Biology Studies at Sugar Bowl

Sarah Orders, Asst. EIC

8 biology students, along with teachers Rene Gillibert and Roxanna Jackman, took a trip to Clair Tappan Lodge to conduct experiments and do other research. The group left May 17 and returned after school on May 20.

The lodge is located near Sugarbowl in Lake Tahoe and provided a good location for the experiments that students performed. According to Gillibert, students did all the experiments and teachers were not really involved.

According to freshman Mary Noal, who attended the trip, it was educational, but also provided quality time to spend with the people there. “We learned about ecology and got to actually see what we have been learning about in the classroom in nature,” Noal said.

Students used the stream and meadow downhill from the lodge in their research, according to Gillibert. “They observed aquatic insects, caught toads and measured them, among many other activities,” said Gillibert. The students also profiled a streambed, meaning they measured the stream in cross sections and measured down to different points.

Freshman Maddy Weinberg was one of the 8 students that attended the trip. “It was a really fun experience and we learned a lot,” said Weinberg.

According to Weinberg, the goal was to learn about different careers dealing with biology and to explore new areas. “We tried to leave our comfort zones like when we caught toads – it was gross at first, but still interesting,” she added.

The group also went rock climbing, learned about Chinese railroad workers and hiked near Donner Summit. “On the Donner hike we got to see some Native American petroglyphs which was interesting,” said Gillibert.

On the last day the students went to the forest to learn more about trees. “Students learned how to measure the mass of identified trees based on carbon dioxide intake,” Gillibert said.

According to Gillibert, the trip was open to all biology students, but because it was a weekend trip only some chose to go. “It was a dry run – to see if this is something we want to continue and do next year,” added Gillibert. Noal said she would recommend this trip to next year’s biology students.