Thursday, September 19, 2013
Play Day at Brukner, Spotted Salamanders and Io Caterpillar
This is the reason I continue to volunteer a Brukner Nature Center. It's fun for me and fun for those I teach. I was teaching Reptiles and Amphibians. We were on our way to Investigate a Rotting Log when we made a brief stop at the creek.
The girls in the middle of the photo are looking for the frog another of the students found the moment before. I'm glad someone spotted the frog. It was the only one we found on our excursion.
But that was all right. The students were here for the third day in a row. Earlier in the week they had seen frogs at the pond. They had also found turtles so the reptile family had been seen.
They never did see a snake in the wild which is unusual since they had been in all the Brukner habitats during the three days they had been exploring, I was glad showing and letting them touch one of our Wild Life Ambassadors, a corn snake, was part of the Reptiles and Amphibians Session.
The soil and leaves under the rotting logs at the bottom of the hill where we normally look for amphibians and reptiles were dry because we have had very little rain in September.
One of the Wildlife Educators employed by Brukner suggested I take the children to the floodplain instead. Normally, this is too muddy to walk on. But yesterday, the ground was only damp.
The students looked under logs in two areas and found living treasures in both areas.
The most exciting to find were the young Eastern Spotted Salamanders. All were small, some smaller than others.
Earlier in the week, the students had spent a session learning about insects and insect relatives. They found a variety of these in and around the logs. This is one I had never seen before.
I took a photo of it which I showed to a Brukner intern when the group and I returned to the center. She told me it was an Io moth caterpillar.
A great day. I played and I learned something new.