Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I am posting two posts tonight because I answered your questions in one and will be sharing about my day and asking you some more questions in this post. If you did not read the previous post first, please do so and then come back to this one.

Today we hit the jackpot! We got to see all sorts of mammals today! The first thing that we did this morning was to travel out to our research site to check our traps that we set yesterday. We were very anxious and hoping to find something. We will check our traps six times, two times a day for three days. Our researchers didn't expect us to catch more than ten animals in this three day period, however, we captured 8 today. This morning Caroline and I caught a deer mouse and a red backed vole. Another group caught another mouse and a third group caught another vole. This afternoon, Caroline and I didn't catch anything but one group caught a mouse and a vole and another group caught a chipmunk! We were very surprised to find a chipmunk in our trap because they are so much bigger than mice and voles. I have posted a picture of the chipmunk. It shows our researcher, Christina, holding it. She is holding it like this because if she didn't, it would try and bite her. One group hasn't caught anything yet so we are hoping they get something tomorrow!

After we took our mammals out of their traps, we had to do some research. We weighed the animal first. I have attached a picture of Christina doing this. She would then take a pair of scissors and cut off a small patch of fur on the back right hind quarter. Why do you think Christina would cut of some of its fur? We also checked to see if the animal was male or female and if it was female, we would look to see if it was pregnant. All but one of the females we caught today was pregnant. It is the very beginning of mating season so most of them have only been pregnant for about a week at the most. After we took all of our measurements, we recorded them and then it was time to release our mammal. When we released it, we put it in the maze boxes and timed how long it took to get out of our maze. I posted another close-up picture of our maze box. We did this because the rodents we are trapping right now were ones that survived the winter. We are putting them through the mazes because we want to see if they can problem solve and get out of the maze since they are older and have had more life experience because they were smart enough to survive the winter. Later on in the summer after the babies have been born, they are going to continue to trap the mammals and put them through the mazes. They are expecting that these younger mice that they catch in the summer will take longer to get out of the maze because they haven't lived as long and are not as smart as the older mice. When we put our vole into our maze, it took it 9 minutes to get out! It just stayed in our maze and hid in a corner because it liked it in our box. The mouse we captured this morning escaped our maze in 11 seconds!

After checking our traps, we went around collecting rabbit poo and collecting it in bags. Why do you think we did this? What do you think we can learn from collecting animal droppings?

In the afternoon we were split into three different groups and took hikes down different nature trails. We were looking for field signs of different animals. Field signs are clues that animals leave in nature to show us that they live in an area. For example, my group found coyote droppings, fox droppings, hare droppings, a beaver dam, porcupine tree damage. We also saw a red squirrel, bald eagle, a pheasant, and a toad out in the wild while were on our hike. One group even saw a beaver! These signs all show us that there are several different types of animals living in this area.

Tomorrow I'm going to talk to you about adaptation. Before I do this, I want you to discuss what you think the word, adaptation means. Why is it important for animals to adapt? Can you give me any examples of animals that have made adaptations to their environment? I am very interested in your answers to this last question. I will give you some examples tomorrow of this.

I hope you are having a great time and learning a lot because I am learning so much that I can't wait to share with you. I hope you are enjoying the weather in Iowa also because I hear it has been beautiful! Can't wait to hear from you!
Mrs. Quam :)


At April 16, 2009 at 1:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just showing Aiden's mom how to reach you!

At April 16, 2009 at 2:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it posubl to have a pet vole.I MIS you MRS.QUAM.

At April 16, 2009 at 2:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mrs. Quam:

This is a note from Mrs. Burkhardt's class. We liked seeing you this morning, and reading your blog.

From Avery, do you get to see any ocean life?

From Chloe, have you seen any kinds of animals in Nova Scotia that we don't have in Iowa?

From Beth, what has been your favorite part about Canada?

From Allea, what has been your favorite kind of animal you've seen?

We miss you and hope you're having a great trip. Thank you for letting us be a part of your adventure, too!!!

The Burkhardt Belugas

At April 16, 2009 at 7:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi mrs Quam
The chipmunk is cute.
why do you have to take fur off of the mammal? My mom says I know the answer but I don't. [from Mom - is it like giving blood at the doctor's office?]

love, Keri

At April 16, 2009 at 8:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen any Puffins?How many mammals do you think you will see Mrs.Quam?Is it cold there?Are you in the forist?Are you staying in a hotel?How many snaks have you seen?


At April 16, 2009 at 8:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many babies do voles have at a time? More than one?

Do you like working with your partner?


At April 16, 2009 at 9:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mrs. Quam,

It's Adam! I was wondering if you have had any good food since you have been there? When I was in Canada, we had really good ice cream at DQ. Are you staying in a hotel? Do you miss Chloe?

Hope you are having a gooooooooooooood time!

See you soon


At April 19, 2009 at 7:29 PM , Blogger Mrs. Quam said...

Dear Mrs. Burkhardt's class,

I do get to see some ocean life but not much because it is so cold. If we were here later in the summer, I would be able to see seals and whales, but all we have really seen are ocean ducks and seagulls.

As for seeing animals that aren't in Iowa, I have seen a porcupine, red squirrel, voles, osprey, partridge, and a grouse. Some of these animals may be in Iowa but I have never seen them. My favorite animal I have seen so far is a porcupine.

My favorite part about Canada is the scenery and the ocean. I really like being close to the ocean. Also, the people I have met here are very friendly.

Thanks for keeping up with my blog! I hope you guys are learning a lot. I can't wait to see you all when I get back. And if you have any more questions, please let me know! :)

At April 19, 2009 at 7:33 PM , Blogger Mrs. Quam said...

Dear Matthew-

I have not seen any puffins but I would like to. I'm not sure how many mammals I will see but I have already seen a lot! I hope to see many more this week. It is cold here, especially in the morning, but it has been warming up in the afternoon to about 55 degrees. We get hot sometimes though because we do a lot of hiking. We do spend most of our time in the forest because we do a lot of hiking and a lot of trapping. I am not staying in a hotel. Our scientists own three houses. The girls stay in the green house, the guys stay in the yellow house, and the scientists stay in their own house. I'll try and post pictures later in the week. I have also seen 3 snakes so far. Thanks for leaving me a comment and checking this at home! :)

At April 19, 2009 at 7:37 PM , Blogger Mrs. Quam said...

Dear Morgan,

Voles can have more than one baby at a time, usually have 4-6 babies at a time. However, we CANNOT have one as a class pet! :) I do enjoy working with my partner, Caroline. We were able to trap a lot of small mammals last week and we are hoping to do the same this week!

Mrs. Quam :)

At April 19, 2009 at 7:41 PM , Blogger Mrs. Quam said...

Dear Adam-

I have been eating some great food since I have been for. Our scientists cook for us every day and they are very good cooks. Two things that I have had so far that I have never had before are bangers and mashed, which are sausages and mashed potatoes. Tonight we ate bubble and squeak, which is mashed potatoes and cabbage that has been fried. It's actually really good. I am not staying in a hotel. I am actually staying in a house and I will post some pictures of our house later this week. I miss Chloe and Jim a lot! :) Also, tell your mom thank you for the comment she left made me giggle.


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