Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bone Picking

Last month, I took my family to Pescadero to go to the beach... to collect whale bones.  Thanks to our friend Brian's sage advice we were prepared with boots, gloves and lots of Vicks for under our noses (to help lessen the stench). The humpback whale had been on the beach for about 4 weeks when we went down to gather up the first collection of bones. Another crew went down last weekend after the whale had washed out for a week or so and actually washed back up closer to the trail to the parking lot. As for our crew, neither of my kids will forget this particular, rather peculiar, trip to the beach this summer.

The first time I met Dan Sudran was when he brought the bones of a baby blue whale to my daughter's school for her & her classmates to re-assemble. The experience turned into whale week... and eventually, turned into the John Muir Science Workshop. I was excited to be able to help collect another set of whale bones, knowing it will be seen by so many curious kiddos, and not knowing what might come of it.
Below is a link to an article in the SF Chronicle about Dan and crew collecting bones of the Pescadero Humpback. My son, daughter, husband & I can all attest to the smell.

This past May, a Humpback whale carcass was found washed up near Pescadero, CA. Dan Sudran of the Mission Science Workshop organized permits and digs with the Greenfield and Watsonville Science Workshops to unearth the bones and add them to our traveling and workshop collections. The young humpback was about 25 feet long, and (sadly) was killed by a group of Orcas—but will soon have a new life traveling to schools around California! The process was broken into 2 separate days to get all the bones. *Note that special permission is required (and was granted to the Mission Science Workshop) in California to harvest from washed-up marine mammals.
Greenfield CSW video documenting the 1st dig:

Summer Science with EOBA

This summer I had the privilege of heading over to the East Oakland Boxing Association each Thursday to explore magnets and electromagnets with the awesome EOBA youth. Grades ranged from K through 9th grade and each group explored a slightly different side of magnets. The younger kids made guesses of what was magnetic & what wasn't, figured out the pushes and pulls of magnets with magnetic trains, & held magnet races. As groups got older, we explored or discussed magnetic fields, the Earth's magnetosphere, & electromagnetism. Some kids made electromagnets, some made compasses, some invented magnet toys and all made 'anti-gravity' paperclips - which by the way was fascinating to watch how it mesmerized kids from kindergarten up to 9th grade and even the teen & young adult group leaders. Tie a paper clip to a string, tape the other end of the string to a table, and pull the paper clip up with a magnet, or two, or more; then try to pull up the paper clip without touching the magnet to the paper clip. It'll keep you curious for a while.