Hi! My name is Ms. McCullagh. I will continue to post nature related photos and videos on this great outlet - thank you, Earthwatch! I traveled with Earthwatch to Maryland to study Climate Change and Fragmented Forests at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Prepare questions for our web conference on Wednesday, please...

I look forward to "seeing" you for the video conference on Wednesday.

Please think of questions you wish to be answered and send them soon...be sure to ask questions that I can pose to the scientists. If you click on (or copy and paste) http://www.earthwatch2.org/LFF/RCC09_LFF3/ and scroll down, you can find links to the research being done at SERC.

Thanks again for sharing this adventure with me!

Tree circumference challenge - Congratulations to Roly!

"Isn't the circumference just the diameter times 3.14? The circumference would be 294.8 mm."

Well Done, Roly! You are correct and the first to respond!

Now, where are your responses to all the other challenges I have posted?

Measuring the diameter of trees without cutting...


Today, we learned how to measure tree diameter without cutting them...you knew Math would be part of the science, right?

Lucky for us, the SERC team use special tape measures that convert the circumference measurement in centimeters into diameter measurements in millimeters! This saves the tree being cut, and saves us from having to use a slide rule (!) or calculator to determine the values...

Your Challenge: Can you devise the equation to accomplish such a conversion? If the tree measured 93.9 mm in diameter (according to the special tape) what is the tree's circumference?

A special prize and a "shout out" on the blog will go to the first correct answer!

One of the main research questions deals with carbon storage in the biomass of the forest's trees, and leaves are valuable for the scientists' calculations. So, tomorrow, we expect to travel deep into the research are to collect the leaf litter.

Till then, take a look at the video, photos, and challenges I have posted for you...are you keeping up?

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Dinky, the terrapin

Our adventure today included visiting the Reed Education Center at SERC where Cheasapeake Bay creatures are studied by students. They had brackish water tanks with various fish, and an aquarium for Dinky, the terrapin. Do you see his coloring?

How many of you have had a turtle for a pet? I can remember my brother's pet turtles.

It has rained most of the day, but not too heavily. We are hoping for good sunrise weather tomorrow. Take care!

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The SERC residence hall is found at 38 degrees North, 53' 20" and 76 degrees West, 55' 25"...

The challenge for you - determine the exact gps location of school or your home, and figure out how many miles separate the two locations. Also calculate the direction you would take to get here...

Thanks, let me know when you determine the information!

Good Morning Columbus!

videoI made sure to get to the edge of the water and watch this morning's sunrise... It wasn't too chilly, and the deer running in the woods and the birds singing added to the beauty. I challenge you to awaken early one morning to listen and look for the early morning beauty in your neighborhood. What will you see, hear, feel and smell?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Trees and sky

Travel from Florida to Baltimore was uneventful, and I happily waited the three hours with other teachers participating in the expedition. It was great to get to know my colleagues in the relaxed atmosphere of the Observation Lounge at BWI.

As you can see from my photos, I have taken time to notice the trees and how the sky and clouds appear through the branches. And that brings me to today's challenge for you:

Think about how you spent your Thanksgiving holiday - with whom did you spend today? Family, relatives, new friends? Where were you? At home, on the road, or in transit? Did you experience a new location or weather different from South Florida's?

Did you take time to notice the physical and social environment in which you enjoyed Thanksgiving? Can you describe how that experience looked, smelled, and sounded?

I look forward to hearing about your sensory Thanksgiving experiences!

Our colleagues and location for the week...


I just wanted to give you a glimpse of our digs!

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Only A Few More Hours till Lift-off for Earthwatch Expedition

It's funny how swiftly the time between learning of acceptance to the expedition in August and this "day before the expedition" has flown!

I have prepared for the adventure as best I can. I am almost packed, and the pile of school paperwork has been diminished. I am tying up loose ends, while trying to think "have I left out any important items?"

I hope you also have been preparing for the expedition. Have you tried any of the activities posted in earlier blog entries? Have you determined the size of a local tree? Or estimated the temperatures I can expect to experience in Maryland?

I look forward to sharing the adventure with you. Please tune in to read entries I will post tomorrow and in the coming days. I also encourage you to send me comments via email at mmccullagh@columbushs.com

Thank you, and "see" you soon!

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Saturday, November 21, 2009


AUTUMN LEAVES in Atlanta November 2009

videoWhile at the National Council for the Social Studies conference, I enjoyed a glimpse of Autumn leaves of Maple red and green...

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Weather and proper clothing for the Expedition - help, please?

As I prepare for the expedition, I need to determine "what clothes and jackets" I will need to pack...

I request your assistance - would you please surf to http://www.marylandweather.org/weather_year.php and examine the tables to provide the needed guidance:

1. What is the temperature range I can expect to find in Maryland during the first week of December?

2. What is the wind chill reading for the first week of December?

3. How much rain is measured during the first week of December?

4. What types of outer clothing will I need to stay warm and dry?

Thank you for your suggestions - I think I will need to buy a few items to stay warm and dry, do you agree?

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Testing your Tree awareness and knowledge

What kinds of trees can I expect to find in Maryland?

1. Surf to http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/01glance/html/trees.html
Divide number of tree species for this search activity among the class - click on the button for each tree specie.

2. Use adjectives to describe how the tree and its branches, leaves, and seeds looks.

3. For my Florida students, surf to http://www.treeware.com/trees-fl.htm and make a list of the trees that are native to both Maryland and Florida.

For the students in other states, you can search for your state's native trees (google your state's name and native trees).

4. Were you surprised to find how many trees the states have in common?

Be sure to take a close look at the trees on campus and ones you will see when you travel home. How many of the trees native to Florida and Maryland can you recognize and identify?

Which tree species in particular would you me to photograph and post on this blog? Be sure to send my your comments and observations.

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Readying for the expedition - activities and web searches to help us prepare

Thank you again for sharing this adventure. I look forward to your active participation.

Before we begin the Expedition, you may want to review Forest terminology that will help you understand. Surf to http://www.talkabouttrees.org/terms/terms.html and examine the terms and their explanations. Please answer the following questions.
1. Which forest words are new to you?

2. Which terms do you recognize as being ones you use regularly?

3. Surf to http://www.talkabouttrees.org/acts/p7.html and test your forest term knowledge with an interactive crossword puzzle game!

"What do you know?" Brainstorm time!
Take a few minutes alone or in a small group to create a list of all the products we derive from forests... Use your critical thinking skills to create a list that includes large and small items.

Share your list with the class - how many forest products on your list do NOT appear on any other lists?

When you have shared your lists, surf over to http://www.talkabouttrees.org/list.html and examine their list of forest products. How many of that list are also on your list?

"What can you learn?" Help me practice measuring trees. Please surf to
http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/03/lp309-01.shtml and examine the stps needed to measure height of trees, the size of the canopy, and estimating the number of leaves on the tree.

1. What are the tools and steps needed to measure the height of a tree?

2. What are the tools and steps to measure the tree's canopy?

3. What are the tools and steps needed to estimate the number of leaves on the tree?

4. Measuring these tree characteristics requires math! What calculations are you required to perform to reach the desired measurements? Were you able to complete the calculations without a calculator?

5. Choose a tree on campus to measure...report your findings to the class.

Thanks for helping me prepare the skills needed for this expedition!

Thanks Jordan:
1. Paper
2. Toilet Paper
3. Shampoos
4. Conditioners
5. Wood
6. Berries
7. Mushrooms
8. Snake Venom
9. Maple Syrup
10. Medicines
11. Cardboard
12. Animal Meat
13. Animal Fur

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Preparing for the Expedition by practicing with the video camera...

I have had fun the past few days figuring out how to use the video camera.  I look forward to posting many videos of my adventures on the Expedition, so I'd best learn the system now!

So far, the only glitch in the learning curve is getting the audio-video synched file from the camera to the computer without losing the synch... Any ideas?

Thanks again for following the adventure with me!

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Colors and Joy of Fall

I hope to catch a glimpse of such wonders when we arrive at Edgewater, MD on 29 November!
Thanks to the fine folks at croftonvillagegardenclub.com/ for sharing the joy of Fall Foliage with us!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Forests in South Florida? Tigers in danger!

Expectation rises and excitement builds as these weeks roll past. To think I will be conducting the "Live From the Field" class just four weeks from today!

I also look forward to walking through the forest in Maryland, to listening to the wind in the branches, hearing the creak of the limbs as they sway in the breeze. I cannot find that experience very often in South Florida. We have trees, mind you, but not like the forest I expect to see at the SERC station in Maryland. You are welcome to follow the progress of the Team on the expedition page https://mail.columbushs.com/owa/redir.aspx?C=094badeb2a6f438e80f011806d127877&URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.earthwatch2.org%2fLFF%2fRCC09_LFF3%2f

You are probably wondering, "how does one measure a tree?" You'll want to surf over to http://www.dnr.state.md.us/forests/kids/bigtrees.html and find out the calculations involved. Yes, there will be math, and that is cool!

One of my favorite creatures is a forest dweller, but I won't see one in Maryland - the Tiger is still endangered! You may wish to surf to http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114196411 to read about "Experts: Tigers fast dying out despite campaigns."

There are many preparations to make prior to heading north to Maryland. Thanks for keeping posted to my adventures with Earthwatch and SERC.

Watch for photos, video and stories. Who knows, you may find a poem or video essay or two!

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