Finishing Strong #128: Wildlife Biology

Welcome to Finishing Strong ~ a weekly link-up dedicated to families homeschooling middle & high school kids. Each Wednesday, moms just like you share their best tips, encouragement, advice, and more for teaching older kids at home.

I am delighted that families homeschooling middle and high school age students are coming together and finding inspiration in one another. That’s has been the goal of Finishing Strong since its inception. Thank you!!

Finishing Strong is hosted by me here at EvaVarga along with my friends – Heather from Blog She Wrote, Megan and Susan from Education Possible, and Heidi from Starts at Eight.

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Wildlife Biology

Wildlife Biologists are scientists that observe and study the behaviors of animals. To do so, they use a variety of observational tools including binoculars, spotting scopes, wildlife blinds, and night vision goggles. Youth interested in learning more about animals and the study of wildlife can learn a great deal from the comfort of their home via a webcam.

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In the post, Wildlife Biology for Middle School: Develop Skills with Animal Cams, I have compiled a list of some of my favorite animal cams from around the world. I have also put together a few printables to help students develop a more in-depth wildlife biology study.

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Finishing Strong

We hope you’ll take some time to check out the amazing posts that have been shared with us. We are so thankful to all of our readers and contributors who help make Finishing Strong a key resource for everyone homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

Below are some of the posts I enjoyed from last week, as well as the one that received the most clicks (in the #1 spot). Did I choose one of your favorites?

How to Know What Your Teen Needs to Get into College

from Annie & Everything ~ A great reminder that how you choose to homeschool high school is entirely up to you. “Once you understand that requirements vary by college, then you begin to realize that there is no one right way to do high school at home.  You discover how flexible a high school curriculum can be — and then the task becomes a whole lot easier.”

Why Year Round Homeschooling Works

from Bright Ideas Press ~ Year round homeschooling has been the best choice for us. We tried to take a summer off a year ago, however we continue to struggle to reestablish routines and motivation now that we have resumed.

Fun with Geography ~ Free Printables

from Starts at Eight ~ Geography has always been one of our favorite subjects. You’ll love the free geography printables bundle that Heidi has put together.

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As always, thank you for helping us to make Finishing Strong a key resource for families who are homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

What are you going to share with us this week?

Guidelines:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 4 sites. If you were featured, we would love for you to use the “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

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Roosevelt Elk at Dean’s Creek: A Nature Study

The Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area and the O.H. Hinsdale Interpretive Center are popular tourist stops along Hwy. 38 near Reedsport. Here, visitors are able to observe up-close views of Roosevelt Elk, with the herd sometimes reaching as many as 120 elk. This area of mountains, meadows, and marshes also are home to beaver, coyote, muskrat, mallards, Canada geese, and great blue heron.

Roosevelt Elk: A Nature Study @EvaVarga.netThe Roosevelt Elk are native to the area and are considered Oregon’s largest land animal. Inhabiting forests and meadows from northern California to British Columbia, they are the largest of six sub-species of elk. They generally live between 10 to 15 years, but some may live more than 20 years.

In this short video by Chris Cru, you can observe the Roosevelt Elk peacefully grazing as well as a coyote running in the background.


The antlers of a Roosevelt elk can reach spreads of nearly 3 feet and are thicker than the antlers of the Rocky Mountain elk. Older, stronger bulls have larger antlers, with 6 or more points per side, while yearling bulls have single spikes.

A mature bull elk can weigh an imposing 700 to 1200 pounds, standing 5 feet tall at the shoulder. Cows weigh about 500 to 700 pounds, while a calf weighs just 23 to 45 pounds at birth.

Their brown-gray winter coat will turn to a glossy, reddish-bay color in the summer. A tawny rump patch is outlined in black and they boast a thicker mane. At birth, calves are spotted and more tawny in color. As mature elk age, their coats will lighten in color.

Roosevelt Elk: A Nature Study @EvaVarga.net

Using a range finder to calculate our distance apart

Nature predators include mountain lion and black bear which primarily feed on new calves and sick animals. When approached or threatened, both cows and bulls will use their sharp front hooves for protection. Cows will bark an alarm that sounds like a high-pitched neigh while calves will bleat when danger approaches.

In late summer, bulls shed their velvet by rubbing antlers against tree limbs and bushes until the new antlers are hardened and shiny. This helps the males win over the female when the mating season begins in autumn.

Roosevelt Elk: A Nature Study @EvaVarga.netThe elk bulls bugle during the fall season. This is a great time to see the males in action. The bull elk’s deep, resonating bugle can be heard across the meadow as the males call to attract a female, move in to spar with a competitor, and take control of the harem.

To signal their status and fitness, the bulls will wallow in mud and spray themselves with urine. They will also tangle plants in their antlers to appear more imposing and better emphasize their size and power.

Roosevelt Elk: A Nature Study @EvaVarga.netWhen the rut season is over, the females will force the males out of the heard once again. He will generally join up with a small group of other males though occasionally he’ll remain solitary. They then focus on grazing to gain nourishment fro the oncoming winter months.

The bulls drop their antlers in the later winter which become an important source of calcium for smaller forest mammals including coyotes, squirrels, and mice.

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We’ve always enjoyed taking part in the monthly challenges at Handbook of Nature Study. This month our selected challenge was to Sketch Outdoors.

Badges, Bears, and Eagles: An evening with Steven Callan

We had the opportunity to meet the acclaimed author of Badges, Bears, and Eagles: The True-Life Adventures of a California Fish and Game Warden recently. Over his 30 year career as a wildlife protection officer, Steven Callan conducted some of the most fascinating and highly successful wildlife investigations in the state of California.  As Cultural Director for the local Sons of Norway lodge, I invited him as a special guest to talk about his experiences.

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badges bears and eaglesHe shared photographs and anecdotes of the many undercover cases he was a part of during his career.  He is most proud of his efforts to save Lake Matthews from development,  a large reservoir in Riverside County, California, located in the Cajalco Valley in the foothills of the Temescal Mountains.  Lake Mathews is surrounded by approximately 4,000 acres of protected land that was declared a state ecological reserve in 1982.

After his talk, he visited with the lodge members and signed copies of his book.  He and his wife, Kathy, were warm and eager to talk with us.  We would have loved to spend more time with them.

callanHis book is available on Amazon and I highly recommend it. I found Badges, Bears, and Eagles to be an intriguing memoir. Callan,  followed the footsteps of his father Wallace J. Callan, a respected Game Warden for the State of California, into a distinguished career as a compassionate, yet tough law enforcement officer. He writes of his adventures in the wild, but far more, his book is filled with drama and suspense.

This book will make a wonderful supplementary text for a high school science course (Biology, Wildlife Science, or Environmental Science). I look forward to discussing it with my children in a few years.

To the delight of the his audience, during his presentation at the lodge, we learned that his grandfather was a Norwegian immigrant. To learn more about Steve Callan’s work and to stay informed of his speaking engagements and his highly anticipated upcoming sequel to Badges, Bears, and Eagles, check out his website or follow him on Facebook.