Tag Archives | Little World


Where Have All The Monarchs Gone? – Melissa Mercier

Monarch butterflies are amazing insects; they can change from caterpillar to beautiful winged creatures! What you may not know is they perform a second and equally amazing feat… Monarch butterflies perform a four generation long trek that can total anywhere from 1,200 to 3,000 miles! 1 2 The monarch is the only known butterfly to […]


Diggin Deep into the world of the Thatch-Mound Ant – Kyle W. Gray

What is that mound thing? When sauntering about in the San Bernardino National Forest you may notice large mounds or domes made of grass, leaves, pine needles, and numerous other plant materials. What exactly are these strange structures? Believe it not, these somewhat odd structures were built by ants and serves as their comfy home! […]


Benefits of Bacteria – Samantha Burlager

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, what are the most diverse, adaptable, and resilient organisms of all? If I had a magic mirror that could answer this question, I’m sure it would reply, without hesitation, “bacteria!”  Bacteria are amazing organisms that perform a number of important functions that make all other life on Earth possible. Though […]


Constantly Learning and Lichen It! – Mari Schramm

Almost 150 years ago, a Swiss botanist proposed something crazy: he said that the simple living thing called “lichen” was actually 2 different kinds of living things working together.  Simon Schwendener proposed that a lichen was a fungus (usually an ascomycete) and a photosynthesizer (an algae or a cyanobacteria) that engaged in something called a […]


Waterflies – Stephen Perry

In our Little World class here at High Trails we discuss three types of decomposers: Bacteria, Fungi, and Invertebrates/Scavengers. We do in fact find all sorts of interesting critters, both growing and crawling around the San Bernardino National Forest. However, our mountains are dry, arid, and have few year round water sources. This means there […]

Yes, that's Chehala as a kid having some fungi.

Myco-what? Harnessing Fungi – Chehala Andriananjason

Fungi finally get their 15 minutes of fame here at High Trails as we teach our class Little World. This is just fine with me, as fungi were hugely important to my family’s world when I was growing up; they were food, fun, and a connection to the outdoors. As a kid coming to age […]

A big, beautiful, and now brown-needled ponderosa pine.

The Rise of the Pine Beetle – Benjamin Feinson

Every week, one or more of my students will discover intricate mazes and pathways chewed through dead pine branches on the forest floor. I use this discovery to teach my students how just one seemingly small factor can tip the scale and generate massive change. These tiny lines on logs are evidence of a great […]


Why Bees Are Disappearing – Jaimie Spetseris

Really Cool Thing about the Spring Season: new plants pop up left and right, and beautiful flowers are in bloom.   Safety Consideration of the Spring Season: it’s the time of year when we must warn our students to be careful when examining plants, such as the manzanita bush, because their flowers are bee magnets. […]


Two-eyed, One-beaked, Flying, Rotten Carcass Eaters! Laura Hughes

In Little World, our class about decomposers, we discuss the four main types of decomposers. But the scavengers are the ones that often hook the students. Large, charismatic, and easy to visualize, students are always eager to share what they know. Week after week, I am amazed at how little students actually know about one […]


Nature’s Secret Power – Caroline Blake

What organism can support 100 times its own weight, stand upside-down on glass, is found on every continent except for Antarctica and is the most efficient predator on earth? Why it is none other than the world’s smallest gardener, the ant. These social insects are virtually helpless by themselves, but in a colony they can […]


Little World Wonders – Nasser Rihan

Did you know that there is an organism on this planet, which covers 3.4 square miles, and has been growing for over 2,000 years! It spreads mostly underground, growing unchecked in the Malheur National Forest in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon. Scientists did not fully understand its greatness until they began to investigate why […]

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