The Hastings Natural History Reservation is set in the open foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains in the upper Carmel Valley.
Graduate Fellow, Ryan Hill, is working with teachers in the local school district in order to introduce their students to the biodiversity of the Hastings Reservation.
October 28-29, 2006
Graduate fellow Nicole VanderSal joined Ryan and met Pat Stadille's wildlife biology class from Carmel Valley High School. The goal of the trip was to learn about the local flora and fauna and wildlife science through hands-on experiences. The primary activity involved comparing and contrasting insect and rodent diversity between two local habitats: chaparral and oak grassland.
Upon arriving on Saturday, the students were given a brief introduction to the reserve and then shouldered packs to check the 30 mammal traps in each habitat. The students observed how to properly handle the animals, take morphological measurements, and identify local species. They carefully recorded the data in their field notebooks. After finishing both trap lines and having lunch, the students split into groups to sample insect diversity. Students first sampled in the oak grassland, using different collecting methods such as aerial nets, sweep nets, and beat sheets. Later that afternoon, collecting was done in the chaparral. After dinner, students pinned, labeled, and identified their insects.
The students took a short night excursion to a nearby blacklight set up against a white sheet to observe nocturnal insect activity. The next morning, students woke up early and checked the mammal traps in both habitats to finish their data collection. After breakfast, the students tallied the rodent data. They trapped 27 individuals from a total of seven species. The sample showed several rodent species common to each habitat and some species unique to each habitat. The insect collection was taken to Carmel Valley High School so the students could process their data and write up their results.
Click here to learn more about A Quick Way to Identify Common Insect Orders.