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Showing posts from February, 2017

The Seasonal Metamorphosis of a Pond

Imagine you are looking at a pond. What do you see? Many would say water, plants, fish, maybe a few frogs.  But there is much more to a pond ecosystem than just meets the eye.  In the spring, a pond is an area teeming with life, while during the winter, everything seems to go still.  So what exactly is happening just below the surface?

Winter
During the winter, it may seem like everything in a pond has been put on hold.  This is partially true, as activity is slowed greatly during this season.  Turtles and frogs have retreated into the cozy warmth of the mud.  Insects are no longer skimming across the surface.  The metabolism of organisms in the pond as well as the amount of photosynthesis that is taking place is greatly decreased during the winter.  This is an important adaptation as both food and sunlight are in short supply.  In areas where ice is able to form on a pond, several changes occur. Since ice is less dense than liquid water, ice will form at the top of the pond and will ev…

Crystal Award Winners at Sierra Outdoor School

The Crystal Award, is Clovis Unified School District's highest employee recognition award, has landed at the Sierra Outdoor School!

The Crystal Award is a prestigious award that honors employees of Clovis Unified School District for their above-and-beyond work.  This peer nominated award recognizes those making a significant difference in the lives of Clovis Unified students.
Superintendent Dr. Janet Young sums up the spirit of the Crystal Award as, “The Crystal Awards celebrates these winners who are true examples of the values and character that make Clovis Unified so special. Their passion, innovation, dedication and dynamic work ethic help our students reach their full potential in mind, body and spirit.”
While CUSD has almost 6,000 employees, only 32 employees were selected as 2016 Crystal Award recipients.  It is an honor to have two Sierra Outdoor School employees be selected for the Crystal Award in the same year:  Sharon Bush and Mike Olenchalk. Sharon is the school’s baker …

Wait, do bears really hibernate?! Waking up to the truth about winter's sleep

Imagine yourself going for a hike through the vast Emigrant Wilderness in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. You stop to look out over a field covered in the first light snowfall of the year. You’re captured by its beauty. One snowflake falls on your nose, then two, then more cover your hair. It’s mid-November. A crisp breeze rolls over the field and makes you shiver. What would you do next? Being a smart hiker, you probably brought a warm cozy jacket. Maybe it’s fleece, and if you’re experienced in the wilderness, it’s probably waterproof. Now imagine yourself on this same field of freshly fallen snow, but instead of two feet in wool socks and hiking boots, you now have four large paws covered in dark brown fur. Your five claws are sharp from climbing trees to reach nuts, berries, and seeds. Your fur has thickened in the recent months. The snow is falling gently, covering your snout and ears. That same crisp breeze rolls across the field… but you hardly feel it. That 350 pounds you put on…