Hello my name is Ms. Heard. Please join me as I travel to Nova Scotia to study small mammal populations!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

This morning we went to Kejimkujik National Park.  We did a count of deer droppings.  To do this we marked out a square 10 meters by 10 meters.  (6th graders and 7th graders, can you figure out what that would be in yards?)  Then we all lined up at one side of the square and walked straight through the square to the far side.  We counted the piles of deer droppings as we went.  A pile has to have 5 pellets to count.  By walking close together in a line, we looked carefully at all the land in that square.  We did 5 different squares in one area of the park that our scientists check several times each year.  We found 3, 9, 13, 13, and 0.  The counts matched up with the pattern of past springs:  one area always has a lot and one area never has any.  The scientists are using this information to learn where the deer like to return at different times of year.

We did a 6 mile walk through a hemlock forest.  There were areas of new growth and old growth to illustrate how a forest changes as it grows. 

Dr. Khan's students:  Can you guess which has more biodiversity:  a young hemlock forest or an old growth hemlock forest?  Can you explain your reasoning for your answer?  When we skype you can tell me what you think and we can check your answers.


  1. Ms. Heard,

    It sounds like you are doing some really cool things! Thank you for sharing yr experiences with us.

    Looking forward to reading more posts.

    Stay warm!
    Mrs. Bornmann

  2. Hello Ms. Heard!
    I remember that the temperature in hemlock groves is frequently cooler than in surrounding areas. Did you find that to be true, or was it just too cold overall to notice?
    Ms. Trilling

  3. Hi Ms. Trilling,
    I did find the temperatures in the hemlock forest to be lower. That seems to be because the tall trees provide a think canopy that blocks out the sunlight. Another result is that not many things can grow under that canopy, so the groundlevel of a well-developed hemlock forest is not only cooler, but is also wide open and easy to walk around.
    Ms. Heard

  4. Hi Ms. Heard!

    We think that there is more biodiversity in an old hemlock forest.


  5. Hi 1T,

    The biodiversity is lowest in the oldest forest. Try to think of why that is before we skype this afternoon and I'll explain.

    Ms. Heard

  6. We think the biodiversity is higher in the younger because there is more sunlight getting through.

    From 1T