Science hike provides education on environment

Weber Pathways and the College of Science teamed up to take students and community members on a “science hike” on Saturday at Beus Trail to teach them about their environment.

The hike, led by students Tim Remkes and Josh Poulson, was meant to teach the community about botany and geology. This is the last of many science hikes that took place over the summer, and more hikes will take place during the fall. The hike consisted of more people than previous hikes due to media coverage, equaling about 20 hikers.

Remkes, president of the Botany Club, talked to hikers about what they can and cannot eat. He showed how simple plants that aren’t well known could be poisonous to people who come in contact with them or eat them, especially poison ivy.

“It’s good for students to know what that looks like,” Remkes said.

Remkes said an alarming amount of people who go on hikes don’t know about poison ivy. To help the hikers know what to look for, Remkes explained that poison ivy has three distinct leaves on the end of the stem, and the compound that irritates the skin is oil produced from the epidermis gland. Any part of the plant can affect anyone who comes in contact with it.

The cottonwood trees on the trail have edible inner bark with high nutrient content.

“If you’re really hungry, this is a very efficient way to fill your belly,” Remkes said.

Any of the poplar trees also have edible inner bark, so people lost in the wilderness would still have something to eat.

One important thing Remkes pointed out was to watch out for mushrooms. There are edible mushrooms, as well as fatally poisonous ones. Mushrooms look very similar to each other, making it difficult to distinguish between the edible and the poisonous.

“The ones that are not edible . . . 100 percent of the time, they will kill you,” Remkes said.

Poulson, a geology student, explained the geology and geomorphology in the region. Lake Bonneville and the Wasatch Fault were two of the main topics discussed during the hike.

“Many people don’t realize the consequences that could come from a large earthquake,” said Poulson in reference to the Wasatch Fault.

The Wasatch Fault goes from Levan, Utah, all the way up into Idaho. Poulson said the mountains will absorb the earthquake better, while the shock waves on the west side could do a lot of damage to homes.

Poulson showed hikers where landslides occurred in the area before Lake Bonneville was present. A few small landslides occurred in the last year because of the moisture in the ground.

Poulson said the hike was an opportunity for people to come out with others, learn about the local geology of the land, and become more aware of the geologic hazards of the area.

One hiker named Pat, last name not given, a resident of Mountain Green, said she was glad she went on the hike. Pat learned about the hike through the Sierra hiking page and a recommendation from someone who had done one before.

“I’m pretty open-minded; I just wanted information about the formation of the land and the native plants here, and I’m getting that,” she said.

A full schedule of hikes is available at www.weberpathways.org.

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Posted by on September 22, 2012. Filed under Health, Science, Science & Tech. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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