Teaching Experiences 

Colby College

Colby College: Vertebrate Natural History Fall 2006 

Vertebrate Natural History at Colby College involves more handling and up-close observation of animals in the Maine woods. We are using labs as opportunities to trap animals from fish, owls, and small mammals in an attempt to explore census techniques and familiarize students with their animal neighbors. Topics covered in this course are evolution, phylogeny, vertebrate taxa exploration, conservation, life history traits, and antipredator tactics. Labs have taken us to the L.C. Bates Natural History Museum, banding saw whet owls in Freeport, trapping salamanders in the arboretum, small mammal trapping and pit-tagging on campus, electrofishing in a local river, salmon spawning counts in a nearby watershed, glow dusting and tracking small nocturnal mammals, and study skin preparations. 

Stump sitting: discovering our senses lab in the Colby arboretum Fall 2006.




 L.C. Bates Museum trails, Hinckley, ME.




 Salamander lab in the Colby arboretum.





 Cadran, Alex, Lindsay sampling at their salamander plot.






Genni coaxing her salamander for measurement.

Mist netting saw whet owls with Steve Walker in Freeport, ME.




Judy Walker in her Freeport, ME home banding a saw whet owl with our class.

 Genni and Lindsay admire the saw whet owl Judy is handling.

 (photo to the left courtesy of Fred Field Colby College photographer)



Judy is aging the owl using UV light on feathers.

(photo above courtesy of Fred Field Colby College photographer)



Study skin preps  (taxidermy 101 ) on shrews and voles.


 Jamie and Vicki with their shrews.





Alex, Rob, Ola, and Katie working hard on their specimens.


Everyone is so excited to glow dust small mammals! We are looking at burrow and microhabitat characteristics.  Genni shines her headlamp at Alex, while Cheryl waits to pit tag our next capture.

 (photo to the left courtesy of Fred Field Colby College photographer)




Alex is glow dusting a Peromyscus.

(photo to the right courtesy of Fred Field Colby College photographer)






Lindsay tracks the released Peromyscus with a UV light, while Kelsey and Hugh look on.

 (photo to the left courtesy of Fred Field Colby College photographer)

Rob, Lindsay, and Rose electrofishing with Paul Christman and John in Martin stream, Fairfield, ME 




Look ma, we caught an American eel...most eels in Maine are females!!




 Alex & Hugh catching the stunned fish





 Getting our feet wet!




Assorted nuts fitted with small metal tacks.


Metal detecting nuts on Colby campus...how far did those squirrels and rodents disperse them?



 Larder of germinated red oak acorns!!





Our visit to Dave Cote's taxidermy, Oakland, ME. Vicki smiles with the Arctic fox.



Colby VNH class BIO312 posing with a bison skull.




 Alex is learning how deer mounts are made in Dave's shop.





Claire and Rose observe a model deer tongue, while Rob handles a model deer ear.


Problems in Environmental Science

Fall 2006

(Long Pond North Watershed) 

This course is more of an assessment team analysis of Long Pond  in the Belgrade Lakes region of Maine. Students work in groups to explore water quality, shoreline zoning, land use trends and history, septic system quality, road quality and problems, etc. The Environmental Studies students in this class are working to create a phosphorus loading model to predict P output from the watershed into the lake under current land use trends. This model can then be used by land managers in the area and the state to predict the long-term lake quality into the future under different land use change scenarios.

Nikki Wong headed out to the deep hole on Long Pond to take water quality metrics.



 Downtown Belgrade, ME. Fall 2006.




Long Pond, North Basin from the lookout at Blueberry Hill.



 Castle Island Road bisecting north and south basins of Long Pond.



 The "assessment team" on a dock overlooking Long Pond. Fall 2006.



 Colby Environmental Assessment Team (CEAT) 2006 hard at work compiling their revisions.

Revision, revision, revision...we are fast approaching our public presentation (Dec. 7th, 2006 Center for All Seasons Belgrade, ME 6:30PM



Belgrade Lake center as seen from Blueberry Hill conservation area, late October 2006.

Practicing the night before our talk...cake might help. See you all at the Center For All Seasons at Belgrade Lakes, Belgrade ME Thursday night December 7th, 2006 for CEAT's presentation on the quality of Long Pond North Basin. 

Dylan Harrison-Atlas & Ryan Scott "feeling the podium space" before the presentation.



A poster depicting erosion potential and impact of erosion models created by Katie Renwick.




 Lots of interest at the posters during intermission. Road quality & problems, land use and phosphorus off each land-use type, erosion models, dissolved oxygen in the lake, as well as buffer strip quality in the watershed were all     presented as posters. 


Colby Environmental Assessment Team (CEAT) (pictured from left to right): K.T. Weber, Katie Renwick, Kelly Bakulski, Ryan Scott, Dylan Harrison-Atlas, Andrew Adelfio, Nikki Wong, and Alex McPherson  following their presentation to the Belgrade Lakes community on December 7, 2006.

Ryan Scott standing proudly next to his water chemistry poster at the Maine Water Conference, Augusta March 21, 2007


Katie Renwick & Dylan Harrison-Atlas pose with their gold medal prize winning land-use poster of the Long Pond North watershed.

Colby College: Ecology of New England Spring 2007

This non-majors science course is designed to give the students a look into the cultural impacts of Native Americans and European settlers in New England. We will diving into topics such as disease, fisheries, agriculture, local flora and fauna, silviculture practices, geology and paleoecology, hunting, and classical New England natural historians. Fridays are super exciting because that's when the students take control of discussion and present our primary scientific literature to their classmates. Our labs will take us to the Maine State Museum in Augusta, as well as the archives and library for our class research assignment on the Ecology and History of the Kennebec River. In addition, students and I will be touring the Governor Hill fish hatchery, meeting with local foresters and sugar maple farmers, taking tours of a cranberry bog in Turner, ME and throwing an atalatl and digging through shell midden remnants at the L.C. Bates Museum. Our class will culminate with a trip to Dave Cote's taxidermy shop for a lesson on hunting and trapping as well as the role of taxidermy and sporting in Maine (it was such a big hit in VNH we had to visit w/ them again!)

Bio198 at the Governor Hill Fish Hatchery in Augusta learning about the process of hatching/rearing/stocking of trout and splake in Maine waters.


 Kelsie is pretty excited about the splake swimming circles in the tank!

Tom McLaughlin  (ME Inland Fisheries and Wildlife) shows the class one of the hatchery's larger trout specimens.


Look at all of them!

Kristen Renfroe (Ren) is sooooo excited about her catch at the hatchery!

Tom, Alicia, and Lucy with her brook trout!

Biology 198 at Chez Lonndorf sugar shack and woodlot!

Rob Doton proudly capping his sap bucket.

Sean L'Italien braving the cold for some sap!

Tom Winter sporting his Carhartt overalls with his new found love of maples in Maine!

Pat Collins smiles at his tapped tree...Iver and John taught the class well and their laughter kept us warm in the negative temps & freezing windchill!

Tuesday lab happy to be at the Ricker Hill Cranberry bog in Turner, ME despite the snow covering the berries!

Ian London meeting one of the added attractions to help with business at the farm.


Tom Winter petting the donkey...one of the many surprises we learned about at the 100yr old family run orchard.

Wednesday lab group posing in front of the ice covered bog.


Palynology lab, finally getting a chance to observe fossil pollen, seeds, and beetle bits under the scope.



Madison, Emily, and Scott hard at work deciphering and sketching their pollen samples.



Bac working on the microscope looking at fossil gastropod shells.



Madison Gouzie throwing an atalatl at L.C. Bates Museum, Hinckley, ME.



Tom Winter making fire as the paleo-indians of Maine may have in the past!



Felicia Teach donning her parasol and Sunday's best for the Ecology of New England course.



Bob Ferriter admiring a skull at the natural history museum.




Andy Cohen with his raccoon cap at the L.C. Bates Museum.




Sean L'Italien proudly boasts of the birthday card he made on the printing press circa 1820!


Tuesday's lab observing the glacial striations left behind on the slate on the museum's front lawn.



Colby College: Advanced and Applied Ecology 2007 

This team-taught upper-level science course is intended to give students interested in the field of Ecology a bit more theoretical foundation as well as applied hands-on lab experience. We will be covering topics ranging from environmental adaptations of plants, competition, predation, life history, dispersal, population regulation, community structure and dynamics, island biogeography, and reserve design. Labs will include GIS analysis, remote sensing, STELLA population modelling, plant competition (wheat and clover), life tables, foraging strategies, vegetation analyis, culminating with a rocky intertidal field experience. In class, students will be presenting topics (e.g., predator management, rewilding, restoration, and global change) for a lively debate as well as leading discussions on topics such as urban ecology, fire ecology, fisheries, and biological control.

Biology 352 hard at work cleaning soil from the roots of their clover and wheat plants.

Emily Jenkins and Michael Ambrogi hard at work teasing apart below-ground biomass for competition experiment.

Nitrogen-fixing bacteria...maybe that will help gain the competitive edge!

Andrew Adelfio and Kiira Heymann acquiring cemetery demography data for their cohort.

Elizabeth Rose and Michael Ambrogi working hard at deciphering age at death in order to construct their survivorship curves of former Waterville residents.