KABT Spring Field Trip: Bats, Birds, Botany, Burgers…and maybe a porcupine

When I saw the dates for the annual KABT Spring Field trip (June 7-9, 2013), I was bummed that my family wouldn’t be able to go.  It was another schedule conflict that happens too often with kids and activities and life.  Since my class reunion only comes around once every decade, I decided that it should take precedence over an annual field trip.  But then…

Last weekend the KABT Executive Board met to plan the year.  I started listening to Stan Roth, longtime KABT member and Naturalist, describe what the field trip will entail.  We will be going to the Red Hills of SW Kansas.  If you aren’t familiar with the area, it is a beautiful and unexpected region of Kansas.  There are hills made of Gypsum layered with red sediment.  Because of the geology, the plant-life and animal habitat is slightly different than elsewhere in the state.

We will be primitive camping (there are outhouses for our enjoyment) near Evansville, KS in Comanche County.  Those that get there in time Friday evening can go to Sun City for burgers at Busters Saloon.  Saturday morning will have the KABT group caravan to various caves in the area to look for bats. We’ll talk about the natural history of the area and check out the local flora and fauna with a picnic lunch somewhere in between.  Dinner will be at twilight while we wait for the evening bat flight.  After dark, we’ll go road cruising for herps (snakes and lizards) as they come to warm themselves on the asphalt at night.  Sunday morning will be a driving tour east through the Red Hills and along the Scenic Drive before we all head home.

How can I pass up bats, birds, botany and burgers with the good folks of KABT?  Forget the class reunion (there will be another one in 10 years), I’m going to the field trip!  The camaraderie, sharing ideas and brainstorming when we get together is inspiring.

If you haven’t joined KABT or if you’ve never been on a field trip with us, come check it out!  Bring your family, bring your students, bring yourself.  We are a welcoming group that would love to have you!

If you still aren’t convinced, check out Eric Kessler’s video that demonstrates you never know what we might stumble upon on these trips!  …”On a winter bat survey trip in the caves of south central Kansas (February 2007), Stan Roth notices a pair of porcupines grazing next to the road. This video captures what happened next.  No harm was done to the porcupine, although upon reaching under the captured one’s body to hold it for display it was able to bite Stan on the hand.”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAl_E0miFWk&list=UUg6qJFft3vWtardzpKLkPBA&index=62  Thank you for sharing this, Eric.

Look for more field trip details about exactly where to meet, etc. as it gets closer.  But, in the meanwhile, I look forward to seeing you around the campfire!

OBTA Director

KABT is in need of a new director to coordinate the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award program. If you are looking to get more involved in KABT activity, this would be a great start. If you are already a veteran, we can use your experience. Please contact Harry McDonald, biologycctrack@hotmail.com.

Johnson County Science Cafe

Mostly Miscellaneous Matters of the Moment

Speakers: All of us
Date: January 15, 2013

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coaches Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

In December Harry McDonald mentioned he might not be able to organize something for this month. Well, he hasn’t, but the room is reserved and he is back in town. Let’s gather as usual and just discuss anything of interest to anyone. We normally have individuals from a variety of backgrounds, so we should not lack for topics or someone to comment no matter what the question. Harry will come armed with things he finds interesting, but promises not to dominate the discussion when others want to share/question. We always say the science cafe is meant to be a discussion. This format will allow it to be just that. So wether you have ideas to share, questions to ask, or you just want to listen, see you Tuesday.

The Next Generation Science Standards public draft is now open for comments and Harry will introduce that website for sure.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

2013 KABT Board Meeting Jan. 19th

KABT board members will gather on Jan. 19th for the 2013 annual board meeting at Kanopolis Lake (Camp Williamson). Board members please check your email for details and reply asap. This is an important meeting to evaluate past performance, plan upcoming events, and establish goals for your organization, so please make plans to attend!