The Winter Tracks 2015 season finale began on a sunny beach around 10am, March 6th.
Pioneer School 4th and 5th graders passed 3 pairs of binoculars between the 12 of them, observing the lake perimeter and the wildlife a-flutter with the early season sunshine.
Bald Eagle, Blue Heron, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, American Robin and more were spotted engaging the warm rays of spring along the shoreline of Round Lake.
With the weather of late steadily trending drier and warmer, the students enjoyed easy hiking conditions along the sometimes muddy and boggy wetland habitat transitions along the park’s northeastern section. As they hiked they noticed uprooted trees and pondered on how they came to be, observed songbirds, and learned about North Idaho’s bog-loving plant “Skunk Cabbage,” a particularly odoriferous biological achievement, which pops up early in the spring, even through the snow at times!
Through the alders and the cottonwoods, the kids spread out and searched for the generations-tall ‘Grandfather’ spruce tree their monitoring cameras had been affixed to. The kids were excited to begin using the tools necessary to disassemble the hardware securing the research materials in place. Taking turns, using safety precautions, and affirming leave-no-trace ethics, the site was quickly taken out and the hungry students eagerly began down the trail back to the warming fire.
After another satisfying lunch cooked over wavelike flames in the stone chimney pavilion by the lake, the students headed up to the log-built porch at the historic Round Lake Visitor Center where the Project Coordinator had readied for the students a projector with the image data from the monitoring camera ready to display on the big screen set-up outside.
The students were thoroughly entertained with the moments capture by the motion-sensory camera. We asked interesting questions about the images, what we did see and what didn’t we see, which inferences we can make about the number of individuals present and which we can’t, and how our data might be different if our camera had bee setup in a totally different location… like say, the wilderness?
After reviewing the data, Kristen brought out Round Lake’s Educational Collection of Pelts they utilize in their educational programming, and played a guessing game with the students to correctly identify each pelts mammalian origin.
Thank you so much to the students of Pioneer School for all your positive energy and bright observations! I look forward to seeing Pioneer School next year!!!