What do these three things have in common?
They are part of our increasingly interesting homeschooler-led ecological field study. Half of this study takes place at the University of Idaho Arboretum and Botanical Garden. The other half takes place just south on City of Moscow property. It is a restored riparian zone on the South Fork Palouse River.
These young ecologists (ages 11-12) have dubbed their project, Project W.H.E.A.T. (water, health, ecology, and timing study). Check in with us and read the latest here at our blog.
We are very blessed to be working with Mr. Paul Warnick, the University of Idaho Arboretum and Botanical Garden horticulturist, the city of Moscow, Decagon Devices, and Mr. Jim Ekins, Water Specialist with the University of Idaho Extension-Coeur d’Alene. Mr. Warnick’s job is to care for the plants, develop new projects, and maintain the grounds of the 63 acre Arboretum. Paul has toured homeschool groups around the wonderful arboretum grounds several times over the past few years. For this project, he introduced us to the cloned “Red Rothomagensis lilac.”
He also took a few minutes to tell us the fabulous genetic history of the Dwarf Alberta spruce and also to give us the recent management history of the two arboretum ponds.
Mr. Warnick talked about the climate of the Arboretum and how the southern end (parking lot end) is much colder because it is at the bottom of the creek. The cold air sinks and moves down the creek from the northern end where it is much warmer. The southern end is a “frost pocket.” Observing the phenology (study of the key seasonal changes that plants and animals undergo each year) of the cloned lilacs planted at opposite ends of the arboretum grounds will allow us to better understand climate’s impact on these plants. Visit this link to read background information on these cloned lilacs. And remember the difference between climate and weather. Weather is what it’s like outside at any given time. Climate is the pattern of weather in a region over decades and centuries of time.
In addition to the lilacs our study will include regular observation of the butterfly garden’s flowers and pollinators, the two “Endowment” sugar maples, and various features of the two ponds. We will be recording phenological observations in Nature’s Notebook.
This project is our inaugural Citizens of Creation: Science project.