On Saturday, April 2nd, we took a field trip with some of the high school students down to the Carnegie Museum's Powdermill Nature Reserve in Rector, PA! A former Powdermill employee, Joe Stavish met us down at the reserve in order to give us a tour as we hiked through the woods. We learned how to differentiate different native trees in the Appalachian Plateau Province and also learned about how to tell whether an ecosystem is healthy or not.
The Powdermill Nature Reserve grounds in Rector, PA.
We also headed down to the stream on the grounds and searched for some salamanders. We learned that some of the grounds on the nature reserve are located in a floodplain and we learned how to tell where the end of the floodplain was based on the landscape.
A salamander found beneath a rock near the stream.
The stream found at the Powdermill Nature Reserve.
We finished off the tour by exploring a bird-banding station located on the reserve grounds. Joe explained that scientists at the nature reserve put nets up and capture birds, band them with a metal bracelet in order to look at migratory paths, and release them back into the wild. We then explored the center for a little longer and hopped back on the bus to go back to Pittsburgh. We had a great time down at Powdermill Nature Reserve, it's always fun to be in nature!
Joe Stavish explains to the students how bird banding happens at the nature reserve and its importance in scientific studies of migratory birds.