The journal entry below was written by Philadelphia ZooCREW student, Natasha H.. during one of our times near a stream. Each year the Institute leads a field trip for students for the ZooCREW (Zoo Champions for Restoring Endangered Wildlife) program where we explore the natural history of the Poconos.
I see they run on the ground, I see them running round an’ round. For something sweet, something, kind, something to help them survive. I say, I say, you scamper so, slow down, slow down, I say this so. I want to say not ‘goodbye’ ‘good day’! Yet still you run! One-sided fun! I see, I see where you lead me to rainbow of color that take root to earth not sky. Though some reach for the sky thinking of a past life. I say, I say; as I see a mystery bug right beside me. I ponder what they may be until a bird distracts me, they will stay anyway I’ll come back not today. I saw, I said; no more time to play, time to go to another day. Goodbye those that speed by, goodbye those that don’t say hi; I’ve seen and said and wrote ahead. Now what say you, do you see too?
The journal entry below was written by Philadelphia ZooCREW student, Corey E. during one of our times near a stream. Each year the Institute leads a field trip for students for the ZooCREW (Zoo Champions for Restoring Endangered Wildlife) program where we explore the natural history of the Poconos.
The sight of the emerald giants that merge together to make a scene of abundance as if a green sea that sparkles with a crystal glare. They sit in columns and stand . These majestic organisms bring life to my sight. I can hear its fluttering as the wind blows. I feel a sense of freedom and relief for these giants put me at ease. If they had a voice I wonder what they would say. If they could move I what would they do. These humongous emerald figures, they make me wonder.
As a part of their outreach after the field school, Academy youth participate in outreach in the areas of education, service work, media engagement, and the creative arts. Reports from the Field are reports from the youth on those experiences. In this blog, student Jonathan reports on his experience shadowing field biologist Kris Goetz in the field as he does a CREP review.
Watch Jonathan’s video first – where Kris describes what “CREP” is:
It may not be the most glamorous or well-paid job ever but Kris Goetz still has a very important job. He does CREP reviews for the York county NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service)office. What is CREP? The conservation Reserve Enhancement Program is a program that provides owners of land with compensation for taking the land out of production and making it into grassland. The land owners are required to keep noxious weeds to a minimum. They must also plant trees on their land and must have a 70% survival rate of trees to fulfill their end of the contract. A surviving tree is any tree that is either planted or natural growing which is considered beneficial by the CREP. Kris’s job is to survey fields in the program and create reports based on his findings.
I went with him on three visits to different locations. The first field we visited was good for the first half despite some thistle and mile-a-minute which are considered noxious weeds. In the second half of the field we encountered lots of 4′-8′ Cedar trees where it was supposed to be a grass field habitat for songbirds. On the second field, a riparian area, Kris was worried at first thinking that the trees wouldn’t meet the required 70% survival rate. Upon further investigation we decided that it passed with an approximate 85% survival rate.
At the third CREP site, we were warmly greeted by the owner of the property and he was eager to show us what was going on at his CREP site. He had worked with the Adams county DCNR service forester, Matt Kern. His CREP site was in excellent condition and needed no immediate changes. After that we went back to the NRCS office. While Kris’s job may not be traveling the world or CEO of a big corporation he gets to be outside and help the environment which are two of his highest priorities.
Shay F., a returning student we call an Assistant Team Leader, wrote about her experience at the Pennsylvania Brookies Field School in her nature journal at camp this year.
Friday, July 12, 2013
I stand around all day, listening to biologists ramble on about fish. We do this from six in the morning to eleven at night, with very little breaks. I only get about five to six hours of sleep a night. I share a room with about 15 other girls, some of whom snore and others who roll around all night, their beds creaking loudly. There are only three showers in our bathroom. Don’t even get me started on the work.
Sounds awful, huh? But this is only the surface. As like a geode, on the outside, the Wildlife Leadership Academy seems rough and hard. Once you get past that, however, there are crystals, or the good part that makes it all work it.
The inside is so beautiful that you forget about the rigid outside.
Yes, we spent all day learning about fish, but you are learning from the best in Pennsylvania. And saying there are no breaks is a fib. We play trivia games with buzzers, and do team building activities to keep us alert and allow us to have fun. We have journaling time where we are able to unwind and get in touch with nature. And, at the end of the day, there are cabin inspection and the dailies (photos from the day) that leave us laughing so hard, we almost cry. Yes, we get no sleep, but you have the rest of the summer for that, so who cares? Finally, the work can be really overwhelming, but once you get through all of it, you know that you can do anything. You are a herd of charging bulls, no one will or can stand in your way.
At the Wildlife Leadership Academy, you gain valuable leadership and social skills. You meet people with the common interest of wildlife and conservation. And when you leave, you leave with the skills to become a wildlife ambassador and with valuable connections in the biology world.
I’ve never regretted attending the Academy, and I don’t think that I ever will. It was one of the best weeks of my life, and I am eager to begin my outreaches to teach others what I have learned. Hopefully, I can come back again to prep the next biologists.
A blog post by Jackie R., a regular contributor to the blog and an Academy Apprentice, reflecting on her vacation to the beach.
Upon my return from the beach this past week, my mind is full of amazing experiences: not of riding amusement rides, shopping in stores right up against the beach, or digging in sand full of trash. These experiences are associated with wildlife and the picturesque coastal environments in which they live. Unfortunately, nowadays many of our beaches have been commercialized and development has completely altered their ecological role. At the Assateague Island National Seashore, however, visitors have the unique opportunity to experience a natural coastal environment, where many species are prevalent. A typical day on the beach is copious with Brown Pelicans swooping over the ocean, Bottlenose Dolphins surfacing in the water, and Sandpipers scurrying along with the tide. A look behind your umbrella will not leave visions of hotels and restaurants but of sand dunes, vegetation, and coves that provides much needed habitat for coastal wildlife, some being endangered.
On the neighboring island of Chincoteague (where vacationers stay) the land is engulfed with salt marshes. Behind our cottage was a canal teeming with wildlife. While fishing from the dock, we watched herons and egrets hunt for food and we even observed a Diamondback Terrapin for the first time, sunning itself on a log that protruded into the water.
Assateague and Chincoteague’s natural bliss provides visitors with an atypical but yet rewarding beach vacation, and more importantly it provides many species with a safe haven in our world of commercialization and preserves the original role of the Eastern Shore.