Posted by: lapazfarm | January 1, 2010

Collaborators needed!

Well, here I am surrounded by boxes and fixing to head back to Alaska. I will be pretty much swamped with all things U-Haul for the next few weeks, but I don’t want to let my fieldworkers down and leave them lesson planless for the next month. (Planless is apparently not a word. Ha! They don’t know me very well, do they?)

So…I am going to need a little help from some of you other awesome fieldworkers out there.

No, I won’t ask you to pack dishes or sort books (though that would be great!LOL!). What I need is someone (or some two) to help out by taking over writing plans for the next two units of Fieldwork.

Cooperation makes it happen, people!

Any takers? It’s really pretty simple. Just go through the Seaside Naturalist book and pick out the important points, make suggestions for field studies, and point us at a few nifty websites or other resources. Tadah! You’ve done it! (And I may pop in with a suggestion or two as well, so don’t feel you have to totally go it alone.)

So… What say you? Anyone feel strongly about Arthropods and the poles? How about  Echinoderms and tide pools?

Just let me know via comment or email (lapazfarm at yahoo dot com) and I’ll set you up with a password so you can guest blog! (and I can get back to my packing tape and sharpies)

Oh, and if anyone wants to do a round-up post, that’d be great, too. We haven’t had one of those in a while!

Oh, and thanks a million!

See you in Alaska!

Posted by: lapazfarm | December 7, 2009

Mollusca and beaches lesson plans are up

Well, I finally got some time to put the mollusca and beaches lesson plans up. Hooray!!! Sorry it took so long and hope it didn’t hold anyone up too badly. Life has gotten a bit crazy around here lately. I’m sure you know how it is.

That being said, if anyone gets to the point of being ahead of the lesson plans, please don’t wait for me!  We’ve done enough chapters together that you’ve got a good feeling for how each topic goes. You can always just read the appropriate section in Seaside Naturalist, get your field guides, and head out to find and  identify what you can. Add a few sketches into your notebook and you’ve done well. As a bonus, see what interesting things you can find out online or in other books, talk to naturalists, visit an aquarium (I know some of you have been doing this lately). Like I said–don’t wait for me. I can always catch up with you later!LOL!

Another Project week is coming up as well. Got any plans for that yet? Please do share!

And don’t forget about that shell collection!!! How’s that going???

Posted by: lapazfarm | November 21, 2009

Worm reef (mis)adventure

This week we are studying marine worms and so we decided to take a trip up north to Martin County to see the Sabellariid worm reefs at Bathtub beach.

Well, we drove to Palm Beach county (about 3 hours north), spent the night with relatives, and the next day headed to Martin County (another hour) to see the reefs. We got there about noon to find a sign saying …

“Bathtub Beach Reef  Park is closed for construction”.

Phooey! I guess we should have planned ahead a bit better, eh? Ah, the pros and cons of spontaneity!

But we were able to get access to a nearby beach and see some older, exposed worm reef.  Here it is:

We checked out the reef briefly, and it looked like it was no longer living to us, but we couldn’t see it all because of the incredible waves–I mean really, really big!

which we never get in the Keys, so…


Hope your days are just as splendid!

Posted by: lapazfarm | November 18, 2009

so, how’s it going?

We are doing pretty well here. We finished up cnidaria and ctenophora last week. That was an easy one for us as we have seen a lot of those things!

JBug and I made these Jellyfish stuffies just for fun:

and now we are heading into marine worms. First off, we took a walk down to the water and we saw what we think were some marine worms, but we are not convinced. Must do more investigating to be sure. We took yesterday off marine biology and headed for the Everglades for the day, but tomorrow we will be back at it as we head to Martin County to bathtub beach to check out the unique worm reefs there.

Until then, happy worm hunting!

Posted by: lapazfarm | October 21, 2009

Bean Counters

That’s what Superboy and JBug are this week as they work on their projects on sea beans.

And while Superboy is busy sorting his finds I’ll tell you about the marvelous time we had collecting the beans!

We spent an entire day hitting beach after beach collecting every type of sea bean we could get our hands on, from Key Largo as far south as Bahia Honda!!

The day was perfect, cool and breezy, and the view was lovely out there …

but we were looking the other way…

hunting through the wrack line for beans of all sorts.

We found quite a few sea beans  (which I will let Superboy show you when he is done counting, sorting, and identifying them) but also lots of other neat things:

young ibis, wading

tiny beetle

black mangrove bean sprouting (these were everywhere. Superboy simply lists them in his samples as “too numerous to count”.)

crab molt, who unwittingly became the star of a brief impromptu puppet show by yours truly…

and perhaps the neatest thing of all, just in time for Halloween…

Valonia algae, also known as…

sailor’s eyeball! So cool!

and we are off to another beach, another bean to discover!

Posted by: lapazfarm | October 16, 2009

Just a note

FYI: I finally got weekly plans for week 12: Bryozoans and the Continental Shelves up. You’ll find the link on the weekly plans page. Enjoy!

Posted by: lapazfarm | October 11, 2009

A little behind

I wish I had one!LOL! But alas, what I mean is that Superboy is a little behind schedule due to some unforeseen interferences: sick kids, injured mom, construction blocking our beach access, and a last-minute invite for Superboy to the Peace river for a paddling/fossil gathering expedition with friends. So, with all that going on, he  has not been able to do the sea grass section of week six yet.

But, since we are homeschoolers we are not bound by any schedule other than our own, so I think we are just going to go ahead and take another week on this topic and do project week next week.

So, there you have it!

Anyone else a little behind?

Posted by: lapazfarm | October 9, 2009

Fieldworkers round-up

Wow! We’ve had some productive Fieldworkers lately! If you haven’t visited with the other fieldworker teams, now is the time. There’s good stuff going on all over!

See some great algae finds at Nature’s Sweetness Small Wonders, and Susie’s ramblings

Somewhat in the Air has moved on to Cnidaria and has a report and some lovely artwork to show off

Susie and crew have made some delicious sushi,

and Syndiluhu has a  new microscope! Looks like they got to test it out right away hunting plankton along with the Small Wonders crew! Don’t miss her link to instructions for making your own plankton net!

And we at LaPaz have a few new seaweeds to share:

(Penicillus, aka Neptune’s shaving brush, or merman’s shaving brush)

Dictyota sp (which is a cause of concern here in the Keys as it is taking over many of the coral reefs and other fragile habitats)

Here is a close-up of some Sargassum, on which you can see a little colony of bryozoans. Keep this is mind for week 12!

Now…who did I miss??? Bring on the links!!!

Posted by: lapazfarm | October 7, 2009

Mangle tangle

Today we hit the road to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park for one of our week 6 assignments–exploring the mangroves!!!

Gosh, I love this stuff!!!

First, the mangroves themselves. We were able to spot red, black, and white mangroves. Unfortunately we did not get any pics of the whites because the mosquitoes in the upland area were intense and we had to run for our lives!!! It was much better down by the water where the reds and blacks grow.

Here are the red mangroves:

can you see the prop roots extending down into the water?

Here are a bunch of propagules that have drifted into the sand and are beginning to take root.

above, a propagule up close, and below a red mangrove flower

And the black mangroves:

You can easily identify them by the many pencil-like pneumataphores coming out of the ground below them.

Black mangrove seeds on the branch (above) and partially sprouted (below)

Then we geared up and went snorkeling to see what we could see in the tangle underneath!

There was so much to see! I only wish I had an underwater camera so I could get pictures of all of the amazing creatures we saw under the mangroves. WOW!!!! But alas, a simple list is all I have to share, with some links to pics by other folks:

Oh, how I wish I had pictures of all that gorgeous stuff!

Here are a few things I was able to get pictures of:

a bad pic of a young great barracuda (only about a foot or so long)

a dead mangrove crab (Scylla serrata ?)

Four-toothed nerite

What a wonderful and very full day!

Posted by: lapazfarm | October 6, 2009

The secret ingredient


Check out what Syndiluhu found in her ice cream!

(hint: it is brown and rubbery and grows in the sea. And it is probably in your ice cream, too!)

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