Tryon Turtle here. I wanted to drop you a few lines about my wonderful adventure with NCCAT. NCCAT as I found out is the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching and provides week long seminars for public school teachers to re-energize their love of learning. The seminar I visited took place in the NC mountains and was all about citizen science in the classroom. We visited Fairview Elementary where we tagged Monarch butterflies and hunted for ladybugs at their amazing outdoor classroom area. We ended our first day by looking at the ant diversity on NCCAT's campus using the School of Ants project.
The second day we traveled to Purchase Knob at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Purchase knob is a research station where we monitored the phenology of local tree species, examined the terrestrial invertebrate diversity, and searched for salamander species in what is considered to be the salamander capital of the world. Seeing all of the insects and salamanders sure did make me hungry. We ended our day with an introduction to bird banding with local bird bander Mark Hopey.
The next day we traveled to the bird banding station at Big Bald along the Appalachian Trail on the Tennessee border. We banded a variety of migratory birds, counted migrating raptors and finished our day by catching and banding a migrating Merlin. What an amazing day. I sure have learned a lot about citizen science, met some of North Carolina's fantastic teachers, and had a great time during my NCCAT seminar.
You can find more photos at flickr