Thursday, June 26, 2008

Otters and Bobcats and Bears, oh my!

Camp at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest is almost over! Today, campers had the opportunity to become familiar with the tracks of the local mammal community. Armed not with guns, but identification guides, measuring tapes and pencils, the campers moved to eleven different stations along the low boardwalk to find tracks baked in Sulpty clay along with the appropriate mammal scat (that's the scientific word for poop). The scat was plastic as were the tracks used to make the impression in the clay.

After identifying the tracks, campers prepared to make a plaster cast of their favorite track (minus the black bear and beaver tracks which were too big). After the plastic track was selected, it was pressed into damp sand and surrounded by a plastic ring cut from the cylinder of a 2-liter soda bottle. Next, campers mixed water into plaster of Paris using a popcicle stick and the bottom of a 2-liter soda bottle as a bowl. When the plaster was the consistency of a good cake batter, it was poured into the ring surrounding the track. Once the plaster cured, the track was shown in three dimensions.

Bring on the canoes!

Images by Mark Musselman

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