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Race to the Sun (Succession)

Page history last edited by jackb 11 years, 9 months ago

Race to the Sun

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Grass, Herbs, and Flowers

I am going to teach you about the first stage of succession. It is the grass and flower stage. The plants are also called pioneers. They are the first plants to grow.  I am going to tell you what animals live in this habitat.  These animals like this type of habitat the most.

I am going to explain why grasses and flowers come first. These plants grow fast and produce lots and lots of seeds. They die back in the winter and make rich soil for the shrubs next summer. They need full sunlight to do all their work.

I am going to teach you which animals like this habitat. The animals that live in this habitat are insects, small rodents, song birds, fly catchers, warblers, and sparrows.  They are a variety of wildlife species.  They are here because that’s where the things they eat are.

I have taught you about the stage of succession called grass and herbs.  I want you to remember that grass and herbs are the first plants to grow.  Flowers are also part of this stage.  Grass, herbs and flowers are called pioneers.  My partner is going to tell you about the next stage of succession.


Seedlings and Shrubs

In this paragraph I will be talking about the shrubs and the seedlings of the forest.  Oh I almost forgot!  This is the second part of succession.  I will tell you about what birds and animals like to live in this niche.

When seedlings and shrubs are young they love a lot of sunlight, which helps them grow.  They grow in open areas where the forest has been cut down or disturbed by fire or windthrow.  A windthrow is a strong wind that knocks down many trees.

Shrubs are low woody plants that have several small stems instead of one trunk.  Young elm, ash and juniper seedlings like to get their start in the shade of shrubs.  Those tree seedlings are kept moist and are protected by the shrubs.

Animals such as songbirds, rodents, game birds and rabbits depend on this stage of succession for food and protection.  The shrubs and seedlings provide nesting cover for birds and rabbits. The birds and rabbits attract predators like foxes.

I hope you've learned a lot about shrubs, seedlings and the animals that like living in this area.  I hope you will go outside and identify different seedlings and shrubs on your own.  Shrubs and seedlings are #1.  Now are there any questions?                    

Saplings and Poles  

I am going to teach you about saplings and poles.  This is the third stage of succession.  The trees in this stage are like being the size and age of a kid - a fourth or fifth grader.


Trees in this stage do not like shade.  The need the sunlight to grow fast.  Saplings are bigger than one meter tall.  They stay a sapling until they're 7 cenitmeters in diameter.  A pole is bigger.  It is between 7 and 30 centimeters in diameter.

In this paragraph I am going to tell you the animals that live around saplings and poles.  The animals that live in this stage like to graze on twigs and leaves.  Deer really like this habitat.

I want you to remember the plants and animals that like this habitat.  Saplings and poles live here.  They are growing really fast because they get a whole lot of sun.  They grow up over the shrubs.  The tallest poles are the ones who need the sun the most.  The animals that live here like eating twigs and leaves.

Young Forest


In this paragraph I am going to talk about the young forest stage of succession.


Right when you think the Race to the Sun is starting to slow down to a stop, the forest suprises us again!   The trees in the young forest start an intense competition for sunlight.  Some young forest trees grow a little faster than others.  The trees that are slow growers, fall behind in the race and die back into the soil.


In this stage of succession all kinds of trees that are a bit different ages have tried to grow into a forest.  Now the taller and older take up the space of slower, weaker trees.  Oaks, hickory and other hardwoods begin to win the race in this stage of succession.  All those trees are semi-shade tolerent trees.  Sugar maples and basswood are also semi-shade tolerent trees.  This means that they need some sunlight and they will grow well in each others' shade.


I hope you have learned all about the young forest stage of succession!


Mature Forest 


The fifth stage of succession is the mature forest.  You will a combination of ash, yellow birch, white birch, maples, and red and white oak.  Competition for sunlight causes some trees to die.  The trees naturally sort themselves by the amount of sunlight and space they need.  Mature forests usually live long.  They produce seeds that do not spread easily.  But these seeds have a special talent, they like growing up in the shade of their parent trees.  You will see lots of animals here like squirrels, raccoons, deer, turkey, songs birds, and opossum. 



In this paragraph I want to talk to you about the climax stage of succession.


All the trees that you find in this stage have won the Race to the Sun.  The forest has grown up in size and in age.   The trees that are here are especially adapted to their surroundings.  They fit with the climate, soil, and the amount of sunlight.  The different kinds of trees mix well with each other.  This forest is in the right balance with itself.  The trees will continue to reproduce seeds and stay healthy.  This is an older forest and if it covers lots of land the larger animals like black bear and bobcat will find good habitat and the food they need. 



Remember that you can go out and watch this race to the sun in your backyard.  You will just have to wait a long time because trees usually live longer than we do!   We hope you learned a lot from this whole entire presentation. 

Comments (24)

cphansen@uvm.edu said

at 4:31 pm on Oct 13, 2009


cphansen@uvm.edu said

at 12:57 pm on Nov 10, 2009

This is looking AWESOME guys. Everything came together nicely. Looks like the video was edited by professionals! See you later this week.

addiet said

at 9:46 am on Nov 18, 2009

good work guys

sydneyv said

at 9:47 am on Nov 18, 2009

We used your website to get some information about Succession. thanks,Lisa's group

Lori Racha Silverman said

at 11:15 pm on Dec 7, 2009

Your video shows the succession really well. Great job.

loganj said

at 11:19 am on Dec 10, 2009

AWESOME movie you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

campbellw said

at 11:28 am on Dec 10, 2009

That was done REALLY WELL!!!

zaqu said

at 11:28 am on Dec 10, 2009

Cool movie!

spencerd said

at 11:35 am on Dec 10, 2009

To Sean you should talk a little faster

lucp said

at 11:39 am on Dec 10, 2009

AWESOME!!!! You did a graet job with this vedio.

trevorm said

at 11:41 am on Dec 10, 2009

I like your movie a lot because you are standing right next to the tree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

moirab said

at 11:44 am on Dec 10, 2009

Great script & video!

spencerd said

at 11:45 am on Dec 10, 2009

this is Awesome guys

sfxrichards@yahoo.com said

at 6:29 pm on Dec 14, 2009

Cher, this is such an awesome website and an incredible project! How many years have you done this? Is this the first website you've had? Will you do this again next year and create a whole new webpage? Like I said in one of my responses to your class projects, I love the challenges and risks you take - what a great model for your students! They are lucky to have you!

loganj said

at 11:12 am on Dec 16, 2009


jackb said

at 11:16 am on Dec 16, 2009


jackb said

at 11:16 am on Dec 16, 2009


loganj said

at 11:17 am on Dec 16, 2009


moirab said

at 12:54 pm on Dec 16, 2009


christophs said

at 12:55 pm on Dec 16, 2009


sydneyv said

at 12:56 pm on Dec 16, 2009


moirab said

at 12:58 pm on Dec 16, 2009

GREAT MOVIE!!!! (really)

christophs said

at 1:03 pm on Dec 16, 2009

The site gave me lots of information

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