Hi! My name is Ms. Hoskins. Please join me while I travel to Maryland to study Climate Change and Fragmented Forests!

Monday, November 30, 2009

These are calipers used for measuring tree growth.

Tree Growth and Air Quality

Today I learned how to measure trees at DBH (data breast high) which is about 3.1 meters from the forest floor. This measurement is marked with tags and flags and plotted into a ten by ten hectare. The tape measure we are using (see above) is special; it automatically measures diameter, not circumference. This is great as I do not have to use any math formulas to arrive at the correct measurements! A dendromenter is attached. This metal spring slowly opens as the tree grows and scientist measure the tree growth and compare each tree to all the other trees in the forest. They are trying to find ways to create/maintain healthy forests; not only in America, but all over the world. China, India, Brazil, and England are also engaged in this same experiment. The forest I am working in has over 52 species of trees spread out over 2500 acres.

I look awesome! It's raining, it's cold, and I'm wearing an orange vest. Who could ask for anything more?

Fashion Forward

I got my neon orange vest and my socks tucked into my shoes to keep out the ticks. Don't I look fashionable?

More Little Critters to Avoid

These are some examples of the ticks found in the forest. I have to wear my socks over my jeans so they do not crawl up my ankles and bite me. I have bug spray with Deet I use and we all check for ticks when we come in from the field.
After looking at the photos of the hazards in my field work, how does it compare to the hazards in your classroom?

Beware of Things That Fly

Hornets are bigger than I thought and thousands can live in one nest. Their nests can be as large a a beachball!

Safety in the Field

The saddleback catepillar is pictured above. Beware of its sting!

In Science classes everyone has to take a safety test. I just finished my safety briefing. I learned how to spot ticks that cling to clothing and try to bite you (Lyme Disease), the saddleback catepillar, and hornets that like to build nests on the ground/trees. We also have to wear bright orange vests as it is deer hunting season! Luckily, it is too cold for copperhead snakes.

1. Compare the hazards in the Science classroom to the hazards I face in the field.


I got up at six to ride out to the Rhode River to see the sunrise. It was so quiet; all I could hear were geese, ducks, birds, and the sound of the water. There were deer everywhere. Today at nine I go to my first briefing and learn what research I will be helping with this week.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Room With a View

I thought everyone might like to see the views I have from my window and the back door to the room where I will be staying this week. It is very quiet here; all you can hear are tree frogs. There are millions of stars out tonight. The area is full of deer and birds. Tonight the temperature will be in the 30's. Here are some things for you to think about.

1. What do you see when you look out of your window at your house? What do you hear?

2. What do you see when you look out of the windows at school? What do you hear?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I thought everyone would like to see where I will be spending my week learning about the changing climate and its effects on trees and the efforts scientists are making to preserve and conserve our forests.

This is an areal view of the Smithsonian Educational Research Center (SERC) near Edgewater, Maryland.

Everyone who knows me well is aware I have absolutely no sense of direction and my fellow teachers are teasing me as to how long it will take me to become hopelessly lost in the forest!

Many students have asked me how many acres of forests SERC encompasses, the types of trees found in the forest, and the age of the forest.  I will let everyone know the answers to these questions as soon as I meet with the scientists at SERC.