Friday, November 26, 2010
Grasslands, by Eric and Livia
At the beginning of the trip Dr. Pike told us a story about the sign that was put up near the pond. He said that a few years back, when the sign was not there, bodies of ducklings were scattered around the pond. Now that the sign is up, the ducks have time to learn to fly and can go south for the winter. This is because the sign tells dog owners to keep their dogs away from the pond so that the animals don’t get disturbed. This is beneficial to the hill and its animals but many things we’ve done have caused many organisms to suffer.
One of the major things that I thought that affected Nose Hill was going up there and finding things for our project. We tore up a lot of grass for biomass. The dimensions we were to tear up were 50cm by 50cm, if we had 7 groups in grasslands, and 7 groups in forest that would mean we tore up 14x2500cm2 (35000). If there were 8 classes doing this project, and they had the same number of groups, that would mean that we tore up 280,000cm2 of grass. Not only did we rip up a lot of grass from the biomes, but we trampled over a lot of it while we were going back and forth from our transects to our supplies. Many of us did a good job to stay on the path when walking up the hill to get to the grasslands from the pond, but we didn’t have a direct path to our exact transects, which meant that we couldn’t see under the grass as we walked up and we might’ve stepped over a lot of insects or even trampled over their homes. We also found candy wrappers that were littered across the grasslands of Nose Hill and took it along with us as evidence and to clean up the hill. As we were conducting our tests, such as gathering soil, we had to stick a soil probe to gather our soil sample, when we stuck it in there, we ripped up a lot of roots from the plants around the transect. Even though a few roots weren’t much for a bush, we still affected it’s growing.
Not only does going up the hill affect it, but the city and pollution is also changing the health of the hill. Luckily, we don’t have a lot of industrial work that would pollute the city greatly, but we do have a lot of motor vehicles that can play a large part. If the sky was always foggy, and the air didn’t feel clean, there would be a big problem with pollution. Factories release nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide into the air, which causes acid rain. If the acid rain fell onto Nose Hill, the soil would be acidic. We did soil pH tests and discovered that the soil’s pH level is 4, which is slightly acidic and the same level as acid rain, which means that the city around Nose Hill has affected the soil.
At the end of the day, Nose hill was still just the same as ever since it’s only been a small number of people deteriorating the park and as for the classes, the grass and plant life will grow back. Unless the park starts becoming a landfill for its visitors and more classes use its plants and wildlife to collect data, it will keep its natural beauty and wilderness.