Friday, September 9, 2011

An afternoon in the intertidal zone!

I am not sure if the kids enjoyed riding in the back of a bouncy school bus or the field work more?
It might have been a toss up...

For this next activity we had to hike thigh deep through the warm mud of a sulfurous smelling marsh with all kinds of creepy crawlies.
It was something!
 The first thing I noticed when reaching our extremely secluded destination was...
 Wild pony poo!

We did see the ponies a few times near Assateague, but they were far away.
So this poop was close, real close.
Anyway, we came here to catch more specimens in which to identify after dinner.
The first thing we were going to use were sift boxes. Basically working in groups of three with one person with a shovel scooping smelly mud from below into the sift box, and one person on either side of the box shaking it gently in the water to remove the mud and leave creatures behind.

 It was my favorite activity that day. Because I had never done it, and it took a lot of shaking to get the sticky marsh mud to leave. Plus, I caught a crazy, vicious worm. The next thing we did was to use dip nets to catch things.

This was the boys favorite!
They are extremely confident and capable with nets,

so they were really in their element.
At one point, our instructor starts telling us about these little shrimp we were catching, and that they COULD be eaten raw. Lately, I have been very adventurous with these crazy food challenges. Remember when I went camping that I ate a cricket? It could be all the Bizarre Food, or Survivor Man episodes wearing me down. It COULD be something crazy hormonal like peri menopause, or really it could just be my awesomeness, but I decided that I was gonna eat one. I popped that clear squirmy thing in my mouth and chewed and swallowed. It was not good. It was fishy and made a weird coating in my mouth. The cricket was much more pleasant.
Now Kaya is my co pilot in situations like these. He is my only one who will give it a shot with me. He tried with the cricket, but spit it out. And he grabbed a little shrimpy,

and popped it in....
But just could not get it down!

Good try though.
 Moving on! Next was the use of nets. We got our lesson on how to operate it,

and we were off!

Basically, you get out there and move around, and gently move the net forward and up,

hopefully containing fish within. No such luck on the fish, but we did get a really neat comb jelly.

Those are the guys that glow at night, phosphorescently. This was a really cool, dirty day. The mud made the water warm and smelly, it was a little crazy to be out there with mud squishing all up around us, and the hike was pure adventure.
It was a pretty cool afternoon.
But our day was far from over yet. Did I tell you how tired we were most times? After dinner it would be time to put names to our curious creatures....
Here is Jess' take on the activity.


Jessica said...

Only you would put the picture of pony poo front and center in your post! You are are full of awesomeness ( are your kids!)

MamaTea said...

WOW! You are brave to try those food challenges! Looks like a great day. You inspire me to do more field trips with my kids - or should I say, research the REALLY cool places to go!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

What fun. I ate a clam I caught once.