Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Growing Commences

japanese knotweed day 1Every year there are plans to do this: 2015 this is the year. The Japanese knot-weed growth is going to be recorded. How fast does it grow in a day, 2 days a week? Seems like it grows so fast you can see it. You can actually hear it as it pushes up from under the leaves. Yeah, its that fast.

The plan is to record the growth and the rainfall for each day.

Day 1

Shoot height on plant #1: 8mm, height on plant #2: 2mm and 11mm.

Rainfall: 0

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Uncategorized


The Power of Cellular Respiration

skunk cabbage flowerLast weekend, when the ground was still covered with about 2 feet of snow, we went looking for flowers. We found them in the wetlands by Conte Community School. Symplocarpus foetidus, common name around here: Skunk Cabbage. The interesting thing about this stinky plant, and yes it smells like boiled cabbage probably to attract early spring insects, is that it can generate its own heat and melt the snow around it. We found a hole in the snow about 2.5 inches across, down below in the muck, was a flowering skunk cabbage. skunk cabbage flowers in snowNot the prettiest of flowers, but fascinating. These plants make heat through cellular respiration. Remember that from high school biology? Remember it never made any sense? Well what this plant does is take CO2 from the air and make it into sugar to use for energy, this process of making energy gives off heat. Its called thermogenesis. Pretty cool eh? Also in the picture is a small clump of crouch grass, or crab grass. This grass uses CAM photosynthesis or Crassulacean-Acid metabolism. In this process the CO2 is taken up only at night then stored in vacuoles for energy during the day. Tough plants the both of them.

Comments Off on The Power of Cellular Respiration

Posted by on April 9, 2015 in backyard science, Science, science in the parks


Tags: , , , , , , ,


bees 1We apologize for the late notice but we would be thrilled if you could participate in the Berkshires BioBlitz scheduled for 12pm Friday June 19th to 12pm Saturday June 20, 2015 at Canoe Meadows, part of the Pleasant Valley Bird Sanctuary in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Canoe Meadows is part of a wildlife corridor from October Mountain and abundant in flora and fauna.

You are being asked to participate in the BioBlitz in your capacity as an expert in your field. If you cannot participate, we would welcome suggestions of who else I might contact instead.

The goal, as with every BioBlitz (sometimes called “Biodiversity Day” in some towns), is to see how many species we can find in a given area in the 24 hour period of the BioBlitz.

We will send you more information via email over the next month.

We hope you can participate again this year!

Sincerely yours,

Lisa Provencher, BioBlitz Coordinator
Jane Winn, Berkshire Environmental Action Team
Scott LaGreca, Curator Cornell University


Posted by on April 6, 2015 in backyard science, Berkshire BioBlitz, Science, science in the parks


Tags: , , , , , , , ,