Archive for the ‘Gardens’ Category

Plum Island Trash

Throughout the field trip to the Plum Island Reservation, the wide spans of beach, dunes, coastal vegatation. The end of the island, also known Sandy Point is a real change of pace compared to the other end of the island and the rest of Newburyport. For many years the press has been all over the fact that thebeach is eroding and how can someone fix this? Even though this is not good for Plum Island, this is a natural occuring event unlike the great amount of trash that has ended up on the beachfront that give us a barrier to the beutiful, massive, powerful ocean. From human thrown trash found on the beach to washed up trash, it causes a major concern for the fragile habitat.

Within the last year a major public concern is the distribution of the small plastic mesh circular disks from a water treament plant from the Merrimack River. E Coli and Entercoccus could be found in these disks. Young children were warned not to play with these disks because of the infection possible with exposure to these disks. When we were at Plum Island Reservation, the disks were scarce but were still visible if you looked carefully. This is just one present example of pollution that has occured in the area and directly affected the enviroment of Plum Island. Plum Island was affected because of the current flowing down the along the island, many pollutants and tras deposits end up on the shore of Plum Island.

Though the Island itself is still a major destination for tourists, homeowneers, birdwatchers and nature lovers, the Island is slowly showing the affects of human pollution and trash on the island. There has to be a change in regulation among beaches throuhgout the whole area. Through government agencies, the beach fronts can be cleaned up for human use and animal habitats.





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Usually when I’m out on a run I’m thinking mostly about trying to maintain my pace, which road I need to turn down next, and any homework I have due.  Unfortunately for me, when this thinking process is taking place I somehow manage to forget to do other important things such as you know breathing, but I usually manage to keep it together pretty good.  I decided that the next time I went out for a run, I would completely clear my mind from all my thoughts, and just observe what is ‘nature’.

I noticed that while I was running there was this large bush, which I almost thought it out to be a small tree.  Of course it wasn’t until later that I found out it actually was a shrub.  It was called a ‘Quince shrub’.  The reason I noticed this particular shrub was mainly from all of the bright pink flowers it had blooming.  As I got closer and examined it more clearly, I heard loud buzzing noises so my initial reaction was to just keep running!  But as I backed away I also saw some hummingbirds at the top circling it.  It was very interesting and of course naturally the process taking place right before my eyes was ‘pollination’.

To see a small part of pollination occurring was definitely cool and it got me thinking about how each organism in nature relies on one another to survive.  For example, if the Quince shrub did not produce any flowers, then the birds and the bees would not be able to survive since they rely on the nectar.  However, if the birds and bees did not fetch for the nectar and pick up pollen at the same time to disperse it as they fly to different plants, the flowers in question would not exist.  Overall, pollination and the relying of organisms to one another is an ongoing process that will definitely continue for years and years to come.

Jake Getz

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The Unabridged Tale of One Biology Class Hopelessly Lost and Against all Odds in the Uncharted Pentucket Territory

Good Sirs and Madams,

In our biology class, we went out of the civilized world and journeyed into a Land Lost of Time. This sector that our class explored was, as we soon discovered, a watering hole of sorts, filled with strange specimen and dangerous traps. On this heroic quest for knowledge we began to learn about ecology and the flow of energy throughout the animals and plants. For example, a plant produces eneregy from the sun by photosynthesis. Then the plant is eaten by the primary consumer like a wild antelope or a graceful butterfly and the energy is thus transmitted. This energy may then flow into another animal like a mystic wolf or feral cougar. On the ramble through the thick grasses and uneven roads, my patrol and I saw many phenomenal and noteworthy specimen.  Of these, one of the most notable was a marine fish in which we decided to name John Cleary, after the swashbuckling resemblance to one of my fellow classmates. These fish, we deduced  were at the upscale side of the food chain because of two reasons. One being that they were not plants and two being that they appeared to eat smaller organisms. Then, a thought of genius dawned upon one of my fellow troops that if the fish/John Cleary were not the primary producer then what was? A classmate pointed out that usually primary producers were green and so we began to suspect that the frogs were maybe the primary producer. Eventually we realized this was not so because not only did the frogs not photosynthesis but they also consumed organisms. If they consumed other organisms than they would be a consumer not a producer. Over the course of many minutes filled with illustrious and bitter arguing it came to the unanimous vote that the grass, algae, pond weeds, and other plants were the primary producers. The energy from these producers was consumed by smaller organisms which were then consumed by the frogs and fish. By this time it was pretty far into the period but the bell was not scheduled to ring for ten whole minutes. For fear of starvation our class had to resort to cannibalism. While eating some nice Homo Sapien I had a brain blast in my head and saw just how much organisms rely on other organism for survial. For example, if all the plants died then how would we survive? This is very scary and we should recycle to save to the trees.


-Ben Craig

(This wolf is at the top of its food chain)

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Garden Exploration

Yesterday morning I ventured outside to explore the garden surrounding the sides of my house. I noticed that many new flowers had bloomed , but the big tulips that had bloomed last week were starting to die already. There were many bee’s flying all around the flowers and occasionally landing on them to pollinate the flowers. The flowers are there only because they have been planted by humans. If this garden was not made, it would just be filled with weeds and shrubs. Therefore the bees would not live there and move on to another location with more flowers. Along with the yellowjackets, there was many other bugs around the garden including bumble bees, ants and dragon flies. In the maple tree in front of the garden, sat a chirping robin. It was sitting in the tree waiting for a bug to fly by so it could eat it.

 The sun provides energy for all the plants. The plants, which are producers, provide energy for the bugs, which the birds then eat and gain energy from. If the plant population died off in this garden ecosystem, it would then be barren from any other life. The other organisms would all either move on or die. The opposite would happen if a consumer such as the robin died. If this happened then the bugs population would increase, causing the plant population to decrease. Any major change would mess up the fragile balance in the garden ecosystem.

~Marissa P.

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How do organisms affect one another’s survival?

Organisms can be separated into two main groups according to what they eat, autotrophs and heterotrophs.  An autotroph is a producer that makes its own food.  Heterotrophs are consumers and can be either carnivores (eat animals) or omnivores (eat both animals  & plants).

On the class trip outside I observed many things that support these facts about the food chain and ecology.  For example birds eating insects.  I also observed fish and their nests around the pond.  In addition, there were many different plants that help animals to survive by providing food for them,  the plants also help filter the water and provide oxygen.

An example of this in nature is that worms and other insects are eaten by birds and other animals to provide nutrients for the animal that eats them.  Also another example of this in nature is that plants provide energy for herbivores and omnivores.

If all of the plants died then so would all of the herbivores and the animals that feed on the  herbivores.  It would eventually lead to an entire disaster because all organisms would starve and die.

If one organism dies it does not have as much of an impact on the ecosystem than if an entire species because there would still bee food/energy to provide for all of the other organisms.

It is difficult to make accurate predictions about changes in communities of organisms.  This is because you never know if the organisms could make adaptations and still survive.  We would never really know until the situation actually happens.

Amanda C.

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Today I went outside to observe what was going on. The first thing I noticed was a big, fuzzy, bumble bee http://www.bumblebee.org/ digging a whole into the dirt beneath a lilac bush.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syringa I’ve never seen a bee digging into the ground before so I was surprised. It seemed as if it was taking cover from the weather because it was very windy and rather cold for how it had been the past few days. I walked around the lilacs and it seemed as if they were already passing by; compared to most years where they were just blooming at that point. I walked up my walkway, and I noticed that the daffodils we had were already dead, and I really couldn’t remember when they were ever alive. I was thinking that the poor bee no longer had a place to collect pollen, since all of the flowers were either dead or hasn’t bloomed yet. With out the bees, I couldn’t think of any organisms that would die, except for maybe birds, but that wouldn’t make a big impact on the organisms either. So what’s the point of bees? All they do is sting people, and I guess the honey’s okay though. I felt bad so I took my mom’s columbine flower and planted it outside. I hope it doesn’t die with all of the cold weather we’ve been getting lately.

-Vicky D

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wasp hive in the bird feeder

In my backyard this afternoon, I noticed that in my bird feeder was a bee-hive. This hive was about the size of a softball. It had a dark gray-ish color to it, and it looked like it was made out of paper-mache. This old hive may have contained yellow-jackets from last season. Yellow-jackets are insects that sometimes pollinate plants. The plants are a producer, which means they absorb the energy from the sun. This energy flow continues through the yellow-jackets as it pollinates. Yellow-jackets do not tend to be big pollinators because they do not contain the hairs to retrieve the pollen. These yellow-jackets prey on many insects such as crickets, caterpillars, flies, and others. I was just taking a walk through my backyard and i saw a food chain. Stay tuned for more walks through the wilderness! (:

~Marina G.

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The crocuses are finally emerging in my front garden. I only saw purple ones; I wonder where the whites, yellows, and oranges are.

Today I pruned the wisteria bush, trying to only take off the newest vines. There are ‘rules’ about when and how to prune, but realistically – I prune when I can, which is better than not at all. The wisteria looks like it could take some more pruning, but I’d like to see the blooms before I take it down any further.

This wisteria should have been planted further from the house as some of the ground roots have, when left untended, made their way into the cellar through the cellar window.  My thought when planting it was that it would make an archway from the front yard to the side yard, and maybe someday it will. At the moment, however it is at just the right height for hitting the driver of the lawn mower in the face.  While beautiful in the Spring, it is an aggressive plant that requires continual monitoring.

Ms. McCarron

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