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After accepting a position as an interpretive naturalist for Lake Metroparks, I was delighted to start my first day at Earth Day in Penitentiary Glen in Kirtland. Since rocks are my strength, I helped participants select their own special rock to adopt. After selecting a memory rock, families went inside the Nature Center to complete their adoption papers and create features for their Rock Buddy. You got to just dig rocks!
A few cold weather nature lovers joined us to investigate the Canal Exploration Center and Brandywine Falls at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Students learned the history of the canal and enjoyed the many hands-on activities in the newly remodeled Exploration Center. A hike along the canal plus a trip to view a very frozen Brandywine Falls highlighted our trek.
Nature Treks Help Kids Discover Local Treasures by Stacey Turner
Mantua – While some kids treasure their extra days off school by sleeping in, on NEOEA Day, several kids donned rubber boots, joined their families to hunt for treasures in the heart of Mantua Village. At Mantua’s Buchert Park (4800 East High Street), the group met Ryan Moss from the Ohio Division of Natural Resources. Moss donned his waders to enter the river, showing firsthand some of the hidden treasures that can be found in a typical Cuyahoga River monitoring exercise.
First, Moss used a Turbidity Tube — a narrow PVC tube roughly two feet long — to show participants how to measure the river’s water clarity. Looking through the side of the tube, the water appeared remarkably clear. But changing perspective and looking through the top of the tube, participants realized that because of sediment, the bottom was hidden, just as the river’s bottom is hidden from view. Moss’s next step, however, shed plenty of light on some of the interesting creatures that call the Crooked River home. And while the depth and current of the river made it impossible for the children, mostly third graders from Crestwood Intermediate School, to enter the river, Moss brought some of the river to them.
Moss used two plastic shoebox-sized bins as mini aquariums, which he filled with river water. Taking a three-foot section of netting, Moss entered the river and used his feet to jostle the rocks resting on the river’s bottom, sending its former occupants into the waiting net. After carefully closing the net, Moss exited the river, opening the net flat so that the group could locate critters, examine them, and place them into the waiting bins. Hidden among the fall leaves, participants found crayfish, a multitude of insect larvae, tiny freshwater clams and a water penny beetle. Moss and a team of volunteers monitor the Cuyahoga in various locations during early spring, summer and fall to test water quality of the river by the variety of creatures found within it. According to Moss, the river quality at Buchert Park rated excellent that day.
After releasing their treasures back into the river, participants followed Rosemary Krupar, CIS third grade teacher and Teacher-Ranger-Teacher for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, down the nearby Headwaters Trail to investigate the Oak Ridge Trail. The boisterous group startled a snake sunning itself along the trail as they identified leaves, explored the woods, and enjoyed the crisp fall day.
Nature Treks is a free extracurricular program to provide outdoor education to Crestwood students and their families. During several sessions throughout the 2014-2015 school year, families will meet at various sites in the area for interactive nature experiences. These sessions take place on select weekdays when school is not in session. For more information on upcoming Nature Treks, contact Rosemary Krupar at Crestwood Intermediate School, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cuyahoga River water quality monitoring Headwaters and Oak Ridge Trails
Crestwood Intermediate School families joined Ryan Moss of Ohio Division of Watercraft to analyze the Cuyahoga River water quality. Mr. Moss should students how to use a kick net to gather macro invertebrates for identification. Although the water level was high due to recent rains, students were able to locate many specie indicators of good water quality. Students identified Water Penny Larva, Mayfly, Stonefly, Caddisfly, and Dobsonfly Nymphs. One unfortunate Dragonfly Nymph was attacked by a Crayfish during our investigation. A surprising specimen showed a Caddisfly casing the Nymph built between twigs.
Students joined Mrs. Krupar on a guided hike of the Headwaters and Oak Ridge Trail where we enjoyed the fall foliage and leaf identification. We even surprised a Gartner Snake sunny itself along the trail!
To celebrate our fortieth wedding anniversary, my husband and I toured Rome, Florence, Naples, Sorrento, and Capri with his brother Michael, sister Bonnie, and niece Michelle. Our daughter, Allyson, joined us our her way home from Dadaab, Kenya. It was truly a one in a lifetime trip to remember!
Our "Wild Wyoming Women" continue to explore Utah's Ute mountains. It was amazing that all of us were able to visit with retired Crestwood teacher, Lee Dean, to explore her new condo, adventures, and friends. Naturalist, Chas lead us on to guided hikes. We climbed the Deer Valley ski resort mountain and then took the chair lift down. Mt. Timpanogas proved an amazing hike up the mountain during thunder and rock slides to view the limestone caves formation. A highlight of the trip was horseback riding, kayaking, and attempting stand up paddle boarding on the Jordanelle reservoir.
A recent visit to see Einstein Fellow, Crestwood teacher, and friend, Natalie Harr, brought us new experiences in Washington DC. Traveling with teachers who had not been to DC in years was like seeing the monuments for the first time through their eyes. Next stop was hiking the Billy Goat Trail in Great Falls National Park plus dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill near the White House. A trip to Arlington National Cemetery was enhanced by a wreath changing ceremony by Philippine and Army officials including three platoons in full dress uniforms and a performance by the Army Band. It is always exciting experiencing our nation's capital.
Rosemary Krupar teaches 3rd grade at Crestwood Intermediate School. She is working as a Teacher-Ranger-Teacher at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.