Creekside at Home Volume 1, Issue 4

This week the Creekside newsletter is all about the four field studies. Enjoy some beautiful pictures of different plants, challenge yourself with a word search, get a better understanding about wolves, and learn some fun facts about fungus, bacteria and invertibrates. The staff has shared some of their favorite moments on field study. What was your favorite moment on field study?

A Conversation About Wolves

By River "Fossil" Cox and Garrett "PoeTayToe" Abbott

An Ancestral Bond

Wolves are incredible animals, and when we study their behaviors and adaptations, we can learn a lot about ourselves. They are the closest living species to domesticated dogs. The domestication of dogs happened during the most recent ice age, at least 20,000 years ago. The process came through the natural interactions between humans and wolves. The wolves benefited from living near humans because they could feed off of their scraps, but if a wolf was aggressive with humans, it likely would not be allowed near their settlements, and very possibly would be killed. So the friendly wolves passed on their genes and over many generations became extremely close to their new allies. They were already adapted to live in packs which allowed them to fit into our social structure.

Relationship with Food

Wolves’ population is codependent with their prey. This means that as deer or other prey’s population increases or decreases so do the wolves’. Similarly, if wolves’ population grows too high, their prey decreases due to overhunting. On the other hand, if wolves’ population decreases their prey can increase with less competition. This codependency results in their populations to reach an equilibrium that ebbs and flows generation to generation. This same type of relationship exists throughout all of nature including: deer with plants, plants with nutrients, and even garter snakes with nutes. Humans however, bypass this equilibrium with agriculture. As our population increases, we place more effort into agriculture which causes our food’s population to grow in tandem.

Intelligence through Teamwork

Humans and wolves both attribute an incredible amount of their success to the strategy of selective altruism. This essentially means that they develop trust with individuals over time and are generous with them. Communities that practice selective altruism are able to outcompete those that are bound only to themselves. This is true on the scale of individual macroorganisms (living things you can see with the naked eye) forming communities, but it is also true for microorganisms. Infact, we are a community of microorganisms. Our organs are formed from tissues made up of trillions of cells. Each of the cells that make up your body is an individual who has been programmed to work for the greater whole. The accumulation of all of those individuals is what creates you. Many of the cells in your body are not even genetically yours, like healthy gut bacteria. When we shift our focus, we can begin to look at how the accumulation of the people in a town creates a larger organism that lives in a different way than we normally consider. The same can be said about a natural ecosystem, where the plants, animals, fungi, and unseen microorganisms create the larger organism of the forest, the lake, or wherever else you might find life.

FBI Facts

By Ryan "Root" Shetler

Fun Facts About Fungi:

● The fungi kingdom is more similar to the animal kingdom than the plant kingdom! That means we humans have more in common with a mushroom than a tree!

● It is estimated that there are at least 1.5 million different species of fungi.

● Fungus can be used to dye wool and clothing!

● The mushrooms we see popping out of the ground are actually the fruit of a fungi. The main body of fungus lives underground or insdie rottting organisms, and is called the Mycelium (My-seal-ee-um). It's a very thin, fragile, white, wispy structure.

Bits of Bacteria Knowledge:

● Bacteria is the oldest living organism! Bacteria have been on the planet for more than 3.5 billion years. Making them the oldest known life-forms on earth

● You eat bacteria all the time--it’s in yogurt, cheese, kimchi…

● Your body has more bacterial cells than human cells! Bacteria in your body helps with digestion, and defend your body from harmful bacteria. Of all the bacteria in the world, less than 1 percent will make you sick.

● Bacteria have been found in places previously thought uninhabitable by scientists, geothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean!

Interesting Invertebrate Facts:

● Worms can become paralyzed if exposed to the sun for too long!

● There are likely millions of invertebrates living in your house right now. They are called dust mites and you can't see them.

● Centipedes are carnivores which eat insects and worms. They have a poisonous bite to help them kill their prey.

● Millipedes are herbivoures who eat plants and rotting material.

Word Catch

By Durant "Marmot" Abernethy

Wonderful World of Plants

By Justine "Morning Glory" Jennings


Created with images by Michelle Gordon - "Faerie Flats" • CDC - "This illustration depicted a three-dimensional (3D), computer-generated image, of a group of Gram-positive, Corynebacterium diphtheriae, bacteria. The artistic recreation was based upon scanning electron microscopic (SEM) imagery." • Jakob Owens - "Multiple Butterflies"