Does anyone remember the weeping willow in Disney's Pocahontas? This is where my love for willow trees began. My first day on campus at Umass I noticed a beautiful, and large willow tree not too far from my dorm in Southwest. Willows have an abundance of bark sap, and contain extremely thick and big roots that will sprout from just about any part of the tree. The leaves are elongated and usually have sharp edges, the leaves never have a terminal bud it is always lateral. The willows can have a wide range of variability in their leaf colors from greens to bluish and also yellow. Willow trees are also home to many different larvae species. Many different life forms depend on these trees to help sustain their living functions. It is not just a tree that we like to look at, but it is a necessary part of our ecological community.
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Yesterday I had a busy day, with a lot of driving around to do. I had to get a workout in before I had to drive to work. After working I then proceeded to drive back to school. My cousin's parents are out of town so I had to pick him up from my house. Then had to drive him to his football practice. Finally I was able to go home. It seems that I spend a lot of my days driving around from place to place. Thank God we have the gift of cars.
When I am not driving the rest of my days usually consist of schoolwork. Whether I am in school or studying, reading, and doing assignments. Yesterday afternoon from 11am-12pm I looked over my notes before class. Then I had class from 3-4 where I took notes while my professor rambled on, and I tried not to fall asleep. Once I got home I finally was able to do the bulk of my reading of the textbooks and assignments from 7pm-9pm, before I could mentally turn off my brain for the night.
Another big part of my day is eating. Without eating I think I would be a very cranky, and irritable person. I started my day off with a post workout protein shake at 7 while I was at work, to wake me up a bit. Then at 12:15 I bought a Quest bar since I was starving and needed a pick me up. Finally at 4pm I needed a snack and ate a massive apple. Then I had a chunk of free time to make and dinner at 6pm.
I am starting to plan my couse of action for the methods project. The first step is to choose the location and organism that I wish to make a multi-panel presentation about. Here at Umass Amherst we are lucky to be surrounded by a lot of nature and natural beauty. There are so many organisms to choose from. As of right now I am planning on studying and observing the beautiful and big willow tree on University Dr. Across from the big parking lot. I could easily lay on the grass next to it all day, just watching. Willows are my favorite trees and I also think that someone else would enjoy following my methods and observing this organism too.
I sit here in my biology writing class, looking at an insect that I cannot even identify. This insect does not seem to have any clue or idea where it is or knows what goes on around it. It just moves it's little front legs, keeping its back legs still but it continues to stay stagnant in the same place. This insect could be scared, which is why it does not move, or it could be lazy and just could not care less that I am staring down at it. I measured this insect to be about 2 cm long, but it is hard to get an accurate calculation because most the time it's tail is bent inward, so I cannot measure it's outstretched length. This insect looks to have a very soft and mushy body that is a pale cream and is separated into very small segments, I counted 17 but it never stays still long enough to be sure.
Looking more closely at the insect I notice that its hard is a dark shiny brown and seems to be composed of something harder and rigid than it's long mushy body. It also has many tiny hairs sticking out of it's body, it then seems to use these hairs to sense objects or challenges around it. When I lifted the container up above my head I was able to look closely at the bottom of it's legs. The bottom of it's legs are black, while the rest of the legs are the same pale yellow. I then infered that these black feet might be sticky. I notice this insect trying to stick it's feet to the side of the container to escape. As I look even closer I can see tiny white dots on the brown of it's head as well as a faint white line starting at the end of the head extending all the way down the middle of it's body, towards the tail. When I moved my container and forced the insect in the middle of the container it seemed to be off balance because its body kept rolling from side to side. My insect can also bend itself so much so that it's own head can touch it's tail.