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Marion High School Field Biology: Fall 2005

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Observing at Squaw Creek Park

At Squaw Creek Park there are three different habitats. Those habitats are the pond, forest, and prairie. One of our units was to observe the wildlife in the area and the environment. Afterwards we were to compare and contrast each place with the others. The following are those observations...

The Pond:

When we first got to the pond's edge we looked at a soil sample. It was mucky and mushy, not compact like the soil at the forest and at the prairie. The soil and water in that area was so mucky looking due to the fact that there isn't an insource for fresh water and there isn't an outsource. That causes decaying matter to build up. The water is also covered in algae. To observe the animals living in the pond we got a bucket and filled it with a sample of the water and algae. When we did that we found a lot of small snails, dragonfly larvae, some small bugs, and a water spider. Also around the pond there were a lot of dragonflies flying around. The plants around the pond were tall grasses all of pretty much the same variety. There didn't seem to be many other kinds of animals other than insects living in the pond. It's similar to the prairie in that aspect, both were overly inhabited by insects and not much else.




The Forest:

At the forest's edge we saw a very large fungi. It was white and rubbery on the outside. Inside it was soft and spongey but also wet. The insides of this fungi will eventually dry up and become individual spores. Inside the forest we found two holes that were fairly good sized. They were probably a fox den entrance or an entrance to a skunk hole. All around the forest were fallen decaying trees covered in bracket fungi. As I was walking around I collected many samples of plants in the area. I gathered a lot of different kinds of mushrooms, some strange berry plant, acorns, and I also found a wooly moth caterpillar. It was fuzzy and grayish in color. Soil in the forest was dark and compact. Occasionally, there were patches of tan sandy soil.




The Prairie:

The prairie's soil was rooty, dark in color, and compact. The main inhabitants of the prairie were bugs such as; butterflies(Monarchs and creamy white butterflies), bumblebees, large grasshoppers, and some small bugs that looked like orangish-yellow lightning bugs. I also saw one goldfinch out in the field flying around. The main plants in that area were golden rod, blue stem, and barn thistle. In the stem of the golden rod there was a knob. Inside that knob is a worm that burrows into the stem to make a home. Some knobs had holes pecked into them, those were caused by birds trying to get out the worm to eat. The bumblebees in the prairie help to maintain the flowering plants and keep it healthy. It just seemed to me like the wildlife living in the prairie were healthier and lived longer. I say that becasue it wasn't so full of decaying matter that would just build up.



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Ashley Murray
Fall 2005