Last week, 4-H members had the opportunity to become Eco Explorers at the Sitka National Historical Park with the Park’s Rangers. The 4-Hers learned about three important ecosystems in Sitka: the intertidal zone, the temperate rainforest, and macro invertebrates..
Rangers teach the 4-H members about the intertidal zone
Intertidal zones offer many creatures to observe, such as mussels, sea stars, sea cucumbers and crabs. The 4-Hers discussed what adaptations these creatures have to allow them to survive the tides, and created their own super-human that is adapted to what is needed to survive the boundary between the ocean and land.
4-Hers searched for crabs underneath rocks
While learning of the temperate rainforest, the 4-Hers played organism bingo. The 4-H members were divided into teams to see or hear as many of the species of animals and plants on the bingo sheet as possible. Another hands-on game was played to emphasis the relationship between resources and wildlife.
4-Her marking down what animal they saw in the Park
Learning about macro invertebrates started with becoming one! Each 4-Her was given a card that described one of three macro invertebrates with characteristics such as number of tails, length of the antennae and shell. After they were all dressed up, each discovered whether they were a mayfly, stonefly or a caddis fly. After, the 4-Hers got to do some hands on exploring of what they could find in a stream.
The 4-Hers learned why evaluating what macro invertebrates are living in a stream is important- because they can be measures of water quality and pollution!
4-Hers dressed up as a Stonefly
Each day, the 4-H members got to fill in their journals with what they learned and saw. The journals offered an opportunity to recall some of the things they learned throughout the week. By the end of the camp, 4-Hers had a better understanding of the term biodiversity and the importance of biodiversity here in the Tongass. On the last day, each 4-Her got to graduate as an Eco Explorer and received a certificate for their hard work.
Photos by Alana Chronister
Many thanks to the Sitka National Historical Park Service for providing this amazing camp for the 4-Hers!