Ecology, Featured, Introduction

We Are Water

Water is an essential component to life and the development of life. Our bodies are one of the most complex systems anatomically known. It’s no coincidence that the two go hand in hand. Our bodies need water to survive and it is a balance, not too much, not too little. This balance can be altered by external and internal forces. External forces can include issues such as wind or elevation. Internally or balance of hydration can be effected by medical conditions or even the food we have eaten or how much of it we ate. Let’s explore how these variables can possibly effect how we feel and operate here in the mountains of Sunny San Bernardino. Get you pencils and a notebook kids. Prepare to learn about the ways your body operates with hydration in altitude and elevation.


First, let’s realize a few facts about water. We know it’s essential to our wellbeing and health but in what ways? Water helps us tolerate heat, altitude and cold. Have you ever been in the gym doing a sit up and think “wow, 60% of me is water.” That’s almost equivalent to the earth which is composed of about 71% water. When our bodies have too little water though it can lead to what we call dehydration. Essentially dehydration is a lack of water. This lack of water can exhibit itself in multiple ways such as, weakness headaches, irritability, nausea and vomiting. Patients can even experience signs and symptoms of shock and a change in mental status.


So now that we understand the issues of dehydration you are probably saying “So Toast how are we supposed to be able to avoid dehydration?” Well, have no fear. It’s easy to ward off dehydration. Much like most medical problems the main principle is prevention. Thirst, in fact, is a great determiner of when to drink. It turns out our bodies are pretty good at regulating our necessary water intake. Some individuals think it’s important to add salt or sugar to their water. But if you are eating a well-balanced diet this isn’t the case. When rehydrating be sure to avoid caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee or alcohol, as these will only deplete water from your system. Keep in mind when hydrating cool water is also absorbed faster than hot water. So now you are probably saying “wow Toast you’re really smart!” Nonsense, I didn’t learn all of these things by myself. Science taught us the principles of dehydration.  One last note on dehydration. It can take time to become dehydrated. So consequentially it can take some time to become rehydrated. An individual who is severely dehydrated may even need help from a hospital with intravenous fluid therapy.


Here at Arrowhead Ranch one of the most common issues we see with our students is dehydration. This can affect their time here at camp and possibly make what could be a really fun experience less than enjoyable. We tell the students the first day that they need to drink 5 bottles a day to feel “normal”. I advise that any student coming up to camp brings a reusable water bottle. We do provide water bottles, but a personal water bottle helps teach responsibility, can hold more than 8 ounces and is better for the environment. Our cabin leaders and naturalists help promote drinking water by giving beads for each 5 bottles a student drinks each day. The best thing to do is to educate the students and encourage them to drink water.

Written By: Toast

Ecology, Featured, Zoology

Wild Observations

Everybody loves animals, whether it’s a dog, cat, or a rare species of spider only found in South America. Animals are great and actually very important for humans. The study of animals is zoology, now what all does studying animals entail? The most obvious is just observing them. Observation is the use of our five senses; hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Scientist use their observational skills to study different species behaviors. That could mean observing them either in the wild or captivity. We can go deeper than just observing their behavior though. Scientist will look at their habitat, diet, and the impact humans have on them.



What is a habitat? A habitat is the natural home or environment of an animal. Now let’s look more in depth at the home of an animal. Food, water, shelter, and space; these four things make up what we consider a habitat. Zoos do a good job at trying to recreate the habitats of animals that are not native to where zoos are located.



Just like humans, animals need food to survive! Scientist like to consider an animal’s diet to learn more about how they live. Animals can be put into three categories; carnivore, herbivore, and omnivore. A carnivore is an animal that only eats meat, an herbivore is an animal that only eats plants, and an omnivore is an animal that eats both plants and meat. Now when dealing with diets we can consider food chains.Food chains are diagrams that show what eats what. For example, a grasshopper eats grass, a mouse eats a grasshopper, a snake eats a mouse, and a hawk will eat a snake. Food chains are important in having a healthy ecosystem. An ecosystem is the interaction on organisms and their environment.




Humans have affected animals in many ways. We have helped lots of species but we have also lost lots of species. Let’s think first about the negative such as encroachment of cities on habitats. Our population and cities are growing whether we like it or not and with growth means people need to live somewhere. Los Angeles county alone is 4,751 square miles large! Think of how many species of animals were driven out due to the growth of this city. Many nocturnal (night time) animals use night vision or their hearing to catch prey and cities are bright and loud. Diurnal (day time) animals need camouflage to sneak up on their prey and most animals don’t have camo to match cities. This leaves the animals with three choices; move, adapt, or die. Let’s talk now on the positive side of humans.In the United States the federal government will protect species that have low populations. These animals are referred to as endangered species. Killing of these species will result in large fines and jail time. You might think that’s harsh for just killing an animal but some of these animals help keep an ecosystem in check. Also in the United States, hunters and fisherman must abide by restrictions set by each states wildlife and fisheries agency so that the population of each species are at healthy levels.


Zoology has a lot to offer for not only helping animals but also helping humans as well. We are not the only species living on this earth so we should do our part to help the environment and protect all organisms. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss from The Lorax.



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