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6th Grade Field Trip to the Maynard Ecology Center

6th Grade Field Trip to the Maynard Ecology Center
Posted on 06/17/2015
MaynardThis week we started studying biodiversity in Science class. Biodiversity is the amount of different plants and animal species in an environment. Today we went to the Maynard Ecology Center with Ms. Ferhani, and several parents. We had an awesome trip! From looking at half dead tadpoles floating belly up in a tank of algae to gathering data for the water treatment plant, we learned so much on this trip.

First, we were put in groups of four or five kids and given a sheet that had different kinds of plants. While we worked and squatted in the long grass filled with bugs, we charted how many of one kind of plant were in our square. Then we made up excuses of how not to squat in the grass because we felt like there were ticks and bugs all over us! We also found data for the people at the Fresh Pond Reservoir to see if they should or should not mow the flowers at the end of the season. If they mowed them, all the food for the small animals would be gone. If they didn’t, then the flowers would be pushed down by the snow and the seeds would be shaken out for the small mammals to eat. After we added up all the data for our group, we determined which outcome was the best. In our data, the non-mowed group contained the most biodiversity.

After lunch we learned about a flower from Europe that was taking over Fresh Pond and kicking all the native plants out. It is basically impossible to get rid of. You can’t pull it out because it’s 12 feet tall. You can’t cut it down because that just makes it spread more. You can’t set it aflame or use chemicals because it might run into the water. So, they had to bring in beetles from Europe to eat the plant. They tested the bug for a long time to make sure it only ate that plant. They found out that not only did it eat the plant, but it actually died if it did not eat it! They would not eat anything else. The population of the plant and bug follow each other. If the plant diminishes, so does the beetle. If the plant thrives, so does the beetle. Elena actually saw the beetle in the square that she was charting. We learned so much! We even were taught how to spot poison ivy. Thank you, Ms. Ferhani, for taking us on this trip, and thank you parents for coming!