Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Luke Likes Lichen

I learned about lichen at Mountain School. Christina taught me all about different kinds of lichen. My favorite is the Old Man's Beard because it really looks like an old man's beard. I also learned about Puff Lichen, Pixie's Goblet, British Soldiers, and the Reindeer lichen. There are many other kinds of lichen. Lichen is not a plant, it is a mix of algae and fungus. The fungus provides the home and the algae provides the food. We learned a poem about lichen, "Freddy Fungus and Alice Algae took a lichen to each other. Now their relationship is on the rocks and trees!" It was really fun learning about lichen. I hope to find other kinds of lichen when I go camping with my family.
By Luke

Games and Songs at Mountain School

We got to play games at Mountain school and my favorite was the Jump Salmon game. To play you hold one hand and then move one finger from the other hand over your finger and thumb while you say, "Salmon, salmon, salmon, salmon, jump, salmon, jump, salmon, salmon, salmon, salmon." You have to watch really closely because this game teaches you to pay attention! We sang lots of songs too. They were really fun, we sang them on the playground when we got back. The one we sing the most is Ola, Ola, A! It goes like this, Ola ola A! Ola ola A! Roll it Roll it to the beat now, I don't know but it's been said, I don't know but it's been said, 5th graders get funky! Then all the 5th graders act funky! It was really fun playing games and singing songs at Mt. School.

By Erika


Steve and the Kinnikinick Group did this experiment on biodiversity. This experiment is where we took these squares of piping that we put on the ground to see how many different types of plants there were in the square in no canopy, 50-50 canopy, and full canopy. The experiment turned out that 50-50 was the best because it had rain, sun, it never got too wet, and it never got too dry. I predicted that no canopy would have the most diversity of plants but it was the 50-50 canopy! This was the most fun experiment we did.

By Jacob

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The White Deer

At Mt. school you get to go on trails that you can see animals on. One animal in particular is the deer. You get to see lots of deer on the trails. One cool deer is the white deer, she is kind of young. One question that I have is how many white deer are in the North Cascades? The deer loved to hang around the boys lodge because the workers just planted some new plants and the deer like to eat the buds off the new plants!

By Luke

Friday, May 26, 2006

Bald Eagles

Bald eagles leave the nest at about 12 weeks of age. The distinctive white head and tail fathers do not appear until bald eagles are about 4 to 5 years old. Their beak and eyes turn yellow during the fourth and fifth year and dark brown prior to that time.

Bald eagles live near large bodies of open water such as,lakes, marshes, seacoasts and rivers where there are plenty of fish to eat and tall trees for nesting and roosting. Bald eagles use a specific territory for nesting, winter-feeding or a year-round residence. Bald eagles feed primarily on fish, but also eat small animals (ducks, coots, muskrats, turtles, rabbits, snakes) and occasionally carrion (dead animals).

Bald Eagles are monogamous and mate for life. A bald eagle will only select another mate if its faithful companion should die. They build large nests, called eyras, at the top of sturdy tall trees.

The bald eagle’s length is 32 inches and the wingspan is 80 inches. The males weight is 3.5 to 4 kg (8-9 lb.), females 4.5 to 6 kg (10-14 lb.). The life span is up to 30 years in the wild, longer in captivity.

By Elizabeth

Monday, May 22, 2006

American Dipper, Beavers, and Grizzly bears

Did you know that beavers and American Dippers have a lot in common? American Dippers are birds that dive under water just like beavers do. Beavers have one thing different from the American Dipper though, it is that beavers don’t fly and the dipper does. Dippers wax their feathers just like beavers do to their fur. Did you know that the North American beavers are 3 to 4 feet long, including the tail, and weigh from 40 to 95 pounds They are the largest rodents (gnawing animals) in the world except for the capybara of South America. Unlike other kinds of mammals, beavers keep growing throughout their lives. Most beavers look larger than they really are because of their humped backs and thick fur. Thousands of years ago, some beavers of North America were about 7 ½ feet long, including the tail-almost as long as the grizzly bear. No body knows why these huge beavers disappeared. Grizzly Bears eat mostly fish, berries, grasses, leaves, insects, roots, and land animals. During the summer and fall, a grizzly can eat up to 90 pounds of food per day.

Diablo Lake

We are reseachering Diablo Lake and Diablo Dam and we don't know exactly when the dam was created but we do know it was a long time before we were born, probably abut 5 million years ago. The dam was there a long time too, the dam had been there for about 101 years. Also did you know Diablo lake is 150 feet deep and 15 feet wide? While researching this lake I concluded that it is okay to swim in Diablo Lake but it is bone-chilling cold due to glacier runoff. I like that we can learn a lot from studying and researching, it is so much fun.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Mountain School Sponsors

Room 9 and 11 would like to thank the following groups and businesses for their contributions to the Mountain School Scholarship fund:

Alameda Outdoor Education Fund
Alderwood PTA
Alderwood Staff
Brown and Cole
Educational Systemics
Friends of Alderwood
Northwest Radiology
PA Townsend and Associates
Queen Anne Outreach Fund
Rasmussen Marine Electric
US Bank

We welcome Mary LeDonne and Michael Jay from Educational Systemics as members of our Blog!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Grizzly Bears

Grizzly bears are powerful and strong animals. If you didn’t know that then I will tell you how powerful and strong they are.

Grizzly bears are 3-4 feet at the shoulder and 8 feet tall. Grizzlies weigh 400-1500 ponds. Grizzly bears also can run to a top speed of 35 mph.

Grizzly bears current status is 30-50 Grizzlies in the North Cascades. Grizzly bears are endangered in the United States.

The grizzly bear has few predators. One of the main predators is bounty hunter. Another predator is a miner. The last predator is a trapper. Bounty hunters, trappers, and miners have killed most of the grizzly bears by the 1800’s.

Grizzly Bears eat many things. The most common is salmon but it eats other things too. It eats vegetables, shoots, berries, roots, insects, leaves, carrion, and mammals of all sizes.

Grizzly bears live in different places. One of the places is caves. Another one is dens. Last one is if they can’t find caves or dens they dig holes in the ground.

Now you know why Grizzly bears are powerful animals.

By Michael

Canadian Lynx

I have been researching about the Canada Lynx and I am going to tell you what I learned.

The Canada Lynx eats hares, rodents and birds and sometimes deer, but mostly it eats Showshoe Hares. The lynx is in the cat family. The Canada Lynx lives in the North Cascades.
The adult lynxes weigh 20 to 45 pounds and their fur is grayish to yellowish.

By Nathan


Adult coyotes vary in color from light yellow or yellowish-gray to brownish-yellow. Their fur might have black in it. The coyote has large, pointed ears and a bushy tail. Female coyotes first mate when they are about 2 years old. They have a pregnancy period of 60 to 63 days. In spring, the female usually gives birth to 5 or 6 babies.

Coyotes eat rabbits and rodents, such as gophers, mice, prairie dogs, rats, and squirrels. Coyotes also eat antelope, goats, sheep and other animals. The coyote eats various insects and reptiles as well. During the winter, many of the coyotes in the North Cascades eat the remains of large dead animals like cattle deer and elk.

More about the pups, a newborn pup weighs from 7 to 10 ounces. It is born blind, but its eyes open within 2 weeks. The mother provides milk for her young until they are 6 or 7 weeks old. By that time, the pups have started to eat prey and other food supplied by their parents. Most coyote pups can care for themselves by late summer, when they leave their parents.

By Amanda

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Wolves are interesting endangered animals. In the U.S.A there are only 2,500 wolves. I think this is because all of the wolf traps.

There are several different wolves; the Grey wolf is the most common. Wolves are 26-34 inches at the shoulders, and 70-115 pounds. They are white black and shades of gray and tan. They are grizzled all over. Wolves are never spotted.

Wolves have a vicious eating habit. They eat anything from moose to beavers. They normally eat younger mammals. This could be bad because all the animals that wolves eat could become endangered or even extinct.

By Maddie

The Douglas Fir

Did you know that a Douglas Fir is not a true fir? It’s in a separate group in the pine family. Douglas Fir grow in the western United States and Canada. The Douglas Fir is most valuable tree for lumber and more valuable than any other tree in North America.

A Douglas Fir is a large tree that grows from 180 to 250 feet tall and 8 feet thick. It lives up to 800 years. The Douglas Fir is the state tree in Oregon.

By Harmanpreet


We were trying to figure out what to pick and ran across beavers. Our information provided us with knowing that 10 thousand years ago beavers were the size of black bears. Beavers are still the biggest rodents in North America. Beavers can hold their breath underwater for up to fifteen minutes. In the winter when the pond is frozen beavers take the air that is trapped in between the ice and water and use it to breathe. Many years ago beavers were hunted and trapped for their pelts, over the years beavers have made a comeback. Beavers provide homes for other animals that are located in their ecosystem by building dams that make ponds. Beavers allow small leaks in their dams so the water level doesn’t get to high or to low. Beavers eat inner bark, twigs, leaves, and roots. Adult beavers weight 40 to 95 pounds and can be 3 to 4 feet long.
By Jhoni and Justen

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Trails of the North Cascades

Did you know that there are about 386 miles of trails in the North Cascades, some that are very steep? Also that if a family goes to the Noth Cacades there can only be 12 people maximum in the family. The trails include 6 suspension bridges, totaling to about 5,274 feet-15,888 feet! Finally, did you know that the most up-to-date information on trails and climbing conditions is available at the wilderness information center in Marblemount or the Golden West Visitor Center in Stehekin? Why are trails important? Trails are important because if there were not trails people would destroy the animal's habitat or environment. Trails are also important because they help people not to get lost. Some of the trails names are Diablo Lake Trail, Deer Creek Trail, and the Sourdough Creek Trail. The trails that I just named are the trails that we most likely are traveling on.
By Nick

Weather and Glaciers

Did you know avalanches are common in winter and spring in the higher country and in places along the North Cascades Highway? The best weather for visiting the North Cascades is between mid June and late September. Did you know the east side of the Cascades Mountains is drier and warmer in summer than the west side? Today the northern Cascade Range is among the youngest mountain areas in the world. Also the North Cascades have pushed upward to majestic heights, exposing the roots of the ancient collision zone. At first I didn’t know that. I didn’t even know that glacial concentrations surround all major peaks.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Flowers at Mountain School

Did you know that there aren’t any poison flowers in the North Cascades? But there are over 1,625 plant species that have been seen. But they predict more! You can find flowers on wet hillside seeps and moist shady forest floors to dry east-side slopes and exposed alpine ridges. The picture we chose is a picture of a trillium flower. When you are walking down a trail in the North Cascades you might see the same flower over and over again in different places because of their wide spread distribution but we will not see some of these flowers anywhere else in the world besides the North Cascades. There are some flowers flowering in late February and early March in low elevation forests and as late as August and early September in the alpine zone. While most of our flowers are insects or wind pollonated, those flowers blooming during warmer days of April and May, such as salmonberry,Indian Plum,and red-flowering current will be visited by Humming birds returning to breed.If you ever go to the North Cascades you will know more about the flowers there.

By Amber and Anglica

P.S. The pinkish redish flower is called Salmonberry flower. If you read whats on top then you know that we will see different flowers.

P.S.S The white flower with five petals is called the Indian Plum. The white flower with three petals is called the Trilum. Tri is the latin root word for three!


I would like to tell you information about the North Cascades cougars. Now cougars are one of the animals in the North Cascades, but there is one problem about the cougars. Life in the wild is dangerous for a cougar. Did you know that a cougar could run up to 125 to 175 square miles, think about it? Sometimes in American folklore they say it is the ghost walker, ghost of the wilderness. In the North Cascade, a cougar sometimes comes with a mate and only for mating. When babies are born they are born blind and the little cougars stay inside a cave until they are older. When they are in the cave the mother helps the babies to learn how to hunt and stay alive in the wild. For your safety when you are in the north Cascade National Park and you see or approach a cougar you must follow these rules if you do not want a cougar to get too close to you. Here are the rules you need to follow: never approach a cougar or if you see one then pick up your kids if you are hiking with any and don’t ever run from one. Never go hiking alone and if you see a cougar then the best thing to do is pick up rocks and begin throwing them.
By: Jose L,

Bears in the North Cascades

Did you know that black bears are pretty common in the north cascades but grizzly bears are rare. The grizzly bear population is about 1,100. Did you know that you should always stay 50 yards away from any type of bear? If you have a fish you need to move the fish into a safe area. Also if a grizzly bear charges at you stay still because they might bluff it if they don’t, lay face first on the ground put your hands behind your neck and play died. Did you know that when you stomp your foot on the ground in front of a cat they always run away. Well don’t do that to a bear because he will attack you! Did you also know that an adult grizzly bear measures up to 6 through 8 feet tall? And weighs up to about 400 to 600 pounds. Bears eat a lot of food such as vegetables, roots, and salmon. They only live up to 20 to 25 years old. We probably won’t see any grizzly bears in the North Cascades because bears are more active at night then day. If a bear is on his hind legs he is only trying to sense you better, he is not going to attck you. Avoid any actions, don't interfere with any bear movement or any foraging activities.

By Sam and Edgar

The Pileated Woodpecker has a black body, with white stripes on its neck, and a red crest. It has black and white stripes on its face and bright yellow bristles on its nose that keeps wood chips out of its nose. This bird has a long sharp bill, yellow eyes, and a sticky tongue so that it gets insects to eat. They are as big as crows! Females have gray to yellowish foreheads and the males have red foreheads, this is how you can tell them apart. This bird lives in British Columbia, Canada, down south to California, and east to Nova Scotia. I hope we get to see one at Mountain School!
By Danielle

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Gray Wolf

Did you know The Gray Wolf has been seen roaming Ross Lake since 1984? The Wolves that live there look a lot like domestic dogs. But a wolf has much longer legs, bigger feet and a smaller chest than a domestic dogs tail may have a curl a wolfs tail does not. Wolf’s winter coat has a lot of wool that can be two and one-half inches thick, but each hair is about five inches long. A wolf from their shoulders is 26 to 34 inches. They weigh seventy pounds to one hundred fifteen pounds.

Wolves are very interesting creatures did you know that they can hear rodents moving under a heavy snow with other wolves howling from a long distance. They can smell their prey from more than a mile away. Did you know wolves can run on their toes? They do this because it makes it possible for them run faster and easier to turn quickly. Female wolves mate in the early spring. An average of six pups are born about 63 days later. The pups are born blind and helpless. Do you ever wonder if the wolves are decreasing or increasing? Well people do not really know how many wolves the are but there is very few. For thousands of years wolves and humans lived in harmony together. Did you know that the Gray wolf is not really gray it would be unusual to see a gray wolf. There are usually light tan or a cream mixed with brown, black or white. Wolves are afraid of humans wolves try to avoid us. Most places where wolves roam, people are not usually aware of them being there.

Wolves like to eat mostly mammals such as elk, moose, deer, beaver and marmots. Wolves often eat the weak, sick, injured and the really young and the old mammals. When they remove these animals it supports the vigor of the prey group of species population.

By Annie

Dams in the North Cascades

There are three dams on the Skagit River. Starting downriver and going toward Canada they are in this order: Gorge, Diablo, and Ross dam. These dams generate 25 percent of the electricity for Seattle. They are located within a 7 to 8 mile range on the Skagit River. The dams are so high that salmon can't ever make it up to the top. This makes it so where there are only trout in the lakes. Hydroelectric power was desperately needed in World War 1. In 1937 construction on a variable arch dam began there with federal funding.

By: Jacob
Check out this site:

Monday, May 08, 2006

Mountain School Learning Center

When we go to mountain school we get to stay in lodges. The girls are staying in the cedar lodge and the boys stay in the pine lodge. My mom is a chaperone so I get to stay in a room with her. There are eight rooms and two bathrooms in Cedar Lodge and a common room too. I can look in other people's rooms, but I can't go in them, that is one of the rules at Mt. School.
By Marisa
P.S. All of the photographs were taken by Benjamin Drummond, thank you Mr. Drummond!

Bobcat Group!

The bobcat group, that's us, chose our name with the help of our teacher Ms.Mueller. At first Danielle and I wanted flying squirrels as our names but the guys and part of the girls wanted wolverines so Ms.Mueller told us to eliminate both names and chose a few names and vote or pull them out of a hat. The names we chose were gray wolf, coyote, cougar, and bobcats. Bobcats won by most votes, and most times pulled out of a hat. That's how we chose bobcats. Bobcats are like 2 feet tall and weigh 20 pounds.They are sometimes light brown or reddish brown.They keep their sharp claws inside their toes.The bobcats scientific name is felis. Bobcats like to live in woods.

By Erika

Bobcat group is Erika, Danielle, Veronica, Jose E., Marisa, Jennifer, Esteban, and Justen!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Kinnikinick Group

My group chose the name Kinnikinick. The Kinnkinick is a flower and the Kinnikinick is useful for controlling erosion on river banks. I think it is fantastic that the kinninick was used as a diuretic for kidney diseases and urinary tract infections. Did you know in Russia and Sweden, they use the leaves for tanning leather? This is because of high tannin produced.
by Alyssa

Learning Groups at Mountain School

At mountain school we get to work in groups. We had to chose group names. There are three groups and each group has eight students. The group I am in chose the name Bleeding Hearts. When we started we each wanted different names. First thing we did was tell our favorite name on our paper but it did not have to be your number one choice. Then we put down our top three names. Then we voted on all the names and which ever name got the most votes was our name. The Bleeding Hearts got everyone's vote, eight out of eight people!