By Rachel Blythe (Class of 2022)
Photographers: Rachel Blythe and Thuy Nguyen (Class of 2022)
Video: DVGS Lens
On the morning of April 26th, DVGS students from seventh to twelfth grade were seen huddling into cars, getting ready for this year’s PTO trip. We traveled through windy roads, up and down hills, until we finally reached our destination—UC Hopland Research Center. The research center was nestled among valleys, surrounded by looming, dense forests and we were there to participate in this year’s BioBlitz.1 We then hopped off the cars, assembled into our assigned groups, and headed to the woodlands to begin our adventure.
Everyone was separated into three groups: one group studied species in meadows; another inspected the quality of the creek water; the third group explored life in the sky. The first group removed logs to find the organisms underneath such as scorpions and western skinks, then they were handed butterfly nets to catch insects that were later placed under a microscope and observed.
While the first group was busy running across fields to hunt down the insects, the second group had to catch as many species in the creek to find out whether the water was clean or contaminated. Worms and leeches are indicators of harmful and polluted water. However, they found species that can only survive in unpolluted waters, including the mayfly nymph and the stonefly nymph. Therefore, based on their findings, the creek water was clean and pure.
Each given a pair of binoculars, the group was squinting through them to spot birds and managed to locate Canadian geese, red-winged blackbirds, and a common raven. Then, the organizers of the event showcased preserved birds and snakes and the students got to touch the shed skin of a rattlesnake.
Although BioBlitz was only three hours, everyone was able to connect and deeply understand about the biodiversity around us. With an in-depth look of the species and environments all around us, we can be more aware of our actions toward nature. As the birds settled back to their nests, the skinks returned to their log, the sun shrank beyond the horizon, and so did we, back to our homes and back to CTTB.
1 BioBlitz is a program where students, teachers, parents, and other community members work together to identify biodiversity of an area by finding and classifying species in that area.