Brownies have an exciting day!

Brownies braved a chilly April morning to visit the nature center to learn about entomology (the study of insects) and basic hiking.  According to Phil Wyde, the nature center’s chief bug-guy, insects account for more than two-thirds of all known organisms and have been present on the earth in some shape or form for more than 400 million years.

Look what they found under this old log! (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
Look what they found under this old log!
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

The Brownies were not the least bit squeamish, finding bugs under logs and rocks, in the grasses along the trails, catching them in nets, and studying them thru magnifying glasses.

A magnifying glass comes in handy when studying bugs. (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
A magnifying glass comes in handy when studying bugs.
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

With the help of the nature center’s Hollis Zender, the girls created their own bugs, a walking stick (see photo below), and learned about how bugs have specialized mouth parts to allow them to pierce, chew, bite, suck, or sponge up their food.

Studying the wings of a butterfly. (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
Studying the wings of a butterfly.
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

For the hiking portion of the day, the girls learned how to be safe while out on the trails.  This included what to pack in your backpack:  plenty of water, first aid supplies, gorp to munch on, a trail map, flashlight, etc.  and to make sure someone knows when and where they are going.

Making your own first aid kit. (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
Making your own first aid kit.
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

While hiking, the girls discovered old bones and talked with Billy Hutson, their guide, about how to determine what kind of animal it might have been, from turtles to armadillos, from deer to cows, from the hollow bones of birds to fish.  All were nicely scrubbed clean thanks to our friendly bugs.

Finding a turtle shell. (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
Finding a turtle shell.
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

To top off the day, Arlene Pearce, our friend from the bird rehabilitation center,  showed baby opossums whose mother had been killed by a car, and a screech owl with a back injury that she had nursed back to health.  Unlike humans, the large eyes of owls have no muscles attached to move them.  Instead, they have an extra vertebrae in their neck so they can move their head to find their prey.  While the baby opossums were too young to release, Arlene let the Brownies help with the release of the screech owl.

Best screech owl
Screech owl ready to find new home.
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

 

Getting a closer look. (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
Getting a closer look.
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

 

There she goes! (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
There she goes! The moms are enjoying it too!
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

At the end of the day, everyone was exhausted and all the girls had earned their badges.  Congratulations ladies!

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