“Rain, rain, go away, come again another day.” Deer Isle-Stonington, much like the rest of New England, has been experiencing what seems like an enormous amount of rain and cool weather this spring. DISES science students‘ gloves, clippers, and trowels are still too clean and awaiting the day where the soil temperature warms enough to nurture the fragile jewelweed seedlings we purchased in anticipation of spring’s arrival. Half of the seedlings are planted; the other half will be planted as weather allows.
The rain has not stopped the 5th and 6th grade science class from going out and using probes to collect data about soil and air temperature with their science teacher Mickie Flores. Over the past few weeks, the students have been comparing their discoveries with a school in Biddeford. From what we know so far, Biddeford, which is much farther south in Maine, has been warmer than Deer Isle. No surprises there! Our soil temperature has held steadily between 4º and 7º C; air temperature has ranged from 4º C to 26º C on our solitary sunny day. We are looking forward to student graphs as well as their connections and conclusions between temperature and seed germination and affects on cold-blooded animals.
During the fall trimester, the seventh and eighth grade science class studied plant identification out on the trail to learn more about the various habitats and find out what might be living out there. This spring trimester, our Island Institute fellow, Dana Mark, and our Island Heritage Trust partner, Martha Bell, are teaching an art special, which reinforces the observation skills they learned in science. The students have two projects in class. One is to make plant identification signs for our nature trail visitors. The other is to use a handmade nature journal to record observations of a site that they will return to for a half hour every week.
“I am hoping that students will take notice of some changes in their site over time. Most of all, I hope they will just enjoy some peace and quiet as they start their school day. – Dana Mark
In the meantime, a small group of students are about to begin building an informational kiosk to be used as a display of trail information and student work next year. With the design help of a local carpenter and our Island Institute Fellow, we will begin building as soon as possible. So far, we have sketched out to scale plans for the structure. The students will use their first meeting to discuss the dimensions and make a materials list from the drawing so we can place an order from the local hardware store. The kiosk will be made of wood and stand about 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide. It will have a roof that will protect the display board from rain, and the display will have plexiglass doors that can swing open so information can be updated.
As you can see, spring time has gotten everyone itching to be outdoors and get started on various, continuing projects.
Photos in collage from top left, clockwise:
- DISES science students with gloves and trowels ready to plant
- Planting by the side of the boardwalk
- More planting by the side of the boardwalk
- Reading the soil temperature probe
- Measuring the air temperature 100 cm above the site
- Chilly jewelweed seedling
– Guest Post by Mickie Flores, Deer Isle-Stonington Science Teacher