WELCOME, I AM A GRADUATE STUDENT AT SUNY STONYBROOK PURSUING MY MASTERS IN SECONDARY EDUCATION. IN DECEMBER OF 1997 I FINISHED MY UNDERGRADUATE WORK AT STONYBROOK RECEIVING a B.S. IN GEOLOGY. I HOPE TO BE TEACHING NINTH GRADE EARTH SCIENCE BY SEPTEMBER OF 1999.
* Click here for a cool Earth Science link.
* Links to Great
Earth -Science Resources.
|The purpose of this page is for me to post my summer '98
earth science research project on the web. For my project, I will
plan a self guided science walk in Lakeland County Park. Lakeland
County Park is a state designated wildlife preserve located on Johnson
Avenue in the Village of Islandia, NY. Although situated in the middle
of a residential community, Lakeland Park is largely undisturbed.
The south side of Lakeland Park abuts Connetquot River State Park, also
a state designated wildlife preserve, consisting of roughly 3,475 acres.
Together the two parks comprise an extensive natural corridor supporting
diverse wildlife and vegetation. The Lakeland County Park ecosystem
encompasses both wetland and pine forest communities. The Park contains
the headwaters (source area) of the Connetquot River, the water flows over
a bed of sand and glacial till toward the River's mouth at Great River.
The science walk I am developing will incorporate the geology, biology,
and ecology of the area into an enjoyable ramble with the idea that learning
can be fun.
Initially, I began by surveying the park and taking inventory of plants, animals, and geology of the area. Wetlands dominate the trail at Lakeland Park so it is the theme around which I developed the walk. I decided to point out the various wetland communities found in the park by designing a stop at each one. The walk consists of eleven stops. Each stop corresponds to a number in a trail guide which I created to accompany the person on his or her walk. In the trail guide the text points out what I want the person to see at the particular stop. Sometimes I pose a question for the reader to ponder. Sometimes I compare and contrast the stop with a previous one. At one stop there is an activity involving plant identification and a taxonomic key. I designed the walk to correspond to an eighth grade level since that is what I hope to be teaching. This level is also appropriate for an average adult with a non science background.
The forest is a place of wondrous things. If you proceed quietly, looking carefully, some of these wonders may be revealed to you. Watch out for poison ivy, look for three shiny leaves. "Leaves of Three, Let it Be"
believe Long Island underwent two periods of glaciation with the most recent
period occurring 22,000 years ago. During this period a glacier partially
covered Long Island. Look around you and try to imagine what the
area right where you are standing might have looked like. How far
South do you think the glacier traveled?
Lakeland County Park covers roughly 80 acres consisting of wetlands surrounded by forested woodlands. To the Southwest, Lakeland abuts the 3,475 acre Connetquot River State Park. Together the two parks comprise a continuous wildlife corridor extending all the way to Long Islandís South Shore.
This trail guide will serve as your narrator guiding you on a walk through the park. Each stop corresponds to a green and white trail marker. Use the map on the back of this brochure to guide you through the 11 stops. Have a great day!
When it rains or snows water can take a number of possible paths. It can runoff the surface eventually ending up in a pond, a basin, or the ocean. Water can evaporate or be absorbed by plants which later release it to the atmosphere in a process called transpiration. Evaporation and transpiration are combined into the term evapotranspiration. Water can sink into the ground by moving through pore spaces in soil, sand, gravel, or rock in a process called infiltration. These processes are all parts of the water cycle.
Water is a valuable resource which many of us take for granted. When people have something of value they store it in a safe or a vault. Here on Long Island you can think of our drinking water as stored in an underground vault called an aquifer. An aquifer is an underground formation that can hold sufficient water for either domestic or industrial use. The upper boundary of underground water saturation is called the water table. When the water table intersects the land surface you get a pond, a stream, or a wetland. What inference can you make about the water table in this location? How does rain water that sinks become part of the water cycle again?
The park contains the headwaters (start) of the Connetquot River. The water flows South from here over a bed of sand ultimately reaching the riverís mouth at Great River. Look at the stream channel. Is it well defined? What do you think caused the channel to look the way it does? Is the channel straight or does it bend (meander)?
this location to Stop 1. Is it similar r completely different?
Unlike the previous stop, here you get a sense that the water is flowing. Do you see plants here that you did not see at Stop 1? Look around and find the low plant with the big leaves. When crushed it emits foul smell hence the name Skunk Cabbage.
|and water conditions.
What plants and trees do you see in both wetland and upland? Which
plants do you only see in one or the other? The Red
Maple is a facultative plant
which means it is equally likely to occur in wetlands or uplands.
In the past, people considered wetlands insect-ridden, unattractive, and useless areas. However, in recent decades we are realizing that the truth about wetlands is quite the opposite. Wetlands are highly productive ecosystems capturing large amounts of the sunís energy and converting it to useable energy though photosynthesis.
Pictured, the Black-capped Chickadee
The subject of this stop are the ferns on either side of the boardwalk. Ferns grow in a variety of habitats from woods to swamps. Ferns are the simplest vascular plants. Vascular plants have tubes inside their leaves, stems, or roots. Water and food move through these tubes to all parts of the plant.
Each stalk, called a stipe, has a leaf called a frond. Ferns reproduce by spores which appear on the underside of fertile fronds. The spores are in cases that look like small brown bumps. When the cases burst open, spores fall to the ground eventually growing into new plants. Look at the cluster of ferns all around you. What evidence do you see that would correspond to this type of reproduction? Hint: Ferns are usually found in groups. Your assignment is to become a plant detective and using the key on the next page identify this mysterious fern.
NOTE: Feel free to touch and look at the ferns closely but handle them with care in order to avoid damaging them!
If the blade (the green leafy part of the frond) is once divided (see above) choose A.
If the blade is more than once divided choose B.
If most pinnae are alternate
If the blade is three times
If your frond is not interrupted
If frond is lacy and has an
What you are smelling is organic material in various stages of decay.
When roots, stems, and leaves accumulate, as they have here, conditions
become highly acidic. Highly acidic conditions are unfavorable to
the organisms in charge of decomposing and recycling material. As
a result, decomposition slows down, partially decomposed organic material
called peat builds up, and a bog develops.
A bog is just another step in the succession of a wetland. Succession is a process whereby plant communities pass through various stages in response to changes in their environment. Lakeland Park provides a good example of succession. For example, at Stop 1 you observed a forested wetland. Simply, a forest flooded by groundwater. The flooding causes anaerobic or low oxygen conditions in the soil. These two things change the ecology of the community. Further change occurs as leaves from trees accumulate in the water. The community evolves into a swamp and possibly at some later time a bog.
Succession is a long process that takes many years. The real key to succession is that plants and animals change the environment in which they live. What about peopleís impact on their environment? How many ways do your daily activities affect the natural environment around you?
sorted (meaning of similar size) or poorly sorted (meaning all different
sizes)? Most sands consist mainly of the mineral quartz. Quartz
has a glassy luster. Can you see it? Quartz is the second most
abundant mineral in the earthís crust. Can you name the most abundant
mineral in the earthís crust? Hint: It is really a family of minerals
whose name is of German origin meaning a rod or a spear.
(Answer is on back page under Parks logo)
The pondís muddy bottom consists of sediment and years of decaying organic matter. The rich bottom of this pond provides shelter for many animals throughout the year. If you are lucky maybe you will meet some of the pondís inhabitants on your walk. Some are quite shy and some are not. The largest native turtles on Long Island are the snapping turtles. Honeysuckle Pond is home to a couple of large ones.
whereas grasses have hollow stems with joints or bulges. Can you
see the difference in vegetation between the pond side of the boardwalk
and the marsh side?
Look around and find the plant that looks like a soft green carpet. This plant is a type of moss. Unlike ferns and most other plants, mosses are a type of nonvascular plant. Nonvascular plants do not have tubes inside them for moving food and water. In mosses water moves from cell to cell in the same way a paper towel absorbs water. Consequently, mosses must live where there is plenty of water. Why do you think these plants do not grow tall? Hint: Non vascular plants have no tubes for moving water. Mosses are pioneer plants. They grow in poor soils and enrich the soils for plants that will follow.
Robert J. Gaffney
Michael R. Frank