July 2017

Images recorded at White Memorial Conservation Center Bird Blind, unless stated otherwise on the White Memorial Foundation Property.  Time stamped is Eastern Standard Time, daylight savings time is not used.


Bobcat at Plunge Pool
Eastern Chipmunk at Plunge Pool
 Southern Flying Squirrel at Plunge Pool
Southern Flying Squirrel at Plunge Pool
Eastern Gray Squirrel at Plunge Pool
White-tailed Deer Fawn at Ice House Marsh
Eastern Chipmunk at Cathedral 
Black Bear at Cranberry Pond
Bobcat at Cranberry Pond
Bobcat at Cranberry Pond
Cottontail Rabbit at Ice House Marsh
White-Tailed Deer at Old Camp Townshend
White-tailed Deer at Cranberry Pond
White-Tailed Deer at Ice House Marsh
White-tailed Deer at Old Camp Townshend
White-Tailed Deer at Cathedral
White-tailed Deer Buck at Ice House Marsh
Eastern Gray-Squirrel at Cranberry Pond
Raccoon at Ice House Marsh

Red-bellied Woodpecker at Cranberry Pond
Gray Catbird at Ice House Marsh
Juvenile American Robin at Duck Pond
Common Grackle at Old Camp Townshend 
Gray Catbird at Duck Pond
Flycatcher species at Ice House Marsh
Blue Jay at Cranberry Pond-West
Veery at Ice House Marsh

Introducing our 2017 Interns!

Kelsey with one of her goats, Dewey.

Kelsey, our Field Technician, is from Morris, CT. She graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2016, where she double majored in Biology and Environmental Science with a concentration in Geology (wow, what a mouthful!) She got her start in field work at Wamogo High School, where she participated in the Forman School Rainforest Project, and since then, she's been quite busy in both the field and lab. She's back at White Memorial for another field season, having interned in 2014. Because she has 47 animals at home, including alpaca, goats, and dogs, her free time is spent walking her dogs. She hopes to go to graduate school for aquatic biology.

This adorable lizard was the focus of Kimberly's
senior thesis, but she truly loves penguins and otters.

Kimberly, who is from Los Angeles, CA, is a recent graduate of Yale University who majored in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Through her classes and senior thesis, she has done fieldwork in the Yale Myers Forest, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and New Zealand. She intends to eventually attend graduate school and become a field scientist at a non-profit organization or government agency, but for now, she has no idea what she's doing after this summer besides enjoying her time at home, reading books, and walking her dogs.

Anthony waiting for bats to fly from the barn
for an emergence count.

Anthony E. is a rising senior majoring in Wildlife Biology at Colorado State University from Harwinton, CT. His university coursework has taken him through the mountains of Colorado to learn field methods in topics such as watershed science, wildlife biology, and urban wildlife. An avid fan of both wild cats and Cat Stevens, he plans to attend graduate school to research the behavior and conservation of wild felines, preferably overseas, and preferably of his favorite animal, the Sumatran tiger.

A wild Tatiana (or is it her identical twin? The world will never know...)
spotted at No Man's Land Swamp, channeling her
inner tiger (her favorite animal!) 

Tatiana is from Torrington, CT and is a rising sophomore majoring in Biology at Paul Smith's College. This is her first field season, and we're excited that she's joined White Memorial as she explores the wide expanse of the scientific field. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and listening to music.

Gwendolyn pondering Heron Pond.
Gwendolyn is a rising sophomore at The Gunnery from Litchfield, CT. She loves to row (she even rows before and after she comes to volunteer!!) This is her first field season as well, and she is currently thinking of studying astrophysics or nuclear engineering in college. She likes bumblebees, and while most of us haven't handled a bird before, she's ridden an ostrich!

Despite this picture, Anthony's favorite
animal is, in fact, the crab.

Anthony C. is a rising sophomore at Wamogo High School from Torrington, CT. This is also his first field season, but as a part of the Agricultural Sciences program at Wamogo, he has taken classes about Natural Resources and Earth Science. As a scout for 9 years, he is accustomed to being outside, and enjoys camping and hiking. He is currently interested in chemistry and psychology.

If you are interested in interning for White Memorial Conservation Center, please follow this link!

Bark Beetles 2017

     What do you notice about the trees in the photo below?
Damage to a forest caused by the Southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis).
Source: Flickr
     The trees in the photo weren't killed by a fire or lack of water. In fact, the trees were killed by beetles that are smaller than a grain of rice. Despite their small size, bark beetles are a large concern across the United States. Bark beetles can kill a tree within a few months, and in the western US, entire forests have been decimated by bark beetles.
Little beetles, big impact: the Southern pine beetle (D. frontalis) is smaller than a grain of rice.
Source: Wikimedia

       Bark beetles kill trees by consuming the inner bark of the trees, which is crucial to trees' growth and to the transport of nutrients and water throughout the tree. Bark beetles burrow tunnels in the wood, and lay their eggs deep within the tree. Bark beetles do not arrive alone, either - they also bring fungi and bacteria that block the tree from expelling the beetles' eggs, allowing the larvae to hatch and consume their way to the surface of the tree.
Bark beetles leave tunnels in the wood that are evident long after a tree dies.
Source: Wikimedia
 Normally, bark beetles aren't bad in a forest - they help with breaking down weakened, dying, and dead trees, which helps renew a forest. Healthy trees can defend themselves by excreting sap, which can kill or immobilize attacking insects. However, when there is an outbreak of bark beetles, even healthy trees cannot defend themselves against the sheer number of bark beetles, causing widespread damage in a forest and even creating a potential fire hazard due to the large number of dead trees. A forest can contain many different species of bark beetles; different species can be identified by the type of tree infested, and by the tunnel patterns created. And with changing climatic patterns precipitated by human activity, there have been increased observations in the north of bark beetles species that had previously been confined to the south, such as the southern pine beetle, which got us thinking - what kinds of bark beetles are in White Memorial? 
One of our summer interns, Tatiana, filling the trap with hand sanitizer.
Source: K. Sudol
       To determine what types of bark beetles were in White Memorial's forests, we used a setup designed by the University of Florida for people interested in knowing what types of bark beetles were living in their backyards. It was pretty simple and inexpensive - first, we cut a small window in a clean and empty two liter soda bottle. Next, we inverted the soda bottle such that the cap was facing the ground, and then we used twine to tie the bottle to a low-lying branch, twig, or small tree. We then put some hand sanitizer into the cap. The alcohol in the hand sanitizer has two purposes - since alcohol is produced by decaying trees, the alcohol attracted the bark beetles. The alcohol also serves to prevent the beetle from decaying. We left the trap out for three mornings, and then we transferred the hand sanitizer and any beetles inside into a plastic bag before removing the trap.
Super easy setup!
Source: University of Florida
       Using this trap design, we scaled our project to survey as much of the White Memorial property as possible. Between May 22 and June 23, 2017, we established 12 transects. Each transect consisted of 10 traps in a line that were spaced 10 meters apart. Because different species of beetles may be associated with different species of trees, and because White Memorial has a wide variety of forest types, we set our transects in locations with varying forest types. Out of 120 total traps placed, we collected 102 traps with possible bark beetles. We recently sent these beetles to the University of Florida for identification, and we're eager to know what they find!

A map of the 12 transects that we established in White Memorial.
Source: Google Earth
          If you're interested in knowing which bark beetles live in your backyard, this setup is really easy and effective. Regardless of whether you're a homeowner curious about your backyard, a classroom teacher trying to teach a science lesson, or field scientists like us, this is a project that is easily done at any scale. Any and all results are helpful in helping identify the different species of bark beetles across the country! The project's website is http://backyardbarkbeetles.org/ 

  • http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/publications/fact_sheets/forestry_and_horticulture/southern_pine_beetle_in_northeastern_u.s._update.pdf 
  • https://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/Bark_Beetles_and_Symbiotic_Fungi
  • http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/spbactsheet.pdf
  • http://learnmoreaboutclimate.colorado.edu/uploads/model-lessons/mountain-pine-beetles/bark-beetles-brochure.pdf
  • https://cals.arizona.edu/extension/fh/bb_faq.html#1
  • https://www.fs.usda.gov/ccrc/topics/species-distribution 
  • http://backyardbarkbeetles.org/