Sea Scouts and Club 360 visit the source of Cahoon Creek

Students used a spherical densitometer to measure the tree density in Bradley Woods. Photo by Dawn Hamil

The Sea Scouts and Explorer Club 360 went on a field trip to Bradley Woods Reservation on Jan. 13 in search of the source of Cahoon Creek. We were accompanied by Cleveland Metroparks naturalist, Martin Calabrese. The Sea Scouts and Explorer Club 360 are working on eCybermission projects, a STEM competition offered by the Army Educational Outreach Program; the Scouts and Explorers are investigating the effect of pollution in Cahoon Creek on plant growth and testing soil and water samples from the source, middle, and mouth of the creek.

During our research for the project, the course of Cahoon Creek was traced upstream through Bay Village, Westlake and North Olmsted to its primary source in the Bradley Woods Reservation. Mr. Calabrese led a hike through Bradley Woods which is the ONLY swamp forest on the Metroparks property, to find the exact source of Cahoon Creek. While we hiked Mr. Calabrese showed us how to use a densitometer, which is used to see how dense the land around you is. It has a mirror with grid lines on it and you look at the mirror facing up and count how many squares out of 24 have tree branches, trees or leaves.  

Mr. Calabrese also explained how the surroundings affect the creek ecosystem and several interesting facts about the ecosystem at Bradley Woods. Two of the most interesting topics included the spotted salamander and marcescence.

The spotted salamander is Ohio’s state amphibian. The spotted salamander is nocturnal and likes to tunnel underground so they are rarely seen throughout the year. However in April, they come out in large numbers and make a dangerous journey across the road at the Bradley Woods Reservation to get to vernal pools so they can mate. Luckily for the salamanders, the Metroparks close the road to cars so that the salamanders can make it safely across the road to breed.

The word of the day was "marcescence," which is when the leaves on the beech trees don’t fall off when they die but rather stay on the trees throughout the winter. This is so mind boggling that scientist still haven’t been able to figure out why this happens!  We hope that you are excited to see the results from the experiment just as much as we are!

The Marine Environment Explorer Club 360 and the Sea Scouts concentrate on developing life skills, character, leadership and ethics for students in sixth grade through high school. For details contact Richard Gash, or 440-871-6106.

Caroline Biersterfeldt and Norah Hamil

We are both members of Club 360.
Caroline Biersterfeldt is a 7th grader in Avon.
Norah Hamil is a 7th grader in Bay Village.

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 9:55 AM, 02.07.2017