May Trainings for American Chestnut Data Collection
|Two organizations I’m fond of, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the American Chestnut Foundation, are working together to gather data on American Chestnut trees growing along the Appalachian Trail. If you are interested in volunteering, two training sessions are coming up this month.|
- May 23, 2009 Mountain Lake, VA -Katie Burke, UVA PhD Candidate studying chestnut ecology, with Kathy Marmet
- May 30, 2009 Nantahala Outdoor Center, NC – Dr. Hill Craddock and Dr. Jennifer Boyd of University of Tennessee Chattanooga Dept of Biological & Environmental Sciences
Formal training from 10 am – approximately 3 pm
Data collection practicum after lunch break
Please reply to kathymarmet[at ]gmail[dot]com if you would like to participate
Space is limited for these trainings. Additional trainings may be scheduled if there is sufficient interest.
The Chestnut Project is part of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC)’s AT Mega-Transect Project, which seeks to engage the public in citizen-science efforts to collect data along the AT to raise awareness of threats to the environmental health of the Appalachian Region.
In 2008, scientists and volunteers from The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) and Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) worked together to develop a pilot project to recruit and train volunteers to collect data on American chestnut trees identified along the Appalachian Trail (AT). Data from the 2008 effort and a slide show summary are at: http://chestnut.cas.psu.edu/mega-transect.html
The Chestnut Project will be a long-term project. Data collected by project volunteers will contribute to understanding the status of surviving remnants of a species that played a key role in forests throughout Appalachia before being devastated by a blight fungus imported with Asian chestnut trees in the early Twentieth Century, and will inform TACF’s multi-generational effort to restore the American chestnut tree to its former place in the region’s forests. Data on individual trees with the potential to produce flowers will assist TACF in increasing the genetic diversity of its backcross breeding program to produce an otherwise American chestnut with the blight resistant characteristics of Asian chestnut.
2009 data collection efforts will build on the results of the 2008 effort, and will focus on assessing and improving data reliability. Redundant counts by multiple teams will take priority over number of miles covered by counts. ATC plans to seek grant funding with TACF and other partners
Training participants will select initial data collection segment assignments at the training. Participants as asked to try to collect and submit data from at least one segment within two weeks of the training, and to plan to complete and return data for all segments selected at training by July 10.
A Data Collector Kit, including report forms to record data in the field will be provided at training.
GPS locator, binoculars, pedometer, digital camera, trail maps, hand held microscope or magnifier, clipboard.