Creatures of GVSU: See what an outdoor class discovered in the ravines
Posted on October 18, 2019
A patch of sun deep in the ravines beckoned to a Grand Valley herpetology student on the lookout for the creatures that make that beautiful part of the Allendale Campus home.
The hunch: A snake might find that sunny spot appealing.
The payoff: Movement.
With that, Hannah Clarida, whose major is natural resources management, hurried downhill carrying the Eastern garter snake that had indeed chosen a spot on a slope with a slice of sunlight.
Jennifer Moore, assistant professor of biology, immediately observed that this particular snake wasn't releasing musk as the reptiles normally do when caught.
After a few moments of surveying the snake, it was time to venture further downhill along the muddy path, strewn with fallen trees, to discover more critters.
"It's like a little treasure hunt," Moore said.
Venturing outdoors in this way allows students to see the diversity of amphibians and reptiles with whom they share the campus, allowing them to build an appreciation for these animals, Moore said. They also learn important skills such as surveying techniques.
"It's more meaningful if they can see the real animal in their habitat," said Moore, who added that one of the strengths of Grand Valley is this outdoor classroom experience next to the Grand River.
On this day, as the time period for outdoor labs was waning because of cooler weather, a variety of creatures awaited discovery by the students — including some surprises.
Browse the photos above for more on these creatures of Grand Valley.