Hi! I arrived at Cal from Mrs. Costello’s 5th grade class at Havens Elementary School, and my Science@Cal adventure took me to the Dawson Lab at UC Berkeley. The Dawson Lab studies plants, especially plants that have wood such as redwood trees and oak trees. The first day of my visit I did some fieldwork with Michal Shuldman. She is one of the graduate student in the Dawson Lab and she studies the plant Heteromeles arbutifolia (also called toyon). Below you can see me helping pack up all of our field gear for the day. I even learned how to use the GPS!
We headed off to Blue Oak Ranch Reserve, one of thirty-six reserves run by the University of California (http://www.blueoakranchreserve.org/BORR/Welcome.html). A research reserve is a place where scientists can study nature. Some of the reserves even let kids come to visit for the day, or overnight. Here is picture of me at Blue Oak Ranch Reserve.
I found some cool stuff while Michal and I were searching the reserve for toyon. Here is an interesting mushroom I found on the ground near the barn.
I also found a caterpillar on a beautiful flower.
The reason we were visiting Blue Oak Ranch is that Michal needed to collect some fruits from the toyon plant. She is looking at toyon plants that grow all over California. She even has some fruits from Baja California, which is in Mexico. Here is a picture of me helping her pick the fruits. The fruits are a really bright red color. Birds like to eat the fruits when they are ripe.
At the end of the day we had collected a lot of fruits, enough to fill a whole cooler.
Michal plants the fruits and grows them in the greenhouse. When we got back from doing fieldwork I helped her measure her plants.
It sure was a fun day!