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Maryland Elementary Students Study Beetles and More in Dyke Marsh

Student The youngsters closely examined the "patent leather" beetle.

Rising third graders from St. Philip the Apostle Catholic School, Camp Springs, Maryland, were intrigued by the black “patent leather” beetle or horned passalus (Odontotaenius disjunctus),  during their June 1, 2017, visit.  NPS Ranger Mireya Pasa urged the youngsters to touch the beetle and pointed out the insect’s distinctive mandibles. 

Black "patent leather" beetleBlack "patent leather" beetleThe students also delighted in ospreys on their nest at the Belle Haven Marina (“What do they eat?”), a watersnake that swam to the shoreline (“Will it hurt you?”), a great blue heron that flew over, worms, spiders, cattails and more.  Ranger Miguel Roberson urged the youngsters to be physically active “like the Wizards basketball team” and he explained that George Washington rode his horse from Mount Vernon to Great Falls, a trip that took the former U.S. president one day.  Stomping in the mud puddles along the Haul Road was tempting, but a no-no, said the teachers.

Photos contributed by Glenda Booth

Miguel RobersonRanger Miguel Roberson encouraged students to be active outdoors.

Mireya PasaRanger Mireya Pasa said that cattails with hotdog-like flowers are wetland plants.

StudentsRanger Pasa and FODMer Ned Stone gave the students FODM’s “Look for These” flyer as a guide.