Saturday, April 19, 2008

Science Fair!

Okay, so first off I have to admit that I was really excited about coming up with a project and participating in the science fair.

Ian and I (well, mostly me really) got our idea from reading through a Usborne book about Ecology. I found this sidebar: lichen pollution test lichen chart The sidebar talked about the presence of lichen and how it indicated the air quality in a given area. I got to thinking about it and wondered how much lichen we had at our house in the Raleigh area compared to my in-laws' house in Murphy (in the NC mountains). It also happened to be an extremely convenient project since I spent the last 10 days at their house!

First, I took pictures of lichen in Murphy: lichen m lichen m2 lichen m3 I noted that I really didn't find much lichen on live trees. The really leafy colorful lichen that indicates good air quality was exclusively on dead tree material. In fact, most of the pictures that I took were from the fence posts in the horse corral. We breathed easy in Murphy knowing that we had clean air.

When we got back home we surveyed the trees in our backyard. lichen r lichen r2 The only tree that had any lichen on it was alive. It was a silver maple that is probably 50 years old. I checked some dead limbs from the yard but they had no lichen. This leads me think that we have fairly polluted air here in Raleigh. We had a bit of the leafy stuff but almost no lichen at all on the newer trees and bushes. Yikes!

It was fun to take a small blurb in a book and really run with it and think about how it applies to our everyday life. Thanks for the great idea, Iain and Evie!!


whimsigal said...

Wow! This is very, very cool! I have always been fascinated by lichen, which is kind of weird maybe, but I really enjoyed reading this!!

Hope you had a good trip!

MamaK said...

Oh Geez! Now you are going to have me on a lichen hunt!I better get on that. Great project!-K

Rinnyboo said...

Thanks, Mamak. Now I am on the lookout for lichen all the time! :)

Rinnyboo said...

Thanks for the comment, Evie. I just noticed that a little dogwood in my yard that is pretty much dead is covered in lichen. I guess it just does better on dead wood...

Hey, if liking lichen is weird, than I am weird too!

Miranda said...

You got yourself a Ron Paul Revolution book, Marin! Thanks for speaking up and wanting the book. I was worried no one would ever claim it! Send me your address at miranda @ demarests .org (without the spaces, of course) and I will get it in the mail to you ASAP. And when you are done with it, maybe you could pass it on to others who are potential patriots?