Well today is our last and final day camping. We wake up around 6:30 a.m. because inventory has to be done. We are told that we need to be out of Nespelem by 12 p.m.
Okay we are all ready to head home but before we get there we make a stop at Dry Fall National Park. This park is huge and it is hard to believe that no more water runs through here. I walk into the gift store and there they have a lot of history of the park in detail. I liked that they categorized everything in steps and made it easier for me to read. Later I sat in to watch a 10 minute video of the geography of Dry Falls.
After going into the gift shop I went outside with my crew. As sat there we began to talked about some of stuff we have done over the last two weeks and recalling some of the memorable moments. I had a great time on this trip!!
We stay at Dry Fall National Park for a couple of hours because some students are trying to catch up on there blogging. We had no service for two days in Nespelem.
Finally we take off for school. But as we are informed earlier in the day through the radio that highway 97 is close due to a wildfire. So we take an alternate route. I hope everything works out alright in Goldendale and keep fires away.
We are about an hour way from school. The girls begin to sing Pitch Perfect songs. I lost track as to how many times they have watched that film. If they weren't watching the movie they would be listening to the Pitch perfect track. hahaha That was all they would be into. They knew how to do the cup song thing, and constantly repeat phrases from the movie. It was hilarious I can't lie, We had a lot of fun getting home.
As we pull into the parking lot everybody is happy to be here. I see my mom coming in the distance. I'm glad to see that she is here to pick me up. I get my stuff and take it over to the car.
As we head home I tell her all of the cool and educational stuff I have been exposed to. I gather with my family that afternoon and I don't know were to begin to tell them about my experience on the trip so I begin by opening up my note book!!!!!
I will be posting pictures later today. I'm having trouble uploading them. Have a great day and thanks for reading.
Monday, July 29, 2013
We wake up around 7:00 a.m. an hour extra to sleep in. I got tired of setting up my tent so I decided to sleep in the van. I have a couple mosquito bites from previous camp sites and I did not want anymore.
Today we met with a tribal member named Barbra Frielander Arida. She is eighty-one years old and has been working for environmental purposes for forty-five years. Barbara spoke about environmental trust within tribes and how important it is to work with other neighboring tribes to fix common problems and not turn against each other. One problem facing the Nespelem community is radiation. Our speaker mentioned knowing people who have been diagnosed with cancer do to radiation in the area. Radiation is not easily removed it takes years. It is a natural part of our environment a range of different sources (man-made or natural) contributes our exposure to ionizing radiation everyday.
Barbra mentioned working with USDA, BIA, USBR, BLM, etc. All of these federal departments aim to better the environment from fishing to hunting, among other environmental sustainable concerns tribal leaders have been dealing over years.
Later that afternoon we went to Hatchery/Spawning location. There we met with Bill who has been working for the hatchery since 1985. The hatchery has been contracted by Pacific Sea Foods, one of the largest company for market distributions. They distribute trout to Local Markets including Costco. In one week I believe Bill said that they harvest about eighty thousand trout.
We also met with Steve a biologist who also works for the hatchery. Steve told us some great facts about the fish. He mentioned how the fish are harvested and ticketed in a refrigerated water. Some fish in their netting stationed have escaped. The tags are meant to recapture them so that they will not go and blend with the rest of the natural fish in the rivers. It takes eighteen to twenty-four weeks for juvenile fish to get big. I witness a lot of small fish on the edges of the river. Bills says that juvenile fish typically stay near shore because they cannot fight currents and become easy prey for other fish. The fish at the hatchery are given pellets for food composed of minerals and proteins. Some fish are feed by employees and others are taken care of by an automated computerized machine. I took off to take a tour of the hatchery on a boat. I saw many fish of different sizes and color. I have seen fish like this in public hatcheries but not as big as this one.
After our visit to the hatchery we went back to the community center to have dinner. After dinner Rick Desautal presented a line of animal furs categorized by family. He spoke about the weasel and how they change colors seasonally and have defensive glands they excrete when they are threated by anyone or anything. Another animal that is known to have a defensive gland is the skunk which is also relative of the weasel family. The skunk is a very alert animal and is only put into a defensive position when it has given all warming signs. Rick mentioned that the skunk has no immunity to its own stench. This is one of the reasons why skunks have a variety of warnings when any animal gets close by before they decide to release that awful smell (I did not know that). Then rick moved on to the badger, otter, wolverine, muskrat, beaver, big horn sheep, black deer, white tailed deer, cougar, timber wolf, coyote, cross fox and the black bear. Rick said that the black bear does not hibernate. I thought all bears hibernate but apparently not. He mentioned how important wolves are to the area because they keep outnumbering populations of animals controlled. Wolves are unwanted by farmers because they kill flocks so they shoot them. There was not many wolves found in the area. At a time they were known to be extinct but they reappeared. Now that they are back more is being done to protect their kind and penalizing anyone who kills wolves for game and trade. Rick mentioned how wolfs have many tactics to catching pray. Wolfs hunt in pack. They might not be able to outrun a deer but when winter comes deer have difficulty running through steep snow and wolfs have a greater advantage so they are able to catch and feed on deer during winter season. Another animal that the wolf is known to enjoy eating is the elk. The elk is a defensive animal and as Rick explains that some elk with offspring's stay put to their positions and charge. Do to there best efforts to protect there offspring they become easy prey to wolves. Elks try to fight off wolfs but when their are numbers of them they do not stand a chance of survival.
We got an opportunity to feel the furs of the animals. Some furs were thick and others silky soft. My favorite was the wolf and cougar furs.
Later that evening Rick took us to a location called Gold lake. We went up there to howl for wolves. They usually come out when it gets dark. We formed a group of about twenty-four which includes Heritage University students, White Swan high school students, Davis High school student, plus faculty, and chaperones so we had to keep our voices as silent as possible because we would definitely scare them wolves away. Rick gave a speech about the area and his work then he explained pin pointed locations on a map where animals like bears and wolves gather. Then we went to a specific location where wolves prey. Rick called it the killing site. Rick picked on different students to howl after waiting minutes for a wolf to pick up on the howling, no reply. Rick continued to pick random students to howl until he came to a conclusion that they probably would not be coming out tonight. He explained that it takes repetition in order to get results. So we howled as a group.
Over all I have had a very educational day. Though the day ends and tomorrow awaits I'm thankful for every opportunity I have been apart of on this camping trip. Today is our last night bonding together and tomorrow our final day before arriving home. Though I want to get back home I will miss hanging out with Heritage University, White Swan and Davis High school students including staff and faculty. It was great meeting every single one of you and I wish you all the best and hope to see you all soon.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
We leave fair gounds, Wellpinit, Spokane. We are giving the opportunity to continue blogging at Wellipint High school since most of us do not have internet access and can not blog.
We take off from Fair grounds about 11:30 a.m. and head for Stonerose in Republic, Washington to look for fossils. Travis and Daniel gave us some facts about fossils before we went outside to look for them. Fossils are carbon compressed. fossils with minerals are stained by water. Fossils in the area date back to 48 to 50 years old ancient lake bed.
Typically people have found fossils with leafs, insects, ginkgo, fish at Stonerose. In that site there are currently 12 researchers studying fossils. Most fossils are found in sediment rocks. When scientists find fossil, it must be very carefully freed from the rock or other material that it’s trapped in. Sometimes scientists use picks and shovels to get rid of the larger rocks around the fossil. They might even use explosives if they need to, but they have to be very careful not to damage the fossil itself. They also use trowels, hammers, brushes, and dental tools to remove fossils, especially small fossils. I did not know how difficult it was to excavate a fossil. My partner Cristian Rojas and I gave it a try.We decided to go up hill because Daniel told us that a lot of insects and leafs have been found there. I did not even know where to begin hammering??? I went for the edges I thought it would be easier but it crumpled up. So I began looking for rocks that were laying around on the sides. I successfully found one. Slowly I began using my tools to open up a layer of rock. My partner and I managed to open up the rock but we found nothing. Other students found pine needles and one other found a halve leaf. It was a great site to visit and learn and observe about the fossils found by visitors. Though I did not find a fossil it was a great experience.
Later in the evening we went to Grand Coulee Dam. At the dam we seen a laser light show. Coulee dam is one of the biggest dam in the world that provides electricity. First time I have since the dam I was WOWED. I seen the front of the dam and was amazed then we droved passed it and I saw how steep the water was.