SAND DUNES RULE!

SAND DUNES RULE!

As we get to know our campsite, we must first show all of our campers the sand dunes that separate camp in the forest from the beach and ocean! This vital habitat is crucial for the health of the land and animals that call the beach home! Come learn more about them and afterwards we can all sit down and we’ll tell you the story of Suzi and the Sand Dune Nightmare!!

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Sand dunes fun facts:

  • Dunes are formed from wind and the tides. They are constantly changing and moving.
  • They protect the inland from storms and high winds.
  • Dunes are home to many animals including, reptiles, birds, mammals and invertebrates.
  • They provide good protection for animal nurseries. Babies are well camouflaged and hidden away from the open beach.
  • Just at the edge of the dunes is where female sea turtles lay their eggs.
  • Grasses that grow in the dunes, protect them from erosion. They have very shallow root systems though and walking on the dunes for even a few feet can destroy an entire grass colony.

You can find birds, insects, invertebrates, mammals and birds throughout the dunes. You can also usually spot wildflowers and other plants along with the grass. These are some of the animals you can see on the dunes:

Marsh Rabbit!

Marsh Rabbit!

Eastern Diamondback Rattle Snake (found on the south eastern coast of the U.S.)

Eastern Diamondback Rattle Snake (found on the south eastern coast of the U.S.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piping plovers are shore birds. They lay their nests near or in the dunes.

Piping plovers are shore birds. They lay their nests near or in the dunes.

 

You can often spot ghost crabs and the holes that lead to their burrows in the dunes!

You can often spot ghost crabs and the holes that lead to their burrows in the dunes!

Purple sandpipers are another bird you'll find!

Purple sandpipers are another bird you’ll find!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now campers, let’s all gather round the camp fire and we’ll tell you the story of

camp fire

Suzi and Sand Dune Nightmare:

On an evening just like tonight a camper named Suzi, decided to go explore the beach during the night. She wanted to watch a sea turtle come ashore. She wasn’t sure she should go exploring by herself as it was against the rules, but the thought of seeing a mom sea turtle laying her eggs was so exciting that she couldn’t contain herself. She gathered her red flashlight and quietly left her tent.

Suzi walked quietly up the beach as not to disturb any turtles or any of the campers. It was hard to see in the dark night and Suzi was not feeling as brave as she wandered father from camp. She was getting cold and she didn’t see a single turtle in the dark of night. She heard a noise from the dunes and she decided to walk back to camp as quickly as possible.  As she walked back she noticed a red glow coming from the sand dunes. She stopped; camp counselors had told everyone that the dunes were off limits, day or night and any camper that went in to them would be sent home. Suzi wanted to investigate where the red light was coming from, but she didn’t want to get in trouble. No one had noticed that she was gone so far, so what would a few more minutes hurt. She couldn’t think of animal that would give off a red glow like that. What if she were to discover a new species? Then no one would be mad at her for going into the dunes, even at night. Her fears slipped away as curiosity and excitement led her in the direction of the dunes and the red glow.

Suzi headed into the dunes with some trepidation. There were predators that lived in these dunes and it was darker back here.  As she walked farther from the sounds of the ocean and deeper in to the dunes; the tall, sharp blades of sea grass cut Suzi on her arms and legs. She could barely see movement of small animals around her in the pitch black night. Those were just regular old ghost crabs and mice Suzi thought. No need to fear them. Suddenly, there was a noise to her right, something much larger! This was no ghost crab coming out of its burrow.  Suzi was beginning to get scared and wanted to go back to her safe tent at camp. As her fear grew, she realized she had lost the red glowing light she’d seen earlier. She looked around and all she could see were sand dunes, sea grass and dark of night. Her heart began to race as the noise grew louder and closer. It’s too big to be a fox, but it could be a coyote she thought.  Suzi knew she did not want to encounter a coyote.  She was lost in the middle of the dunes and she was beginning to panic. The noise from the large animal grew louder and closer yet again! Suzi started to run, but the dunes are no place to run- there were crabs and birds’ nests and all of those sharp sea grass blades. She felt as if she were running in place. As the noise grew closer, Suzi stopped. Instinct told her to get low, so she squatted down as she shook with fear. She was covered in sweat and cuts from the sea grass. Quietly she sat in the dunes with the ghost crabs crawling all around her. For a moment the steps had stopped. Maybe the animal had given up and left. But as soon as Suzi decided to stand up, she could her the footsteps coming closer and closer…

 

 

 

Uh oh! What happened to Suzi? Do you think a coyote got her? Or maybe a secret sand dune monster! We’ll tell you the answer if you ask us on Twitter or Facebook! Time for lights out campers! And stay out of the dunes! Hahahaha!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, camp, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, science, stories, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “SAND DUNES RULE!

  1. dangrdafne

    Marsh rabbits??!! Sooo cute.
    Patty Larkin has a song about sand dunes which I love.

Ellie and Edmond wants to hear what ya have to say!

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