Field Biology

Experiencing Biology Beyond the Classroom

Student Blogs

Barton students share their experiences on the summer field biology trip. Stay tuned here for the latest updates.

  • Beaufort: Here we come!!!

    Friday, May 31, 2013

    Friday has finally arrived!. Today was one of our most calm days where we took a couple trips. The start of  our trip, we drove to Beaufort where we stopped at the maritime museum. In the museum there were a lot of different articles and facts about boats from years ago. One of the exhibits in the museum was Queen Anne’s revenge which was captured by Blackbeard in 1717. There was also a huge whale heart on display that was from ‘Echo’ the sperm whale. Next we loaded the van and drove around the corner to the Duke marine lab. At the duke marine lab, we got on the Susan Hudson boat. Where we trawled the ocean and offshore for samples of fish and shells. There were two men that was there to accompany us on the ride through the ocean and show us how to use a trough. Unfortunately, ... Read More ...
  • This is for the Birds!

    Thursday, May 30, 2013

    Leaving the dock early this morning, there was nobody to be seen for miles and miles.  The water was calm appearing like a sheet of glass.  On the way to the Salt Marsh several schools of Thread Fin Shad were found, so we cast a three foot net into the water.  When the casting net was drawn back into the boat a Needle fish and several Thread Fin Shad were collected and observed.  Also on the way to the Salt Marsh a Loggerhead turtle was seen.  The Loggerhead turtle has been seen on our outings daily, but several students did not see the turtle so today they were able to. As we were passing a channel marker an Osprey was sitting on his nest on top of it.  The Osprey gave us a very angry look and we knew that this would be a day where we would encounter the birds. As ... Read More ...
  • Turtle…..Where?!

    Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    While visiting the many ecosystems of the Coastal Carolina core sound beside Harker’s Island, we have encountered many situations. First today we visited a bird sanctioned island full of terns, oyster catchers, pelicans, and egrets. Then we visited the Cape lookout point lighthouse where we saw reptiles like skinks and Black Racers (snakes) that were mating in the dunes. From there on we moved to multiple sand/mud flats to collect shells and different types of organisms like mollusks, arthropods, and echinoderms. Some examples of these would be oysters, horseshoe crabs, and urchins. On our way home we spotted three or four Loggerhead turtles that almost threw half of our crew off the boat into the sea from excitement. Some, unfortunately, did not see the giants and instead were left unknowing of their presence(Taylor). I’m not sure if they will ever see the turtles again but my colleague Austin and I ... Read More ...
  • Watch out for that Prickly Pear

    Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    Well first we had breakfast and it was a decidedly quieter even then that of the past morning. The full force of what had occurred the previous day broke the spirit of everyone in our party. Said spirit could only be resurrected with bacon and eggs. To be honest there were some strange condiments floating around the breakfast table. Sugar went on grits ketchup went on eggs some things people just don’t talk about. After breakfast everyone was a lot more chipper. We got all of the necessary equipment on the boat and pushed off. The trip to Shackle Ford Banks was less eventful then the trip back to the dock the previous day. We got better at driving around the surrounding area and learned which spots were shallow. When we got to the banks we were greeted by a small herd of horses and many pictures were taken. When ... Read More ...
  • Day 6: Closing Day at Christmount

    Saturday, May 18, 2013

    Today, May 18, was the final day at Christmount. We concluded our trip with a final exam testing our knowledge of 25 plant specimens and 25 animal specimens both collected and discussed throughout the week as well as a short answer portion discussing concepts regarding the different environments explored. The weather held out for the entire week but could no longer do so as it rained to majority of the morning. We considered ourselves lucky to have such beautiful weather up until this point. This week provided me with a new found appreciation for nature. The variability among plant and animal species in the Appalachian Mountains was breath taking. I went from seeing insects and plants as nothing more then that to trying to figure out what species they were or what characteristics made them unique. From the awe inspiring views, at places such as Devil’s Courthouse, to the flipping rocks ... Read More ...
  • Day Six: Exam Time and Back to Barton

    Saturday, May 18, 2013

    Saturday, the 18th,  was the last day at Christmount assembly for the Biology trip.  All of the students studied the plants, animals, and other information for the exam last night and this morning.  At around 9 o’clock, we all went to the dining hall to take the big test we studied for!  Plants and animal specimens filled the tables as we went around and identified them.  Then the second part was more about the habitats, elevations, and places we visited.  After the exam, we were all thankful for it to be over!  We packed up and left Christmount for the last time this week and headed for lunch at KFC.  After eating was the long drive back to Barton, where we all got a much needed nap! The week we spent in the mountains will be one none of us will ever forget and we all had a good time learning about nature. Christina ... Read More ...
  • Day 5: Western NC Nature Center & Catawba Falls Trail

    Friday, May 17, 2013

    Today, May 17, we started the day with a general overview of everything we have learned on this trip, from plants to animals to key terms used when referring to nature and the mountains. We visited the Western North Carolina Nature center at about 10:00 a.m. where we explored until 11:30 a.m.  The nature center featured animals native to the Appalachian Mountains like the Red Spotted Newt, the American Toad and the Hellbender which we have caught ourselves in previous days at different trails as well as animals that are not found in this area like the Cougar and Gray Wolf. Below are some of the animals that we photographed while at the nature center. We really enjoyed the river otters because they were so playful and loved the camera. We also found ourselves naming the surrounding plant life in the nature center according to what we have been learning over ... Read More ...
  • Day Four: Curtis Creek Service Road and Nocturnal Watch

    Thursday, May 16, 2013

    At 8:15 this morning our Mountain Exploration group left Christmount for our creek adventure day. Once we reached our destination the elevation was 1520 ft, the temperature was 71 degrees Fahrenheit, and the wind speed was 7 mph going South West. The stream’s water was running extremely fast and therefore it made it harder for us to catch anything .  However, we did mange to catch at least a dozen salamanders.  One in particular that was found was a slimy salamander that was thought to be a snake, by the people who found it.  Also, some things that were found at this stop were the following:  a crawfish, a round centipede, stonefly nymphs, a crane fly larva, and many different types of species of butterflies. The next stop was still a part of Curtis Creek Service Road, and at this location there were two creeks for our group to explore. This ... Read More ...
  • Day Three: Blue Ridge Parkway and Mount Mitchell

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    On Wednesday, May 14th, the class set out at 9 in the morning to explore the Blue Ridge Parkway, north of Asheville, and the Mt. Mitchell state park. We traveled to Craggy Gardens Trail, about a mile and a half of steep hiking and plenty of plant life to see. Because the area was so similar to the areas we had explored the previous day, many plants became easily recognizable, like big patches of Solomon’s Plume, Canadian Blackberries, and Rhododendrons galore! It was especially easy to identify plants when signs along the path told you exactly what they were. At the top of the trail, we really learned what the term “grassy bald” meant, actually seeing one for the first time. It was incredible, with the wind whipping every which way and the few trees twisted shapes against the grassy background. It was completely different from the Heath Balds found ... Read More ...
  • BC Field Biology Day Two On the Road

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    On Tuesday, May 14th, we departed Christmount around 8:30 a.m. and headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We made several stops along the way and one of those stops was the Mt. Pisgah trail which was 1 mile long and at an elevation of 5,000 ft. While hiking this trail we found a variety of plants such as painted trillium, lichen, rhododendron, red trillium, and fiddle heads. After hiking the trail, we went to Graveyard Fields where we hiked down to the Yellowstone Waterfall which was a beautiful sight to see. Here we tested the pH of the water and the soil, the temperature of the water, and the dissolved oxygen level. While searching for animals we found northern dusky salamanders, mayflies, stoneflies, and a casemaker caddisfly. After making a quick stop for lunch we headed to Devil’s Courthouse which was a trail that had an elevation of over 5,000 ft. ... Read More ...
  • BC Field Biology Day 1 at Christmount

    Tuesday, May 14, 2013

    The “Exploring North Carolina Mountains” class at Barton departed for our trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains at approximately 8:30am Monday morning.  We arrived at Christmount Conference Center for the Disciples of Christ at 2:00pm and immediately started exploring.  A group of us first walked the Old Cemetery Trail where we traveled up and down hills while experiencing many plants and animals as well as a gravesite.  When we met back up with our professors, the learning experience immediately began.  We were exposed to over 30 different plant species including Flea Bane, Red Oak, Flaming Azaleas, and Sweet Betsey Bush.  In addition, we observed a few animal species including Stone Nymphs, Northern Dusky Salamander, and a Crawfish.  Once we finished our exploring, we went back to our cabin to review all that we learned about the plants and animals.  This took about an hour and was very helpful in learning ... Read More ...