Tuesday, 12 April 2016
On a rainy, chilly Tuesday morning, Ruth Taylor, a professor at Mayo High, brought 40 students to the preserve! With students, you never know whether walking in the rain will be a fun-filled experience or a miserable one. These students were excited the moment they got off the bus. Score! They weren’t going to be miserable the whole trip.
Because this was a larger group, we asked Terasa Lott, a Water Resources Agent @ Clemson Extension, to come present a stream water quality assessment with the students on Swift Creek. This meant the students would hike about 15 minutes to the creek, sample macroinvertebrates with D-nets, and sort them using keys. By assessing the macroinvertebrates, you can compute an index value of water quality (i.e. poor, fair, good). If the stream health is poor, some macroinvertebrate species will not be found since they cannot live in polluted water; they will only be found in streams with good or fair health.
This trip was a great one in terms of finding organisms! After sampling inverts, we went off trail to find some and Ben, a field assistant, was pulling bark off the tree to see if he could find a snake or lizard but found an opossum instead! It didn’t attack, thankfully, but sat quietly still until the danger (the students) passed. We also saw a marbled salamander, a five-lined skink, a slug, and a toad.
Thank you students and teachers of Mayo High for allowing your students to be a part of the Black Creek BioBlitz program! You officially put opossum on our species list!