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⋆.⭒🪴 Summer Conservation Journal ☀️☘︎


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My Conservation Journal of Summer 2024

₊˚ʚ 🌱 ₊˚✧   𓋼.𓍊‧𖤣°𖥧˚🍀𖥧°𖤣𓍊.𓋼˚   ✧˚₊ 🌱ʚ˚₊

Considering I am going on many explorations for my summer bucket list (as this is my last summer as a legal child!), I will have lots of stuff to talk about! So, here is a separate journal for summer conservation!

Join me as I explore many United States National Parks and State Parks, including:

  • Olympic National Forest | Olympic National Park
  • Mount Rainier National Forest
  • North Cascades National Park
  • Seaquest State Park & Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
    • Ape Caves
    • Trail of Two Forests
    • Ice Caves
    • Silver Lake
  • Beacon Rock State Park
  • Mt. Hood | Mt. Adams | Mt. Baker
  • Cape Disappointment 
  • Potholes State Park
  • Rainbow Falls 
  • Wallace Falls
  • Arcadia Beach (and many locations along the Oregon & Washington State coastlines!)
  • Elowah Falls
  • Saddle Mountain
  • Panther Creek
  • San Juan Islands
    • ... and more!

I follow year-round schooling, meaning over the summer my mom allows me to customize my curriculum to solely be about my interests. It is more of a self-study homeschool that has actual school credit. Cool right?! So you will certainly see some of my more technical, scientific stuff from my projects. Learn with me! Let us have some fun this summer ... join me as I play outside and learn!

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Entry one - new book!

I got a new book today! I asked my English teacher if I could borrow it and he said that no one ever reads it, so I could have it! It is titled "The Life of Rivers and Streams". I love it so much!!!! Look at how awesome it is!

liferiverstreams1.jpg.ab42db14bcbeabd4208a84b5388d7b52.jpgThere is so much info on aquatic bugs!!! Even microfaunas like daphnia and zooplanktons. My edition is from 1967. And yet such relevant awesome information!!!!!!!!! Gosh I am such a happy boy today!

Yes it is amazing. I am so happy. And grateful!

liferiverstreams2.jpg.878dceb7ee83bcc9e3125c4471992a99.jpg

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Entry two - homeschool assignments

I am a homeschooled weirdo. Here are some of the projects I have come up with for over the summer!  If you are interested in nature and need to do some research projects (whether for home-school or normal school, or just for fun) you are more than welcome to steal these ideas. No need to credit me, just have fun!

  1. How do common bird species use geometry in their nests? (skills studied and concepts learned: exploring geometric shapes, angles, formulas; logical reasoning; evolution and adaptation to environment)
    1. Select three bird species and research their nests. Construct models of their nests using the same materials and techniques. 
      1. bird species to consider: American robin, Steller's jay, Black swift, Osprey, Golden Eagle, Spotted owl, belted kingfisher, western flycatcher, American dipper, Lincoln's sparrow, red-winged blackbird, chickadees
    2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the nests? 
    3. How does the location of the nest help or hurt the survival rate of the eggs?
    4. Do birds show any signs of mathematical processing when building their nests?
  2. How does the symmetry, shape, and structure of leaves support the success of different deciduous trees? (skills studied and concepts learned: symmetry; angles; radial and spiral patterns; adaptations and evolution; photosynthesis; natural pesticides and deturants)
    1. Select up to eight native tree species. Collect leaves of the selected species.
      1. tree species to consider: red alder, paper birch, Pacific crabapple, black hawthorn, bigleaf maple, vine maple, netleaf hackberry, chokecherry, Oregon ash, chinquapin, cascara, Pacific dogwood, quaking aspen, black cottonwood, Garry white oak, Pacific willow (and other salix)
    2. Record the growing site, approximate size and age, and competition & success of the tree.
    3. How and when do the leaves fall?
    4. Do the leaves seem resistant to insects, or are they a delicious snack?
    5. Do the leaves break off easily? 
    6. Do the leaves withstand water? How do the leaves and petioles handle water?
    7. What adaptations have the leaves developed for their growth sites?
    8. Do the leaves break down easily? Does the structure of the leaves support this?
    9. How does the size of the leaves support the tree? Is there a wide variation in size?
    10. Why is the leaf the color it is?
  3. Part one: How does the width of streams & rivers affect erosion and sediment movement, and how do these factors determine the ability of plant growth? (skills studied and concepts learned: trigonometry; geometry; nutrient needs in plants; velocity and speed; force; erosion; logical thinking and correlation)

    1. Use trigonometry and geometric principles to measure the width and depth of a stream, as well as the overall slope of a stream.

    2. Use principles of trigonometry to analyze the effects of riverbank erosion on the surrounding landscape and to calculate potential sediment transport rates.

    3. What plants are present?

    4. Use velocity to determine the speed and direction of the flow.

    5. Do a “dirt jar” test to determine the substrate composition of the center, sides, and shoreline of the stream. 

    6. Are there any noticeable or potential relationships between the depth, width, speed and direction of the stream and the soil composition?

    7. How does soil composition relate to plant growth? 

  4. Part two: How can a 3D model help illustrate the river ecosystem studied, and can the model help predict the water flow, vegetation, and aquatic life of other rivers and streams? (skills studied and concepts learned: scale; building and crafting models; measuring angles and slope; presentation skills; how to show movement and evolution) 
  5. How do geometric shapes influence the movement patterns of aquatic insects? (skills studied and concepts learned: diagrams; geometry; angles; movement)
    1. Select up to ten aquatic microfauna (insect larvae, microorganisms, molluscs, etc) to study.

    2. Species to consider: daphnia, tubifex worms, black worms, stonefly larvae, mosquito larvae, backswimmers, water pennies, diving beetles, scuds, aquatic spiders.

    3. Create a diagram of each aquatic insect.

    4. Break the diagram into shapes and angles.

    5. How do these shapes and angles support or harm the movement, buoyancy, and overall characteristics of the organism?

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The garter snakes have emerged!

I am so thrilled! For the past four years, we've had two resident garter snakes in our backyard who are an established mating pair. I have already found about 10 tiny baby garter snakes crawling about my rock garden! They are so cute. 

The two residents don't have names, but we love them dearly (well, I do. My mom and dad are... tolerant). One is about half a meter, the other a little longer, perhaps at 70 cm. Being in the Pacific Northwest, our residents are the Northwestern Garter Snake. The main difference with common garter snakes and northwestern garter snakes is the fact that northwestern garter snakes have white spots on the tips of their scales. Which I love! It makes them seem almost ashy. It is super cool!

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  • 2 weeks later...

CAMPING TRIP NUMBER ONE 

JUNE 10th - 14th - four nights and five days

I am SUPER excited for this one. We will be camping along a river, which my mom says is PACKED full of Skunk Cabbage Plant [so you know I am super excited], and I will have the chance to study some aquatic insects! I might even do that math project about geometrical trends in the bugs. 

Plus, it is salmonberry time! They are just starting to get ripe and gosh, my mouth is starting to water just thinking about em! 😅🤤 I know lots of people don't like them. Which is fair. They kind of taste like a toned-down raspberry, but I just adore the texture. I am not a big fan of firm / crunchy / crisp foods, so their mealy-ness is actually super appealing to me. Plus they taste super good with sorrel [yes, I know sorrel is technically not good for you in large amounts. but it is a personal choice i make !! ❤️ some people drink beer, I choose to eat sour plant from the forest !!!] you can wrap it up like a taco and it is great. My mom hates that I eat plants from outside, but I only eat plants I can identify. And I can identify plants very well! I know she just wants me to be safe. But bunnies and deer and bears eat sorrel and salmonberries! And they are great little critters, just like me!

I will be out of service and away from my computer, so I will give a bigggg update once I get back! It might take me a while to finish it. Because when I play in the woods.... there is no stopping me!

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