TROWT Web Portal

Check back here weekly for pictures and updates!

Week 1:

Last week at TROWT we enjoyed getting to meet everyone face to face for the first time! We enjoyed some challenging matchstick puzzles to start, set the stage for citizen science projects we will participate in later during the summer by collecting Monarch Butterfly eggs and planting sunflowers, and had a behind the scenes tour from Emily of the Great Lakes Aquarium. Most of the eggs we collected have already hatched over the weekend. Julianna and Emily are excited to prepare a habitat for them so we can care for them as they grow. We are so excited to spend more time learning about the science that is happening in our community!

Week 2:

This week at TROWT we looked at some of the smallest creatures in our backyard. We started the day by tossing around a ball filled with fun questions such as “What color is your toothbrush?” to “What is on your bucket list?”. From there, we explored through a dramatic and fully costumed play about how creatures in Lake Superior migrate every day through the Lake Superior Water Column. We rounded out the night with some awesome images of zooplankton and phytoplankton under the microscope! 

Week 3:

TROWT campers traveled to Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center this week to explore the vernal pools! Vernal pools are seasonal pools of water that provide habitat for many plants and animals. Despite swarms of mosquitoes, we enjoyed taking a closer look at some of the species that rely on vernal pools at Boulder Lake for their survival.  

Week 4:

This week TROWT campers spent the evening with a naturalist at Jay Cooke State Park looking for herps (reptiles and amphibians). We didn’t have much luck finding herps, but it was a beautiful evening to be out exploring. We did enjoy a puddle full of tadpoles and another puddle full of crayfish, and gorgeous views of the St. Louis River.

Week 5:

TROWT campers spent an evening at the Lake Superior Zoo this week learning all about Species Survival Plans. Species Survival Plans help develop a breeding plan to manage a genetically diverse, demographically varied, and biologically sound population for threatened and endangered species. Species Survival Plans also help guide where zoo animals move to and from in order to provide the best opportunities for species survival. Several of our campers hope to be zoo keepers in their future, so this field trip was a lot of fun for our group. We were lucky to be able to explore many of the exhibits after hours and have close encounters with many animals currently managed under Species Survival Plans.

Week 6:

At TROWT this week we were able to release 18 of the monarch butterflies we collected our first week together! Prior to release, campers took part in some citizen science! After collecting scale samples off the monarchs’ abdomens and examining the samples under a microscope, we were relieved to confirm that the monarch population around the aquarium does not show signs of Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE), a parasite that infects monarchs. We did, however, confirm the presence of tachinid flies. Tachinid flies lay their eggs on caterpillars. Eventually, the larvae eat the monarchs from the inside out just before they pupate. It was a beautiful, sunny evening with hardly any wind; a perfect night to release the monarchs into the wild!

Week 7:

This week TROWT campers met with Dr. Ron Moen from UMD to hear about his research on Minnesota bat populations. The campers also helped deploy long-term echolocation monitors. These monitors will be in the field for two weeks and will record bats as they fly through the area. Despite a quick rain shower it was a beautiful evening with a rainbow to boot!

Week 8:

This week TROWT campers were eager to get on some waders and seine for fish! With the help of GLA husbandry staff, campers got some close looks at many Small Mouth Bass, White Sucker fish, a water scorpion and a dragonfly nymph. To wrap up the season we watched a slide show with pictures from the summer and tie dyed t-shirts.  Thanks for the great summer TROWT campers!