Label: Observation

November 1, 2012

Good morning. It’s Thursday, so it’s time for SeeMore Explorers.

A couple of weeks ago, Seymour Simon and I took a walk up to Bash Bish Falls, the highest waterfall in Massachusetts. As we were walking along the creek, heading up the trail to see the waterfall, we came upon this interesting looking thing growing on the side of a tree. I took photographs from both above and below.








It looks like a fungus, or maybe a mushroom. I decided to use the SeeMore Explorers Observation Log to try to find out what it is. 

I typed the words "orange brown tree fungus spongy bottom" into Google. The first website that came up in the search was a "Mushroom and Fungus Identifier" on a website called Healthy Home Gardening. This seemed promising. I opened on the website, and started clicking through lists of photos, looking for images that resembled what I had seen.

I soon found several things that looked quite a bit like what I was looking for, and I noticed that all of them had the word "shelf" in their name. I could tell that what I was seeing was either a Shelf Mushroom or a Shelf Fungus.

Back to Google, where I typed in "shelf mushroom" and did a Google image search this time. Sure enough, I found several credible, scientific websites with photographs of shelf mushrooms that looked very much like what I had found.

What interesting things have you seen outdoors lately? You can download your own copy of SeeMore’s observation log here. Fill it out and share it with your friends, your classmates, your teacher or your family. Let people know what interesting things you are seeing, and what a good nature detective you are!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: SeeMore Explorers, nature, Plants, Observation   •  Permalink (link to this article)

July 16, 2012

Here is a great Summer Vacation Science moment from reader Jennifer J:



Two Oklahoma children enjoying their beloved grasshopper, Hopsters. Dad fetched it from the pool and they thought he saved the insect from drowning. Summer is best with jars and bugs.




I was curious about what kind of grasshopper this is. Jennifer also sent this close-up photograph, so I decided to fill out my Summer Vacation Science Observation Log, to see if I could identify the grasshopper. Here is what I wrote on the log:





It was very difficult to identify this insect strictly by doing an image search on the Internet. Too many choices came up, none really looked like this grasshopper, and I realized that it would take too long to do it this way - there are 11,000 known grasshopper species worldwide. 

One thing I find helpful to do when I am stuck like this is to ask myself: "What else do I know?" I decided that the important thing I know is that this grasshopper is found in OKLAHOMA. Surely, that should narrow things down.

I did another Internet search, this time searching for the words "Oklahoma grasshopper." One of the first things that came up on the list was titled: Grasshoppers  of Goodwell and Texhoma,  OK on a website run by a researcher named Kurt Schaefer at Oklahoma Panhandle State University. It lists each local grasshopper species with a link that lets you see a photograph. I clicked on the link next to each grasshopper name until I found one that looks like "Hopsters."

Based on what I found on this website, I have concluded that these children found a WRINKLED GRASSHOPPER.

Isn’t it fun to try to figure out what you are seeing? It is like being a Nature Detective!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Summer Vacation Science, Insects, Exploration, Observation   •  Permalink (link to this article)