Category Archives: Science

‘Jewels’ of Chester County

I started this idea for a project a couple of years ago, and lately, I’ve seen an increase of ‘jewels’ and in some very unusual places.

Over the years, it has not been uncommon for me to see small pieces of trash along the way, but there are other times…

In the early days, some of my captures were just looking at oddities that I came across.

Rusty Paint Cans 018
Rusty Paint Cans 018 – Below Marsh Creek Dam in Downingtown, Chester County PA

When the Mark Creek Lake was drained of 8 feet of water in late 2012, I found some more items…

Sometimes, not all is trash!

It is amazing how some folks will just leave ‘stuff’.

These images were taken just last week on a Sunday walk with my son along the Rim Trail in Hibernia Park [Map].

If you can carry it in, you should be able to carry it out!

Here in Chester County PA, we are very lucky to have groups like the Brandywine Valley Association, that organize demonstrations in local grade schools, and several years ago, I even volunteered for a day, when my daughter was in the 4th grade at Uwchlan Hills Elementary School (UHES)!

During the Event, there are several stations with each showing a different phase in how the Water System works  – It rains, the water washes over the roads and lawns, picking up various ‘elements’; flowing into the myriad of streams and creeks then into the Brandywine; the effects on the macro/micro organisms that are used to identify the health of the water; water treatment facilities to drinking water.  Full circle!

In the Fall of 2014, the new Marsh Creek 6th Grade Center (MC6GC) opened here in Downingtown, and one of the first field trips of the new school years, was to Paradise Farm Camps.

During the course of the day, each group of kids was introduced to new skills such as rope courses, teamwork building, collecting live samples and orienteering. By the end of the day my Fitbit had logged just over 9 miles walking!

What was very wonderful to see, that the same skills that were introduced during the Red stream Blue stream at UHES, were now being reconnected ‘in the field’ while the children were tasked to search for various specimens in the pond and stream that are part of Paradise Farm Camps.

But alas, even they had succumbed to the intrusion of the modern vehicle…

Earlier this year, in April, I volunteered again to help the MC6GS Science classes in their first (hopefully continuing) measurement of Shamona Creek.

During each session, the students would record the creek’s temperatures, ph/acidity, velocity, volume and the various macro/micro creatures found in the waterway.

At the beginning of the day, as we approached the testing locations, I noticed a car battery, on the bank of the creek, about 4 feet from the water’s edge.

Some of the cosmetic case had been cracked, and there was no way to tell how long it had been there. I picked it up and moved it closer to the road.

During the rest of the day, the car battery sat there, as a reminder to all what some folks are doing to the environment.

At the end of the day, we took it back to the school for disposal.

Other times, I seem to find items, that have just been swept away…

Then there are days, you still have to scratch your head!

Plastic Doll Head 037
Image taken while on an early spring walk at Stroud Preserve in Chester County PA

Knowing the area, it is very difficult to imagine how this plastic doll head got to this spot!

I did get a nice little note from the Stroud Preserve

“Oh dear! I’ll let our preserve manager know there’s litter out there!”

“As for the dry “ponds,” a few years back we restored the stream running through Stroud by removing the dams, which allowed land to convert from ponds (man-made and not good for water quality) to wetlands (more diverse than coral reefs and wonderful for filtering water).” – Stroud Preserve

Controversy

I have recently been reading several articles about the new Wyoming law that now

makes it a crime to “collect resource data”… including taking a “photograph”…Slate.com

But as the article goes on to say, the law is unconstitutional.

Here is a list of additional Links –

Needless to say, I have been a little anxious about Posting this…

Anyhow…

I hope to encourage you, when out walking about in Nature –

  1. Do Not Litter!
  2. If you see something, Pick It Up!
  3. Try to leave a place better than you found it!

If you have any Thoughts or Comments, please let me know!

- Andrew
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Cymatics by Nigel Stanford

This morning I was doing my daily social media check-in, and on one of my walls appeared a link to Fascinating: How Matter Reacts to Sound.

I got 41 seconds into the Link, and I had to jump to the YouTube link…

CYMATICS: Science Vs. Music – Nigel Stanford

I have been there pretty much ever since…

Cymatics is from Nigel Stanford’s new album, Solar Echoes, which is a Double Album download on iTunes and as mp3, wav files for only $9.95!

I have lost count of how many times I have listened to and watched this track!

It is mesmerizing!

The cinematographer,Timur Civan, captures nature “performing” to a mixture of well-crafted tones and beats similar to those found in Pink Floyd, Jean Michel Jarre, Rick Wakeman, Mike Oldfield, and Sky.

To my ear, it is very addicting and can induce some serious desk dancing.

What is also very cool is that Nigel Stanford, Shahir Daud (Director), Timur Civan, and gang have also posted six mini videos of how they created and filmed each of the classic science experiments performed in the video!

I can only imagine how much fun it would have been to take part in creating this video!

To say that they had way too much fun doing this video would be an understatement.

While listening to Cymatics, I started to explore the rest of his site, and found out why Nigel’s music and style seemed familiar to me!

TimeScapes by Tom Lowe

TimeScapes was released at the end of 2011 and was an instant hit because of it’s stunning cinematography, slow motion capture, and music!

If you have not seen it, check out the Official Website and watch the clip!

If you have any interest in nature or science, and like great music, both CYMATICS: Science Vs. Music and TimeScapes are well worth your time!

If you happen to be a science teacher, the “Behind the Scenes” video for CYMATICS: Science Vs. Music are very well done, and are simple overviews of some classic science experiments, and should easily invite good conversations in the classroom.

Needless to say I can’t wait to show my kids when they get home!

- Andrew
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Additional Links

Additional Links

Cool Moth!

Madison and I Were on the deck checking out the garden, and as I passed our dessicated cactus, I noticed something interesting, and said “Cool!”

“What?” said Madison, as she moved to my side, looking where I was staring. Then she jumped behind me once she realized what she was looking at!

After a brief moment, she moved forward and said “That’s cool!”

Male Lettered Sphinx Moth (Deidamia inscriptum)? 01
Male Lettered Sphinx Moth (Deidamia inscriptum)? 01
Male Lettered Sphinx Moth (Deidamia inscriptum)? 02
Male Lettered Sphinx Moth (Deidamia inscriptum)? 02
Male Lettered Sphinx Moth (Deidamia inscriptum)? 03
Male Lettered Sphinx Moth (Deidamia inscriptum)? 03
Male Lettered Sphinx Moth (Deidamia inscriptum)? 04
Male Lettered Sphinx Moth (Deidamia inscriptum)? 04

The two of us spent a few more seconds looking at the moth before I went and got my camera.

If you have any idea what type of moth this is, please let me know!

It has been suggested that this is a pug moth, but with a quick look, one can see that there are hundreds of pug moths.

Many thanks in advance,

- Andrew
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Update

140516 15:36 – After joining BugGuide,net, I posted one of the pictures above, and within 15 mins, I was able to identify this critter as a Male Lettered Sphinx Moth (Deidamia inscriptum).

What do you think?

Super Moon 2013

I started posting on FacebookFlickrGoogle+ and Twitter a while ago, so everyone knew it was coming…

Last year, in early May, there was a dense cloud cover over the whole area, but the small group of us, still managed to have some fun with night-time photography.

Back in April, we gathered for the Lyrid meteor shower, but did not see anything with the naked eye, but did manage to do a few light drawings!

Early in the week, the weather reports suggested that once again the Chester County area was going to have clouds, and as Sunday approached, watching the reports, I was skeptical.

By Sunday afternoon, I started to see posts from folks wondering when and where to meet, and it was agreed to meet at the usual location, the Boat Launch side of Marsh Creek.

All afternoon, I was looking at the sky, and by 7:45pm, I left the house.

While I drove along Creek Rd (282) heading north, I could peek through the trees, and began to think that our atmospheric luck was beginning to change.

As I turned right on N Reeds Rd, and looked over my shoulder into the horse field, I was greeted with this –

Hilltop Sunset - Super Moon 2013
Hilltop Sunset – Super Moon 2013

I continued down the park road, and turned into the front parking lot,nearest to the lake, and was looking for tripods.

Passing the first group, I did not see anyone that I knew, and continuing on until I thought I recognized a truck, and then I saw a friendly wave.

After parking, I got out of the car, walking over to Dan and Brian, shaking their hands in greetings.

Canoes at Sunset - Super Moon 2013
Canoes at Sunset – Super Moon 2013

We chit chatted as I unpacked and setup.

It did look like a good night!

Not perfect, but it will do, and for the next two hours, I had some fun with the event!

I knew I could not stay out late, and said my ‘goodbyes’, and headed home.

While driving back along Creek Rd, the brightness of the full moon pierced the leaves of the trees, making me think of a quick picture to end the night.

Eventually, I found myself in the small parking lot across the street from the new Minquas Fire Company Station House.

I was about 5 minutes late, but what are you going to do…

Minquas Fire Company HQ - Super Moon 2013
Minquas Fire Company HQ – Super Moon 2013

From here, I headed home…

- Andrew
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Update

Facebook Profile picture for Minquas Fire Company!