Sagehen Creek Field Station 2006-2007
Sagehen Creek Field Station

Sagehen Creek Field Station is a research and teaching facility of the University of California, located just north of Truckee, California.

Graduate Fellow, Ryan Hill, is working with teachers in the local school district in order to introduce their students to the biodiversity of Sagehen.

October 11-12, 2006

Graduate fellow Ryan Hill and UC Berkeley graduate student Greg Byrnes accompanied Candace Blesse's 5th grade Truckee Elementary School class to Sagehen. First, Ryan and Greg showed the students how to take field notes to document the diversity of plants and animals at the site. This was followed by a demonstration of how to take morphological measurements of small rodents, including Northern flying squirrels. The students recorded the data in their field notebooks as the measurements were taken. Then the students set their own traps in hopes of catching chipmunks. No chipmunks were trapped, but the students did get to witness the spectacular glides of the Northern flying squirrels as they were released.

The next focus was on insects. Ryan and Greg reviewed the process of science and students wrote out a hypothesis about whether there is more insect diversity in the forest or the meadow at Sagehen. They collected insects in the forest for 45 minutes. Then the group hiked to a meadow, and after lunch, collected insects there for 45 minutes. Students pinned and labeled their insects before they left the field station. The insect collection was taken to Truckee Elementary so the students could identify and count the insects to address their hypothesis. During insect collecting, one student was heard saying, "This is fun." Another student replied, "This isn't fun, this is exciting!"

Click here to learn more about A Quick Way to Identify Common Insect Orders.

Half of Mrs. Blesse's 5th grade class at Sagehen Creek Field Station …

… and the other half.

Students collected insects and other arthropods with aerial nets and by looking under rocks and logs.

Here several students look for insects in the meadow.

The students enjoyed chasing grasshoppers and butterflies seen flying in the meadow.

Even students that were squeamish about touching insects at first, overcame their fear and began picking them up during sampling.