Tag Archives: Dr. Augie’s after school puppets

Algae and Berkshire BioBlitz

bioblitz algae samplesDuring last year’s Berkshire BioBlitz we were lucky to have two phycologists, scientists who study algae, John Hall, from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Pennsylvania and Karolina Fucikova from the University of Connecticut, because we held the 3rd annual Berkshire BioBlitz at Onota Lake.

We don’t think about algae often. They are usually small, we don’t usually see them without a microscope, but algae are very important plants. They are primary producers in aquatic ecosystems. Most algae are eukaryotic, an organism whose cells contain complex structures enclosed within membranes, and are photosynthetic organisms, this means they make energy from the sun. They are distinguished from the higher plants by a lack of true roots, stems or leaves. Many species are single-celled and microscopic (including phytoplankton and other microalgae) but many others are multicellular growing to large size like seaweeds such as kelp and Sargassum. And still yet, some are microscopic, and occur as symbionts in lichens and corals.

John sent me some of these photos he took through his microscope during bioblitz. Yup, these things are in our lake. How cool is that?

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Penium margaritaceum

Here are some fun facts about algae:

Algae and Evolution: Algae…

  • live almost everywhere on Earth
  • are among the most ancient living organisms
  • gave rise to all the plants you see and eat (even flowers)
  • some are extremophiles, liking it either really hot, or really cold


Algae and People: Algae…

  • produce half the oxygen in the air you breathe
  • are used to make medicines, toothpaste and ice cream
  • can become fuel for cars

Pediastrum simplex

Algae and Biodiversity: Algae…

  • build coral reefs and kelp forests
  • are food for fish and even some whales
  • are every color of the rainbow!

For some interesting educational resources about algae click here.

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Posted by on March 28, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Crosby Water Procession!

These 10 kids had a great time with us in the Dr. Augie’s Brain Booster After-school program! They learned all about the water system here in Berkshire County. Ask them some questions, they will love to tell you what they learned, especially about how we are lucky to have the water treatment plants that clean our water.

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Here are some poems they wrote about water:

Over the rainbow.
Under the flag.
“The water is gone!”
“The water is gone!”
The salamander cried.
And heaved a great sigh.
To which the ladybug said,
“Then we must find the critter who drank all our water or else find a river
To get our water delivered!”

Everyone shivered, the baby, the fox, the fish and the eagle.
Just to think of the horror of life without water.

Did the moon sip the stream ’til the drip ran dry?
Did the rainbow make a spout that the water poured out?!

They all went marching to find some water.
It was in the clouds they all decided.
So they danced in a circle and shouted out loud,
“Oh sky give us water, rain on our parade if you would!”
And the water cycle started again and everything was good.
-Chante, Emma, Sandi, Ashley, Aiyanna and Lisa

The days are calm like the wind.
The shy is blue like my friends eyes.
Everyone loves to watch the beautiful sunrise over the water.
-Chante and Lisa

Dr. Augie sends a special thanks to Ms. Driscoll and Ms. Sandi for making this session fun and educational!

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Posted by on March 28, 2013 in Uncategorized


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“The Tides” by Aiyanna

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Posted by on March 22, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Finishing up the Puppets

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Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Art, Camps, Children's Art & Science Classes, Puppets


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Science, Art and Media

sing about dr augieThe classes have begun!
This week two of Dr. Augie’s after-school programs were off to a great start!

The elementary program sponsored by the Berkshire Environmental Action Team and funded by the Berkshire Taconic Foundation’s “Berkshire Environmental Endowment” focuses on the Water Systems and the environment. The group quickly realized they were water experts by listing everything they could think about water.

tv station 005The high school kids did some brainstorming about what they want their science TV show to be like. This program is part of the 21st Century Learning Centers grant. The core group did a great job convincing our new students how fun an adventure this will be. We are excited to get a tour of the public access station next week. Lynn Shortis of the Pittsfield Public Schools and Tim LaPort, electrical engineer, will be joining me with directing these awesome students as they pilot their own TV science show!


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