THE COVER PICTURE shows Dr. John T. Conover giving an outdoor lecture on the zonation of seaweeds. He is speaking to a group of Emporia State students, at the Institute of Marine Science, Port Aransas, Texas. This was a part of the Easter vacation trip referred to on page 6, under the direction of Robert F. Clarke, Assistant Professor of Biology, at the right end of the group.
Published by The Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia
Prepared and Issued by The Department of Biology, with the cooperation of the Division of Education
Editor: John Breukelman, Department of Biology
Editorial Committee: Ina M. Borman, Robert F. Clarke, Helen M. Douglass, Gilbert A. Leisman, Dixon Smith
Online format by: Terri Weast
The Kansas School Naturalist is sent upon request, free of charge, to Kansas teachers and others interested in nature education. Back numbers are sent free as long as the supply lasts, except Vol. 5, No.3, Poisonous Snakes of Kansas. Copies of this issue may be obtained for 25 cents each postpaid. Send orders to The Kansas School Naturalist, Department of Biology, State Teachers College, Emporia, Kansas.
The Kansas School Naturalist is published in October, December, February, and April of each year by The Kansas State Teachers College, Twelfth Avenue and Commercial Street, Emporia, Kansas. Second-class mail privileges authorized at Emporia, Kansas.
Department of Biology, Kansas State Teachers College
This is directed to those who like field trips, who like to take their students on field trips, who may wish to plan field trips, and who are interested in nature and nature study, even though they may not have thought much about field trips.
WHY GO ON FIELD TRIPS?
Is there really anything to be learned by going on field trips that could not be learned more quickly and easily by conscientious memorizing in the classroom? Is there anything to see on a field trip that could not be seen as well, and sometimes even better from carefully selected pictures, slides, and movies? Perhaps not, but those who have taken many groups on field trips, whether groups of children or adults, whether on long or short trips, agree there is excitement and motivation in actually going where the sights, sounds, and smells of nature are. They also agree that this excitement and motivation may be used to stimulate the students to discover things for themselves, that field trips may start lifelong interests in nature, and that they can provide a wealth of activities for constructive use of spare time. Field trips may be so conducted as to inspire respect for living things and for the ways in which they adjust themselves to their surroundings. Not the least value of field trips is that they may be used to show the need for better care of the out-of-doors. Those who have been on well conducted field trips are probably less likely to be litterbugs and more likely to show outdoor courtesy. Field trips may prove the basis for appreciation of the need of conservation and for sound understanding of conservation problems and practices.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE IN PLANNING THE TRIP?
If possible, the leader and his assistants should go over the route ahead of time, while conditions are about the same as those expected to prevail at the time of the proposed trip; thus if the trip is to be taken in the early morning hours, the leader should go over the route early in the morning.
Whenever necessary or appropriate the leader gets permission from the landowners, park superintendents, or others responsible for the grounds on which the trip is to be taken. If he fails to get such permission he may be trespassing. When children are involved, it may be necessary to get the consent of their parents or guardians.
If the trip is of any length, it will be necessary to locate suitable lunch and rest stops. If the trip is to be by automobile, the leader should make sure in advance that adequate and safe places to park will be available.
Before the trip starts, the leader should explain to the group just what the trip is for, what its objectives are and what is likely to be seen. He should also explain that one can never plan a field trip completely, and that one gets the most benefits from field trips by being alert to anything that may turn up. The leader should explain what is suitable dress and footwear for the occasion, and any precautions to be taken about poison ivy, chiggers, ticks, and other natural hazards that may be encountered. If insect repellent lotions are necessary, this should be explained. If cameras, field glasses, insect nets, or other equipment are to be taken, the use of each item should be explained.
On many occasions it is practical to organize a field trip group into one or more teams. Such a team is suggested in the accompanying cartoon sketch. In this case the team consists of seven members and a leader. If there were twelve in the group, another team could be organized, consisting of only five members-perhaps one camera and one notebook would do for both teams. Or the camera might be omitted and the group of twelve arranged into two teams of six each. Each team member is responsible for a specific task and for certain items of equipment. At times the whole group may be assigned a common job, such as forming a line to march across a pasture and look for ground nesting birds and their nests. But when the common job has ended, each team member resumes his assigned duty. The leader may wish to separate the teams and have each go its own way; in this case an assistant will be needed for each additional team.
If the same group goes on several trips, the team duties may be rotated so that each individual has an opportunity to get more varied experiences. If the trip is a long one with several good stopping places or breaks, it may be best to rotate duties several times on a single trip. The leaders must be sure that each person understands which duties he is to perform during each part of the trip.
In the accompanying sketch showing a field trip team, A is responsible for the insect net, B for the plant digger, and C for the home-built carrier with its miscellany of collecting cans and jars. D mayor may not be successful; some insects are easily caught this way and others are not. E will have a photographic record of the trip. F is in charge of the plant collecting can, or vasculum, and G keeps a record of specimens collected and other pertinent data. The trip leader, H, stands ready to give help where needed and to answer questions. He keeps the group together and their attention centered on the business at hand.
WHAT KINDS OF FIELD TRIPS ARE SUITABLE?
The following are some examples of field trips that have been conducted by myself, my colleagues, or my students. This is by no means a complete list of possibilities, in fact it is only a a small sampling.
1. Campus Field Trip for General Biology Students
The students were taken, in groups of about 20, over the Emporia State Campus to see some of the aspects of plant and animal life studied in the General Biology course. The u'ips were on foot and took about 45 minutes to an hour and 20 minutes.
A shady wooded hillside often yields a wide variety of plant and animal specimens, but this group was examining Hermit's Cave, one of the points of historical interest in Council Grove.
Pheasant nesting site and nest
Redwing nest and young
2. Ecology Three-Day Field Trip
Members of the class in ecology, graduate students and advanced undergraduates, were taken by car to such areas as Cheyenne Bottoms, the sand dunes, salt marshes, and selected Flint Hills localities. This trip was taken near the end of the course in Ecology, to illustrate as many ecological situations as possible. Such a trip involves careful planning, hotel or motel reservations or camping facilities, scheduled meal stops and rest stops, and careful attention to the time element.
3. Conservation Workshop, Soil and Water Conservation Field Trip
The members of the summer conservation workshop were taken by bus over a route of about 100 miles, from Emporia to Council Grove and return. This trip was under the direction of the local Soil Conservation personnel, even though it was a routine class trip. Most of the morning was spent observing soil and water conservation practices such as terraces and waterways, watershed control, contour fanning, farm ponds, crop rotation, and grass restoration. After a lunch stop and brief program at Council Grove, about two hours were spent under the direction of the fire chief, in a guided tour of the principal points of historical interest in and about Council Grove, after which the group returned to Emporia, reviewing on the return trip many of the conservation practices observed during the morning.
4. Easter Vacation Trip
During Easter vacation a group of biology students were taken by bus to the Port Aransas Wildlife Refuge, the Welder Wildlife Foundation, and the gulf coast near Corpus Christi, Texas. Such an extensive trip requires careful advance planning and detailed scheduling. If much collecting is to be done, it is essential that the equipment be carefully planned, so there will be space available both for the equipment and the materials collected.
5. Bird Hikes
These are most effective when started at about daybreak, and when it is possible to cover a variety of habitat types. If bird hikes are part of a class, it is possible to instruct the students carefully in advance concerning the use of field glasses, field bird guides, notebooks or checklists, and the best procedures for getting to see birds at close range. If the hike is an informal one, associated with a camp or meeting, such advance preparation may not be possible. In the latter case a ten or fifteen minute briefing period at the beginning of the trip will add greatly to its effectiveness.
6. The Christmas Bird Census
Participants in the census, under the auspices of the National Audubon Society, make a record of the kinds and numbers of birds seen during the course of a trip of several hours, covering as many as possible of the available habitats in the area. The census takers are organized into groups, going in different directions from the central location. They travel by car and on foot, keeping track of the amount of time spent in each type of habitat and the approximate distance covered. The census takes place during the week between Christmas and New Years, and the results from all over the United States are compiled by the National Audubon Society.
7. "Frogging" Trips
These trips occur during the season when frogs are calling (March, April, or May, depending on the species and the locality) during the evening hours. For most specles such trips are most effective during the first half of the night. Flashlights or headlights are necessary; if collecting ii to be done, jars or other containers should be carried. Froggers should wear boots or be so dressed that they will not mind wading. (It should be remembered that bullfrogs are protected by state law and may be taken only in accordance with state fish and game laws. Copies of these laws may be obtained from the Forestry, Fish and Game Commission, Pratt, Kansas.)
During the war, while I was teaching in an Air Forces pre-flight unit, it developed that a number of the boys had never seen fireflies. So a series of 30minute trips was arranged, to a bend in a river where fireflies were specially numerous. The insects were caught, the flashing lights examined under a lens, the flashing intervals were timed, and some specimens were taken for permanent mounts or to be sent home.
An entire field trip can be organized around the idea of a pictorial record. If the group is small, each person can carry a camera. These may be of different sizes, and loaded with different film. Both black-and-white prints and colored transparencies are valuable in teaching and study. One of my students, as a result of several picture taking trips, has a large collection of slides illustrating all the common habitats in the area surrounding his school.
If the field group is large, two or three of the members may be designated as the official photographers.
10. Short Trips Within Class Periods
At various times my students or I have taken classes out on field trips as short as ten minutes, to see such things as:
a) erosion effects resulting from a three-inch rain on a newly graded highway slope;
b) spatter erosion leaving soil on the school foundation where unprotected soil was next to the foundation, and the clean foundation where grass was next to the foundation;
c) magnolias in blossom in a nearby yard;
d ) fungi and lichens growing on a tree trunk in the school yard;
e) an exceptionally heavy algae "bloom" in the campus lake;
f) buffalo grass in blossom;
g) fish-stocking activities.
Field trip photography can be quite exacting; the field photographer's studio is where he finds it.
Examining types of grasses along a Lyon County roadside; a conservation group travelling in a caravan.
Field identification, in the field
Field trips are fun for both children and adults.
Sand dune, Stafford County
You need not go far; this picture, taken through a livingroom window during a light snowfall, shows house sparrows, juncos, and robins in a winter habitat.
The above are only a few examples; we have gone out to help a farmer seine his pasture pond, to make counts of the number of robins and robin nests on the campus, to see the feeding activities in a colony of great blue herons, to bring in samples of frozen earth with their dormant plant and animal forms, and to see wind erosion in action-topsoil from an adjacent corn field drifting across the road.
The above illustrations bring out several points-that a field trip is usually arranged (1) to take advantage of some seasonal feature, (2) to observe some specific kinds of plants or animals, (3) to observe types of plant or animal habitats, or (4) to illustrate in the field that which has already been studied in the classroom or laboratory. It is generally agreed among those who have used field trips most effectively that anyone trip should have a major objective or a primary feature of interest. This does not mean that the objective is always attained, or that the primary feature of interest will be available at the precise time of the trip. It is therefore necessary for the director to be alert to other possibilities, and even to have some planned alternates in case the trip does not yield exactly what was hoped.
The shoreline of a lake or fenced farm pond (if not fenced, a farm pond shoreline may be so stirred up by cattle walking in and out that it is nearly worthless as a nature study area ) offers many opportunities for short or extensive field trips. A succession of plants-algae and pondweeds in the water; cattails, water lilies, reeds, sedges, arrowheads, smartweeds growing with their roots under water and their leaves floating or their stems out of water-may be found, each occupying its own habitat and associated with worms, insects, spiders, fishes, birds, and other animals.
Mosses, fungi, ferns, and other moisture adapted plants live near the water. These also have their associated plants. Water samples may be poured through a fine net or screen to obtain some of the smaller forms. Mud or sand samples from the bottom may prove rich in small organisms.
In the woods, a good collecting spot is a rotting log. Underneath may live worms, insects, millipedes, snails, salamanders, lizards, and small mammals. In and on the log may be found a great variety of insects mostly beetles and their larvae, termites, ants, and roaches. Various species of molds and fungi are usually present, especially in late spring and early summer. If the log is carefully pulled apart different kinds of small animals and their habitats may be found; some of these are tiny, and a hand lens Or reading glass will be useful. If some of the finer material is put in a jar and examined under a microscope, many protozoa and other microorganisms may be seen.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO MAKE A FIELD TRIP EFFECTIVE?
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE AFTER A FIELD TRIP?
This depends much upon the type of trip involved; if it is a one-shot affair such as a trip associated with a science convention it is likely that nothing will or can be done. H the trip is a part of a class activity, it is often quite appropriate to devote parts of several of the following meetings of the class to various aspects of the trip. Following are some suggestions, any or all of which may apply to anyone specific trip.
WHAT CAN A STUDENT DO TO GET THE MOST BENEFIT FROM A FIELD TRIP?
HOW CAN A FIELD TRIP LEADER IMPROVE HIMSELF
A field group examining a map, preparing for a tour of the Ross Natural History Reservation
Maps may be useful or even necessary, both in planning a field trip and on the trip. Many of these can be obtained free, as for example the gasoline company maps given to customers at service stations. Simple maps can be drawn, beforehand or even while a field trip is in progress.
The official highway map of the State Highway Commission of Kansas shows the state lakes and parks, Federal reservoirs, and roadside parks. Most other states publish official maps showing points of special interest. In Kansas some of the roadside parks are little more than picnic tables, but others are fairsized areas with grasses, trees, and shrubbery, and with ample opportunities for collecting, surveying, photography, and nature study activities of many kinds.
For various types of field trips and outdoor study within the state, a set of Kansas county maps can be a special convenience. The State Highway Commission of Kansas has available maps of all the 105 counties. These maps come in two sizes, with different scales. The large maps (which are too large for convenient carrying) are on a scale of one half inch to the mile. The small maps, which can be punched and carried conveniently in an 8 1/2 x 11 inch folder or notebook, have a scale of one fourth inch to the mile. The accompanying figures show the actual sizes of portions of the maps. The large-scale maps show more details, and more can be written on them. The smaller ones are easily carried in a notebook but· still large enough for many notations. Notations of all sorts can be made directly on the maps. Field trip routes can be marked, with fa'.'orable collecting places indicated. Good places for group or class observation can be marked.
The maps show the range, township and section numbers, as well as many kinds of natural and artificial landmarks. Examples are highways, railroads, cities and towns, oil wells and tanks, stockyards, radio stations, air fields, and cemeteries, as well as rivers and their main tributaries, intermittent streams, reservoirs, dams, lakes and ponds.
The small maps cost 10 cents each, or $10.00 for the entire set of 105 maps; the large ones 25 cents each, or $26.25 for the entire set. Address the State Highway Commission of Kansas, State Office Building, Topeka, Kansas.
The Forestry, Fish, and Game Commission, Pratt, Kansas, supplies free a small map showing all the state parks, lakes and areas under their jurisdiction. This map and list are printed on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet which fits conveniently into a notebook.
The upper map shows more details and provides more space for writing, but covers only
one fourth as many square miles as the lower map of the same size. On the upper scale (1/2 inch per mile) the map of Lyon County measures 11 x 19 1/2 inches; on the lower scale
(1/4 inch per mile) only 5 1/2 x 9 3/4 inches. The original of the larger map has the streams
printed in blue ink, which does not show up on the black-and-white engraving.
A SUGGESTED LIST OF FIELD EQUIPMENT
The following list is by no means complete, but will call attention to some of the useful ' items that are ofter: overlooked. It also illustrates the wide variety of things one may need or use on a field trip. This comes about because there are many sorts of field trips; the field trip leader must plan carefully for each trip. He should try to avoid carrying unnecessary things, but he must !lot get caught out in the field with some essential items missing. Knowing what to take along requires experience and careful planning. It also helps a lot to have at hand the records of previous trips.
BAGS, of muslin or other cloth, for carrying lizards, snakes, turtles; should be made with drawstring or tape that insures tight closing.
BOOTS or wading shoes; one should not wade barefoot in ponds or roadside ditches because of danger of stepping on pieces of sharp metal or broken glass.
CAMERA for still or motion pictures, in black-and-white or color
COLLECTING bottles, cans, jars of various sizes
DIP NET or tow net for collecting water life (Insect nets should not be used for this purpose.)
FIELD GLASSES (binoculars) for observing distant objects, particularly for bird watching
INSECT NET, killing jars, small cages or jars with perforated lids
"LlBRARY"-a convenient carrier for the books, notebooks, maps, and reference material to be carried along
MAGNIFYING GLASS, reading glass, hand lens (On some types of trips it may be desirable to take along a com· pound microscope.)
NOTEBOOK for field data
PLANT collecting can (vasculum), digger, press
SEINE (A "minnow seine" may be used legally; a permit is necessary for larger sizes and special types of seines.)
TAPE MEASURE or rule
Benton, A. H. and Werner, W. E. Jr., 1958. PrinCiples of Field Biology and Ecology, McGraw-Hlll, New York. $6.50
Includes information on field problems, methods, and equipment, also many up-to-date references.
Comstock, Anna B., Handbook of Nature Study, Comstock Publishing Co., Ithaca, N.Y. (Various editions and prices.)
Almost a nature encyclopedia, with introductory chapter on the teaching of nature study.
Hillcourt, William, 1950. Field Book of Nature Activities, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York. $3.95
A comprehensive list of activities, many of which are in the field, also a project index. One of the Nature Field Books series listed below.
Palmer, E. Laurence, 1949. Field Book of Natural History, MCGraw-Hill, New York. $7.50
A guide, with drawings and detailed descriptions to the sky, minerals, plants, and animals.
Partridge, J. A., 1955. Natural Science through the Seasons, Macmillan, New York. $3.80
Both information and activities, covering the whole field of nature study by seasons.
Weaver, R. L. (Editor), 1955. Handbook for Teaching of Conservation and Resource Use, Interstate Publishers, Danville, Illinois. $4.00
Prepared by National Association of Biology Teachers; contains many descriptions of field projects described by the teachers who planned and directed them.
Putnam's Nature Field Books, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, most of them at $3.95 each, well illustrated with photographs and drawings. Some of the most useful:
Peterson Field Guide Series, published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, most of them at $3.95. Some of the most useful are:
The Pictured-Key Nature Series, also commonly designated as the "How to Know" series, published by William C. Brown Co., Dubuque, Iowa; available in both spiral binding and standard cloth binding; cost varies, most of them about $3.00. Some of the most useful:
The Golden Nature Guide Series, published by Simon and Schuster, New York, in paper binding at $1.00 each, most of them also available in cloth at $2.50. Some of the most useful for field trips:
Paperbacks-inexpensive books, useful to field biology, most of them 35¢ or 50¢. A few of the most useful are the following'; new ones appear at irregular intervals.
Free publications helpful in field work:
Pasture and Range Plants, Phillips Petroleum Co., Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
What Have I Caught? Kansas Forestry, Fish, and Game Commission, Pratt, Kansas.
Glimpses of Kansas Wildlife, Kansas Forestry, Fish , and Game Commission. Pratt, Kansas.
Scenic Kansas should be overlooked ; this field trip, primarily for fossil hunting, was planned to include a stop at Castle Rock, in eastern Gove County.
AUDUBON SCREEN TOUR SERIES
The Biology Department of the Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia is sponsoring its third Audubon Screen Tour Series during the school year, 1959-1960. This series consists of five all-color motion pictures of wildlife, scenics, plant science, and conservation personally narrated by leading naturalists. These pictures are presented in Albert Taylor Hall at 7:30 p.m. on the dates listed below. Plan to attend with some of your students. Family season tickets, adult single season tickets, and single admission tickets are available. For additional information write to Dr. David Parmelee, Biology Department, KSTC, Emporia.
One Audubon Screen Tour, dealing with the natural history 0 Puerto Rico, was presented, September 29. The remaining four are as follows:
Albert Wool, Ranch and Range, Tuesday, November 3
Alexander Sprunt, Jr., Coastal Carolina, Wednesday, December 2
Cleveland P. Grant, Land of Early Autumn, Tuesday, January 26
William Ferguson, High Horizons, Friday, February 5
IT IS NOT TOO EARLY to plan to attend the 1960 Workshop in Conservation, which will be a part of the 1960 Summer Session of the Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia, during June and July.
As in the past several years, the 'Workshop will cover water, soil, grassland, and wildlife conservation, with emphasis throughout on conservation teaching. Such topics as geography and climate of Kansas, water resources, soil erosion problems and control, grass as a resource, bii-d banding, wildflowers, conservation clubs, and conservation teaching in various gr8.des will be discussed. There will be lectures, demonstrations, discussion groups, films, slides, field trips, projects, and individual and group reports. You may enroll for undergraduate or graduate credit.
Exact dates, fees, and other details will appear in later issues of The Kansas School Naturalist; for other information about the Workshop write Robert F. Clarke, Department of Biology, KSTC, Emporia, Kansas.