I recently joined a program hosted by the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Cleveland Metroparks. Right from the start, I saw that this program could contain some very interesting Foldscope potential!
The program takes place at the South Chagrin Reservation, an absolutely gorgeous body of land with various pockets of terrain. There are forests full of hemlocks and shagbark hickory trees, clay-filled cliffs, fields of goldenrod, and rocky rivers, creeks, and springs. The Cleveland Metroparks website provides:
The reservation … also features an Arboretum, Polo Field and many interesting trails to explore. Look About Lodge, a log cabin built in 1938 by the Cleveland Natural Science Club, offers year-round outdoor education programming for all ages.
Part of the program has an exercise in studying “microhabitats.” Essentially, I am to document the same small area of land once a week over the duration of the program (14 weeks). The idea “take the same path every day, and each day find something new” resonates well with this exercise. With that idea in mind, I am so excited—it forces me to examine, look closer, and really dedicate time to exploration (something often neglected when work and life compete for attention).
I can document the space in any way I like—so I thought it’d be most interesting for me to use a combination of field art and Foldscope collected data. The program’s use of the term “micro” here only refers to a 3 square foot plot of land, but I thought it would be fun to interpret that in an even more literal sense.
So… I’d like to introduce you to my microhabitat!
This sketch depicts an overview of my space. There are rocks covered in moss & lichen, and a small stream bed with water trickling through. A good size tree leans over the stream bed, with exposed roots brushing against the ground.
I didn’t want to disturb my habitat too much, so I collected a very small amount of moss off the largest rock, seen in the bottom left of my sketch. I let the samples sit in water overnight, and this is what I found the following day…
here are some screenshots from the videos as well:
It appears I found a nematode!
Improvement wise-I’ll have a glass slide for my next post, and I will remember to zoom in and film in a landscape orientation.
As the weeks progress, I will investigate more specific areas of my microhabitat in the form of themes… One week may be the soil, or perhaps a survey of all the plants in my space. No matter which theme I choose, I will include some form of Foldscope exploration as well.
Thank you all for taking the time to explore this space with me!