For pictures, click here. Then click the first picture. There is a small "action" button on the left above the picture and if you click on that, you will see "View as slideshow" which makes all of the pictures easier to view. Hope you enjoy them!
For this class, we met at the Andrew Pickens Ranger Station near Stumphouse Tunnel and then moved on to Burrell’s Ford.
We joined Amy, Vic, and Dan Rankin (from DNR) to learn more about brook trout. They (the trout, not Amy, Vic, and Dan) usually live about three years and their eggs need cold, running water to survive. Rainbow and Brown trout are non native fish that have taken over the Brook trout habitat. Dan talked about the different things that have been done to increase the brook trout population and lower the rainbow and brown trout population such as using a piscitoxin (not sure about the spelling) that only kills fish and nothing else. The toxin they used was actually an antibiotic that is dangerous to handle due to its high concentration and has to be diluted. Then the three of them entered Kings Creek to gather some trout for us to examine. It was fascinating to see how they used this shock system to momentarily shock the fish so they could net them and get them into a bucket of water. They used about 700 volts and4-6 amps of electricity from a 30 something pound pack that Vic wore on his back. It sounded harsh but they say the fish was not hurt. There were different sized brook trout so we could see what they looked at different ages. We also learned how to tell a male from a female during the spawning season. The males have more color (more red) and their jaws are bigger. When it is not spawning season, it is harder to tell the difference.
After this, we headed down the road for our hike to Kings Creek Falls and beyond. Along the hike we saw lots of flora and fauna. Along the way, Ranger Tim Lee stopped to explain some special things we were seeing. About noon we stopped for lunch along the creek. When we arrived at the falls we explored the spray cliff community on our own and then Ranger Tim explained the many things we observed
Here are some of the things that Tim pointed out:
Lady Ferns had hairy stems that were sometimes reddish.
New York Ferns were tapered at both ends. (imagine New Yorkers who burn the candle at both ends)
Pink Lady Slipper – found in an area with a lot of pines, veins are parallel on the leaves, dependent on fungi, almost impossible to transplant.
SC has 53 species of wild orchids and has specific fungi associated with each. That is why it is hard to transplant them.
Huckleberry – low growing shrub; also known as bearberry, doeberry, buckberry
Trees – on woody stem
Shrubs – multiple woody stems
Wildflowers – fleshy stems
Basal – low to the ground
Rhododendron likes moist ground, lower light while Mountain Laurel likes drier ground
Trailing Arbutus – epigaea repens; found on edge of cut slopes or trails, likes mineral soil
Repens = creeping
Soil is affected by rocks; limestone affects soil pH
Granitic gneiss is fairly neutral
Downy Rattlesnake Plantain – native orchid, multiple flowers and seeds, seed pod dries out and rattles
SC state butterfly is the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
When talking to a group: face into the sunlight so the group doesn’t have to; keep main attraction to your back
Kings Creek Falls - Spray Cliff Community – even though it was in full sunlight, the spray keeps it cool
5 species of tropical fern are found in spray cliff communities
Observed at the waterfall:
· Alumroot looks like foam flower but likes it wet
· Hemlock looks like Queen Anne’s Lace
· Joe Pye Weed
Liverwort – loves to grow near creeks, non vascular
Mosses are non vascular also
Indian Cucumber – root is cucumber like
Creeping moss (repens) grows horizontally on tree because of moisture
Doghobble (Leucothoe fontanesiana) – likes to grow along the edge of creek (riparian zone); fetterbush is found in higher elevations and is deciduous; produces multiple white flowers and butterflies love it.
Great Blue Heron
Ground Cedar (lycopodium) – spores are highly flammable
· Waterfall Hikes of Upstate SC by Thomas King
· Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy
Again, it was another awesome class! All of the people in the class are great to be around and easy to get along with which helps make the class enjoyable. The teachers are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their subject. So far, I keep thinking that the next class can’t get much better than the previous class and each time, I’m surprised. I think that the topics are different, and that we are learning in a real life situation which makes it more interesting and relevant. Next week we will go into a cave and have a new adventure!
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).