Happy Busy Bees

The AP bee colony is happy, healthy, and buzzing with activity. The queen is thriving, fat, and happy. She has been working her way through the hive, laying eggs in every frame that is not occupied by pollen, brood, honey, or nectar. The students met with their bee mentor yesterday to check on the hive. On each frame, there are about 2,000 bees! Good news, considering the colony spent a good part of the fall recovering from the loss of their queen. Next week, we will check for swarm cells, look for the presence of Varroa destructor mites and begin planning for a second hive. It’s still a little early to say that we will have an excess of honey this fall, but it sure is reassuring to see such abundance before the nectar flow in a few weeks.

 

 

Springing into Spring with Spring Peepers!

Today, the Adolescents went on another trip to the Land. We scouted the pond areas for frogs and other amphibians. We found many cricket frogs and spring peepers. This is a good sign because those species are native to Missouri. After a successful collection of frogs and data, we split into two teams. One team searched the forest for invasive honeysuckle sprouts and the other team helped Mr. Mike cut down the tall pampas grasses. Later this spring, we plan to replace the non-native pampas grasses with native switchgrass.

By Anna Matthys-Pearce

Ode to Bush-Honeysuckle

Honeysuckles must die, they are meanies,

They kill the earth and other native plants,

We must squish them into small paninis,

Chopping them all down, A wish I can’t grant,

They block sunlight, and invade big forests,

Leaf-growth is earlier for them to grow,

Nothing eats them, not even a tortoise

Growing everywhere, It’s too big to mow

It’s a lonicera that kills all plants

It grows too quickly, it is hard to tame,

This could be a 45-minute rant

Caprifoliaceae, is its family name.

Outcompeting plants like Blue False Indigo

We have a honeysuckle overflow

-Kaylee

 

The Hoh River and Rainforest

Our final journey during our exploration of the Olympic Peninsula took us to one of the most unique ecosystems in all of North America; the temperate rainforest of the Hoh River Valley. The average annual rainfall of the forest is 120 inches, but we were greeted with another day of clear blue skies. The sunshine filtered down to the forest floor to illuminate the hanging mosses and ferns in an incredible shade of lime green. The crystal clear glacial waters of the Hoh provided the perfect setting for the students to perfect their stone-skipping skills. Our evening activity is a campfire with our guide, Nick; an ideal setting to reflect on our experiences of the trip.

Third Beach at La Push, WA

What a day! A hike through the forest to the coast. Here are a few highlights:

Banana Slug, Seals, Bald Eagles, crabs, anemones, starfish, coral, sculpins, waterfalls, barnacles, skunk cabbage, and an incredible beach surrounded by sea stacks and other rock formations.

Elwha River Day

The evening program last night and today’s adventures focused on the Elwha River watershed, the drainage that is currently the site of the largest restoration project of its kind in the world. Students had a chance to measure water quality, help prevent erosion by live-staking cottonwood trees, and explore the river in several areas. Our discussion focused on restoring the function of ecosystems and how we can apply the lessons of the Elwha to our own restoration at the Land. A highlight was our time at the mouth of the river where it meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca. There were seal and bald eagle sightings as well as an enormous supply of perfect skipping stones, some well-deserved down time for the students, and SUNSHINE!