Hi, My name is Mr. Green. Please join me as I travel to Churchill Canada to study Climate Change.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday, September 10: More Diggin' in the Dirt

Dear Students,

Thanks for the Comments you posted yesterday! I have replied to most of them in the comments section at the bottom of yesterday's blog page.

Your 2 assignments are located at the bottom of today's blog page. Two cool videos to see!! But first, here is an update on things going on here with our Earthwatch Team.

The weather here is highly variable. The last couple of days were cold and rainy and then today it was warm and rainy. I decided that I like the cold and windy better! When it is cold and windy the mosquitos and black flies don't bother you, but as soon as the wind stops - here they come. We had to wear bug nets all day today! They obscure your vision somewhat and make it a little harder to get your work done.

Today we had our morning meeting and we discussed the days protocols and procedures. Our task was to go to several sites and collect organic matter samples and do a seedling survey of the areas as well. Our first site was called a FEN or wetland. As we exited the van we were immediately greeted by swarms of bugs-- black bugs, mosquitos, and bulldogs so we all donned our bug nets and proceeded with the days assignment.

After a short walk through a stand of trees, we proceeded through the standing water and you could see bubbles coming up in the water. Where do you think these bubbles came from? This were methane bubbles produced by anaerobic decompostion. We scattered out to pick random plots to sample.

We had a unique way of selecting our plots. You take your shovel and throw it as far as you can and where ever it lands that is where you dig. Our team dug three pits and took soil samples from 0-10 cm, 10-20 and 20-30 cm below the surface. We had to be very careful and make sure that everyone was following the same protocols. We had a special way that we have to label each sample- site name, group, date, and pit number depth. It is very hard to do all of this in the rain. We also have to take pictures with the information on a board. DATA, lots and and lots of DATA. We repeated this same procedure at another site called TIS- tree island. We actually found some seedlings here, they were but a mere 1 cm and they were 2 years old.

After getting the samples back to the station, they were weighed and placed in a drying oven to remove the moisture, then they will be weighed again. Next we will take a small sample and place it in a muffle oven and heat it to 675* essentially burning it. The ashes will be removed and then weighed and the carbon content can be determined. Dr. Kershaw wants to try to determine the amount of carbon in the peatlands that can possibly decompose and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We are studying the trees to see if there is any type of shift in the treeline- that could be an indication that the climate is changing. He did note that a tree found here, the poplar, is increasing in number which could also indicate that something is going on.

We had a great lecture tonight on Glacial Geomorphology- Extra credit if you can tell me what palsas, pingos and polygonal peat plateaus are. Try this cool web site to find out!


Help The Polar Bears!!!!

So far, we have not seen any polar bears. However, we are told there are everywhere and to beware. We hope to see some bears tomorrow on a guided tour during our only day off.

When cold temperature begin to return, the polar bears will soon start migrating back toward Hudson Bay because of the large seal population, their main diet.
Have you ever thought of how climate change, or global warming, could affect the polar bear population??? Well if the Acrtic ice decreases, the polar bears will lose habitat, and all sorts of other environmental factors are affected like the seal population which feeds the bears.

Polar bears are being challenged because the sea ice is disappearing. The polar ice is disappearing because of warmer temperatures caused by greenhouse gases caused by humans.

Next, PLEASE Go to this website: http://www.polarbearsinternational.org

This is the site called Polar Bears International. The researcher, Dr. Nick Lunn, you will see on the home page, is working on his bear research here at the Churchill Northern Studies Center. He has been tagging polar bears all week long, and has many interesting stories to tell.

Please open and view 2 cool videos on the future of the polar bear. You can access them at this link.
The videos may take a few minutes to download, but I hope you enjoy them.


These are two really good videos that really help explain the problems that polar bears now face.


Return to the home page of Polar Bear International. Take a few minutes and scroll through the tabs on this web site. You will be amazed at all the information on polar bears and things YOU can do to help them! Explore the web site. Next work with a partner and write this into your journal:

List 10 cool facts about polar bears that you learned from the Polar Bear International web site above. Click on ALL ABOUT POLAR BEARS, then click on BEAR FACTS. Check out the bear pics!

List 3 things YOU can do personally to help save the polar bears and ensure their environment is safe for the future.


At September 12, 2009 at 11:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 2009 FFA Horticulture Rally was quite the unique experience. It was very interesting and educational and I was glad I went on the trip. Many people inquired apon your whereabouts Mr. Green and some regional director person asked me to tell you if you will do next years entertainment.

-Coin Feichtner-Fuller


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