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  • Tulip Garden Update: February 14, 1997

    Macalister College
    Tulip Garden Update: February 14, 1997

    In the 14 days since our last report, tulips have pushed through the soil in another 28 gardens! As of today, new tulips have been reported from a total of 31 gardens. We've posted a list below which summarizes the dates and places where this exciting event has occurred. Remember, you can meet these gardeners any time by reading their field reports. Hit the link in the upper left called "Tulip Field Data". This is your pathway to the database, where sightings go after they are reported.

    Once again, we thank Macalister College for providing this map. After looking carefully today's data, see if you can answer this question:

    Challenge Question # 2:
    What patterns does the map of today's data show? How do you explain the findings?"

    To answer this Challenge Question please follow the instructions at the end of this report. Be sure to describe what you see in words, and explain why you think tulips are growing where they are. For extra credit, compare today's tulip map with these maps of snow cover and temperature

    Whose tulips will be the first to bloom?
    Last year, our front runners were from Hoover School in Palo Alto, California. Here's the latest news from their garden:

    "Dear Fellow Tulip Watchers,
    On February 11th our tallest tulip was 13.5 cm. We can barely see one of the buds. Many leaves have been nibbled by snails or slugs; we hope our buds will not be eaten! The temperature at 10:30 A.M. is 60 degrees F. Cheers, Lucinda Surber"
    surber@hoover.palo-alto.ca.us

    Don't Forget
    You will report 3 events from your garden this school year:

    • The date your tulips were PLANTED
    • The date your tulips EMERGE
    • The date your tulips are BLOOMING*
      *Our definition of "blooming":
      The first time the flower opens such that the pistils and stamens can be seen.

    How to REPORT:
    On the left-hand side of this page you'll see a blue owl button. Simply press the button and a FIELD DATA FORM will appear. If you have any trouble using this system, send a message to our feedback form We'd be happy to help you!

    First Soil-Breaker Activity
    In celebration of the many plants breaking through the soil, let's move on from the Ice-Breaker activities and try this! For the next exchange with your partner garden take the Bio-Regional Quiz. Select a date to conduct the activity, record the information at your site, and then exchange quizzes with your partner school.

    Bio-Regional Quiz

    • Today's photoperiod. (Give exact sunrise & sunset times.)
    • Today's temperatures (high/low/average).
    • Average temperatures for this day (high/low).
    • Length of our growing season. (Defined as # days between the last spring frost and the first fall frost.)
    • Our USDA "Plant Hardiness Zone" (To find your zone, see the map on any seed packet or garden book.)
    • Our watershed (Begin with the big picture. Identify into which major body of water your region ultimately drains: Gulf of Mexico, Pacific Ocean, Altantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean, or Hudson Bay. Later, name the river that empties into the ocean, and so on, tracing back to the river in your own, local watershed.)
    • The name of the species of fish most commonly caught in our local waters.
    • Our total annual precipitation.
    • The number of inches of rain/year.
    • The number of inches of snow/year.
    • The dates of the following Journey North spring events:
      • ice-out
      • leaf-out
      • 1st robin (or sightings of winter robins)
    • Our own ideas…….

    How Does Your Garden Grow?
    Can you find a dozen ways to describe the changes you see in your plants this spring? How might you measure and quantify these changes? The list below will help you get started.

    Make your own Garden Growth Chart and keep track of changes such as these:

    • First tulip emerges
    • First 10 tulips have emerged
    • First leaves measure 5 mm
    • First leaves measure 10 mm
    • First leaves measure 15 mm
    • Flower stem measures 5 mm
    • Flower stem measures 10 mm
    • Flower stem measures 15 mm
    • First sign of red on bud
    • First flower blooms*
    • Ten flowers have bloomed
    • All petals fall off first flower
    • All petals fall off 10 flowers

    Students Respond to Challenge Question #1
    "How cold do you think the soil in our garden was when the air temperature measured -2 F?"

    We were impressed by the good estimates students made when responding to this challenging Challenge Question. Here's they are:

    Estimated Temperatures (School)
    33 degrees (Pemetic School, Maine)
    19-32 degrees (Lakeview School, Ontario)
    25-30 degrees (Lock Haven Junior High School, Pennsylvania)
    25-30 degrees (Steven Y-F & Class)
    2-17 degrees (Mrs.Johnson`s Class, Nevada)

    How cold was it really? We won't hold you in suspense any longer! Click the image and read the thermometer. As you will see, the actual temperature was……. 27 degrees. (By the way, the thermometer on the left is measuring air temperature at the surface of the soil. It read a cool 6 degrees.)

    According to Ms. Howley's students in Southwest Harbor, Maine, "The snow provides a thick layer of insulation. Even though snow is cold it can still provide warmth." In our garden, the deep snow is acts as a blanket. It keeps the ground much warmer than the air. Brrrrr…..you may say, a blanket of SNOW? Most people think blankets are always warm, but even the blankets on your bed aren't really warm.

    Challenge Question # 3:
    "Describe the process that makes blankets warm. What is the science underlying blankets anyway?"

    To answer this Challenge Question please follow the instructions at the end of this report.

    As discussed in our last update, temperatures can vary significantly in a single place. In our garden, there was a difference of almost 30 degrees within a distance of just 21 inches. Teacher Laura Kindig asked an excellent question about measuring garden temperatures for the microclimate activity : "Are there any specifications about how or where to hang your Max/Min Thermometer?" Ms. Kindig, Museum Magnet School (lkindig@mms.stpaul.k12.mn.us)

    Since our goal is to measure the heat your tulips are receiving, your thermometer should be:

    • As close to your tulips as possible.
      (Ideally, before the tulips emerge you should measure the soil temperatures.)
    • Out of direct sunlight.
      (Thermometers do not read properly if the sun shines directly on them.)

    Journey North Field Data

    Tulips EMERGED

    Date of Sighting     Location 
    
    02/12/97              Kirkland, WA
    02/11/97              Charleston, AK
    02/10/97              Henderson, NV
    02/07/97              Gainesville, GA
    02/06/97              Poplar Branch, NC
    02/06/97              Poplar Branch, NC
    02/06/97	      Washington, D.C.
    02/05/97              Somerville, AL
    02/05/97              Muskogee, OK
    02/05/97              Sylva, NC
    02/05/97              Whitwell, TN
    02/05/97              Eatonton, GA
    02/04/97              Smithfield, NC
    02/04/97              Bellingham, WA
    02/04/97              Milwaukie, OR
    02/04/97              Orlando, FL
    02/03/97              Cardiff, CA
    02/03/97              Asheville, NC
    02/03/97              Palo Alto, CA
    02/03/97              Baton Rouge, LA
    01/31/97              Poplar Branch, NC
    01/30/97              San Jose, CA
    01/27/97              Phoenix, AZ
    01/27/97              Baton Rouge, LA
    01/27/97              North Wildwood, NJ
    01/26/97              Laytonville, CA
    01/26/97              Rancho Cordova, CA
    01/19/97              Houston, TX
    01/07/97              Lacey, WA
    01/06/97              Mill Valley, CA
    01/06/97	      Placerville, CA
    

    How to Respond to Today's Challenge Questions:
    Please do not answer both questions in one message!

    How to Respond to Journey North Tulip Challenge Question # 2

    1. Address an e-mail message to: jn-challenge-tulip@learner.org
    2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question #2
    3. In the body of the message, give your answer to this question:

    Challenge Question # 2:
    What patterns does the map of today's data show? How do you explain the findings?"

    Be sure to describe what you see in words, and explain why you think tulips are growing where they are.

    How to Respond to Journey North Tulip Challenge Question # 3

    1. Address an e-mail message to: jn-challenge-tulip@learner.org
    2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question #3
    3. In the body of the message, give your answer to this question:

    Challenge Question # 3:
    "Describe the process that makes blankets warm. What is the science underlying blankets anyway?"

    The Next Tulip Garden Update Will be Posted on February 28, 1997.