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There's a Howling Good Time When Girl Scouts Meet USGS Biologists

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Perhaps it was the "call of the wild," the recordings of coyote vocalizations playing in the background, that lured visitors to the USGS booth. More than 15,000 Girl Scouts from northern California and Nevada gathered with their families at the Girl Scouts' Tierra del Oro 90th Anniversary Celebration on a sunny Saturday afternoon at the Arco Arena in Sacramento, April 6. Many of them stopped to learn firsthand how USGS biologists conduct fieldwork. There to talk about research at the USGS Western Ecological Research Center were Erin Boydston, Jennifer Shulzitski, Glenn Wylie, and Jeff Lovich.

Jennifer Shulzitski with albino common kingsnake Erin Boydston with albino common kingsnake
Jennifer Shulzitski (above left) and Erin Boydston (above right) give Girl Scouts a closeup view of an albino common kingsnake (Lampropeltis getulus). The kingsnakes at the USGS booth represented three kingsnake species and are among 33 species of snakes native to California. (Only six California snake species are venomous, all rattlesnakes.) Many of the Girl Scouts who visited the booth took away digital-photo mementos of their snake encounters, made by Jeff Lovich. Photographs by Glenn Wylie.

Erin and Jennifer discussed field research on birds and mammals in the San Francisco Bay region and explained how scientists can find a wealth of information about an animal's DNA, hormones, diet, and even where the animal has been just by analyzing its scats. Glenn described how giant garter snakes—a threatened species endemic to California's Central Valley wetlands—are individually marked so that scientists can radio-track them to learn more about each snake's activities and habitat use. Jeff talked about worldwide turtle declines and USGS studies on the western pond turtle and desert tortoise and California's native snakes. The scientists demonstrated the use of biologists' tools of the trade, such as radio-tracking equipment and global-positioning-system units that they use to learn more about wildlife activities and habitat. Before leaving, visitors could test their skills at identifying whalebones and antlers.

Related Web Sites
Western Ecological Research Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Girl Scouts of the USA
not-for-profit organization

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Contaminants Sampling Cruise - San Francisco

Ground-Truthing Coral Reef Maps

Research Shorebird Migration

CO2 in Saline Aquifers

Outreach Early Earth Day in Florida

Honduras Coral Reef Documentary Online

Girl Scouts

University Job Fair

Sea-Level Rise Lecture

Meetings Massachusetts Sea-level Rise Briefing

New Directions Workshop

Staff & Center News Floating Support Facility

Howell New Patuxent Director

WHFC Runners

Water-Column Optics Talks

Special Emphasis Program

New Employees

Mendenhall Fellow Presents Talk

Publications May Publications List

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