May 09, 2019

City iNaturalist Challenge - Class Field Trip (Trip)

I led a group of students and faculty on Saturday (4/27) to get observations for the iNaturalist City Challenge. I offered extra credit for the observations and so I had several students show up.

Posted on May 09, 2019 17:25 by cmeckerman cmeckerman | 144 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 22, 2019

20 April 2019 - Field Journal - TX: Travis Co., Karnes Co., Goliad Co.

This Easter weekend we were taking our annual family trip to my Aunt's country house in Kenedy, TX and then going to my in-laws country house north of Goliad, TX.

We left Austin around 8:30am and just as we were getting ready to go I snapped a shot of a cellar slug on the curb.

It was a cool morning (around 55 degrees F) and sunny. We arrived in Kenedy around 11:30am in time for lunch and some good visiting time with my family. During the course of the afternoon I took a few walks to photograph some of the flowers and wildlife on their land. They use the land for cattle and wildlife conservation.

Late in the afternoon we left for Goliad and arrived around 5pm. We had dinner and then took my youngest daughter and my two step sons fishing at the stock tank where Teresa (my youngest) caught her first fish (the bluegill observation).

I took the opportunity to take several pictures of plants around the pond as well as a few damselflies.

The day was very pleasant in both locations and the breeze was very light. I did not have a thermometer with me but I would guess that the high was in the low 80s for the day.

Posted on April 22, 2019 21:09 by cmeckerman cmeckerman | 65 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 11, 2019

April 10, 2019 - Field Journal - TX: Travis Co.; Austin; Baurle Ranch Greenbelt

Lately I have been scanning in some of my old field journals so that I can store them more effectively digitally and so that I can share some of the data that I have with some of my colleagues. It has reminded me that I used to be pretty decent at writing in my field journal and over the years I have gotten out of the habit of keeping one. There are a lot of reasons for it but in the end I feel like I need to make an attempt to write down more of my thoughts when I take my hikes or field trips to observe nature. I am going to give it a go with the iNaturalist journal because I can link all of my observations from the day.

Date: April 10, 2019
Location: Texas: Travis County: Austin: Baurle Ranch Green Belt Park

This morning I decided to take a walk in the green belt of my neighborhood. I walk in it often but I had more time than usual and so decided to make a morning out of it. The park is shaped like a doughnut with some development in the middle of it and so I decided to walk the entire perimeter of the "doughnut".

I started around 0900 and I didn't get back until about 1230.

Conditions: The weather was perfect. It was 23 degrees Celsius when I started (0905) and it climbed to 31 degrees by 1130. The sky was absolutely clear and there was a light breeze. It rained this past weekend quite a bit so all of the low lying areas either had water in them or were muddy. Several of the trails were muddy as well. There are two "permanent" bodies of water in this park on the North and East sides of the park and they were full and overflowing. The stream that runs through the southern portion of the park is usually dry but it had a decent amount of water in it today. I took a picture of the mosquito larva already in it (there were 10s of thousands of them!). I felt like running to the pet store and buying gold fish and dumping them in the water (I would never do that but it is going to be a very mosquito infested area soon).

Notes: Despite the beautiful day today I only saw one other person on the trail for the entire 3 hours. This was a rarity and I really enjoyed it.

My goal today was to try and get a few pictures of birds and then like always I ended up photographing anything that I ran across that I thought was interesting. Some of the notable observations for me today included the large bullfrog (I had heard it calling before I found him), the Echinocereus cactus that I hadn't seen before (there was quite a large stand of it), the little wood satyr butterfly that was in a stand of cedar trees and the completely white bluebonnet flowers (there where 2 of them).

Today I had gone to a new part of the park that I didn't know existed and it took me to a wooded area that is technically outside of the greenbelt park on the north side. It was notable because it was a much thicker stand of trees than the other areas and so had a lot more shade and that is where I got a picture of the little wood satyr butterfly which likes those conditions. It was also shady enough that there was quite a bit of moss on fallen logs there too. This is not the case in the rest of the greenbelt park.

All-in-all it was a great day. I added a couple of new plants to my list of observations that I hadn't seen before and I also added the little wood satyr as well.

Here is a link to the park in google maps https://www.google.com/maps/@30.1667111,-97.8481066,15.72z

Posted on April 11, 2019 03:18 by cmeckerman cmeckerman | 110 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 03, 2018

It's that time again for student iNaturalist projects

For the fall semester I have 3 BIOL 1407 classes (structure and function of organisms). That is a total of around 70 students in the class that will be required to do some observations. This will be the 4th semester I am using iNaturalist as one of the centerpieces of my class. You can see the work of some of my other semesters along with another teacher that is using iNat in her class at:

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/acc-biology

For those of you interested in how I approach the use of iNaturalist here is the break down of the iNaturalist assignments. If you want the actual assignments then just email me and I will send them to you.

The following is a schedule from a typical 15-week semester.
Week 2: iNaturalist Lab (introduce them to iNaturalist and take a field trip to show them how to do the observations.
Week 3: Project (part 1) due. The students have to do 30 observations of any living organism following the iNaturalist guidelines.
Week 6: Project (part 2) due. The students focus on protists. They are required to bring in pond samples to labs each week until they get 15 protist observations.
Week 9: Project (part 3) due. The focus is on plants and fungi. They have to make 30 plant observations and 10 fungi observations.
Week 12: Project (part 4) due. The focus is on invertebrates. They have to make 40 invertebrate observations.
Week 15: Project (part 5) due. The focus is on vertebrates. They have to make 15 vertebrate observations.

Posted on September 03, 2018 20:25 by cmeckerman cmeckerman | 3 comments | Leave a comment

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