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Monday, February 7, 2011

Nature Walk: Pisgah Forest

We visited a wildlife education center and trout hatchery in the Pisgah forest last weekend. These bold birds were hanging around waiting to have a meal, and they weren't skittish at all around us. One of them was greedily eating a fish as the others waited for a turn. We enjoyed watching these birds as much as looking at the fish in the hatchery.

This trout hatchery raises the fish for about two years and then releases thousands of them into area streams.  It was fascinating to see so many of them so close together. We learned that during the spawning season, eggs are stripped from the female trout and mixed with milt from the male trout. The fertilized eggs are kept in stacks of shallow incubation trays until an embryo develops, and then they are moved into different sections of the hatchery as they grow.

Along the nature trail, we were amazed at how this huge tree seemed to be perched on top of a rock, with nowhere for its roots to be planted. We  learned that lichens  grow on the rocks over time, and as soil sticks to them, they become places for trees and other plants to cling onto. Here is more about lichens.

This field trip provided so many learning opportunities in science and history: the Civilian Conservation Corps, conservation, geology, wetland ecology, and wildlife management. The wildlife center is also free to visit! 

1 comment :

Phyllis said...

How beautiful! The weather must be very nice where you are...we have snow!