medway (our first research site)

The "green house"/girl's house where we eat all of our meals and have our meetings (picture taken by Mrs. Metz)

The "yellow house"/boy's house (picture taken by Mrs. Metz)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Friday's Inquiry

Tonight we spent some time at a pond looking at beavers and muskrats. Please inquire about the following items:
* habitat (extra points if you know the names of their homes)
* food
* adaptations
* how to tell the difference between a beaver and a muskrat

If we have time we'll talk about it a little when we Skype, if not, we'll touch on it next week!

-Miss Beeman

Recap of Thursday

What a busy day!
We went into the fields to check our traps in the morning, did deer dropping plots (where we scan an area 10x10 for deer scat), then came back to our house so all the teachers could Skype with the students at their school and had lunch. Later in the afternoon we went back out to check our traps so none of the animals were stuck in them for too long and guess what? Team E had two more catches! Both were voles this time. Shortly after that we got set up to look for beavers and muskrats. Let me tell you, it was a long and extremely cold 75 minutes, but very exciting when we saw our furry friends!

Animals studied (st), spotted (sp) or held (h):
3 Voles (h)
2 Snakes (sp/st)
2 Beavers (sp/st)
1 Muskrat (sp/st)
3 Deer (sp)
1 Porcupine
How many animals did we see altogether?

2nd Graders- For our Skyping today (Friday):
Discuss and decide on adaptations that have evolved in mice and voles over time in order for them to adapt and continue to survive, write them on the board or post it notes for our Skype session. (Hint: there are physical and behavioral adaptations.)

-Miss Beeman

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Snowshoe Hare

Thank you for the responses, you are great inquirers! You are right, the big feet are another adaptation. The hare uses it's feet to help it escape from predators. The big hairy feet help it to run quickly over the top of snow drifts and to whack its enemy with the hind feet.

The reason I asked about the coloring of the snowshoe hare is because we learned from Dr. Newman (one of our scientists) that most of the time the color change helps the hares to hide from predators, however, because of the change in climate (weather/temperature) the hares are getting confused. Recently the weather has not matched what would typically be expected, meaning it snows for the first time at the end of December and can snow still in April (just like in MN).

How a hare knows to change color
A snowshoe hare changes color based on the length of day, it actually has nothing to do with the temperature! As the days get shorter and it starts getting dark earlier the hare changes from brown to white. When the days begin to get longer the hare changes back to brown. Because of the climate changes the hares are changing, but often their fur color is not matching the
environment (area it lives in) and it becomes a moving target for predators. The other thing happening is some of the hares are a brownish white color and that coloring still makes it much easier to be seen.

Talk about why the snow is not falling as the days get shorter and melting as they get longer... what is causing this change in climate?

I'd love to hear your thoughts when we Skype tomorrow!
-Miss Beeman-


Our days here are so busy and packed full of new learning I am having a hard time deciding what to share on the blog, what I can do on Skype and what will just have to wait until I am home!

Yesterday we laid out 10 rows of 10 traps, who knows how many traps that is? The traps are called Longworth Traps and we will use them to collect data (information) that will tell us the population density (how many in a small area) of the small mammals in that location. The scientists then take that information and compare it to other years to see if the number of small mammals is lower, t
he same, or higher. They will then know if something is changing in the climate (with the weather) and if the animals are adapting or not.

Today our main project was to check our traps to see if they caught anything last night. We
set out this morning and out of 100 traps, there were six with shut doors, but after further inspection two were "false catches" meaning there was nothing in there or a shrew went in and triggered the door to shut, but they were able to escape because they are so small. Of the four animals two were deer mice and two were red back voles. Unfortunately, Team E (Mr. Wolfe and myself ) did not have any catches this morning.

We checked the traps again this afternoon, on the off chance we caught something they weren't in the trap all day and all night. It is not as common to catch animals during the day, so we weren' t expecting anything... However, we caught FOUR MORE animals! Team E had two traps with catches! Two of the traps had red-back voles, another trap had a deer mouse, and the fourth, a chipmunk! Mr. Wolfe and I were very excited to catch something! You can watch a short video clip of Miss Beeman being a risk taker and open minded and getting the animal out of our trap.


In the end, it was a lot of fun and I am really glad I showed commitment! I wonder how many more animals we'll have in our traps tomorrow? What is your prediction?

After you have read this blog entry, go down to the next one and look at the inquiry for today!
-Miss Beeman

Thursday's Inquiry

After watching the video in the last posting, do you think I caught a mouse or a vole?

Mice and voles are similar in many ways, but do have differences too... can you inquire about what is the same and what is different? It might work best to make a double bubble map so you can compare and contrast them!

After you have compared and contrasted the mouse
and the vole I want you to inquire as to how these two mammals have evolved (adapted) to survive over time. There are physical and behavioral adaptations they have both made...

I look forw
ard to seeing what you can come up with! (Use resources if you need to.) Be thinking about your response, I will be Skyping with many of you Friday and we will talk about the mouse and the vole.

-Miss Beeman