Hi! My name is Karla Sorensen. Please join me while I travel to Maryland to study Climate Change and Fragmented Forests.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Question Time!

I have lots of pictures and videos to show you all, but instead of giving you more information and tasks today, I want to hear what you think. Do you have any questions about what we're doing here? What do you think about it all? I'll be back on Monday, but I look forward to seeing what you have to say!

Lastly, I'll leave you with some images.

Here I am using Calipers to measure coarse woody debris.













And here I am seriously grossed out by the huge fungi growing on this stump (and everywhere else in this forest)!

And we finally made it up to the meteorological tower!
video

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What do you think?

We've had quite a few discussions these past few days about Climate Change and Global Warming. What causes it? What will it cause? What can we do about it? Is there any hope? There is no one right answer for any of these questions, but we all think it is important that we start thinking about them and talking about them.

So what do you think? What do you already know about climate change? What do you think about it all?

In lighter news, we spent the morning mapping, identifying, and tagging trees in a swampy marsh area. Even though my new boots didn't let in any water, it sure was cold wading through the creek! And the whole area stinks of rotting leaves, so you're lucky I couldn't capture smells with my camera! If you had to do one job, which would it be: recording information, measuring trees, or nailing the tags into the trees? Why?

We only have one more day here, so I'll be posting just once more before I come home to all your wonderful, beautiful faces! Be Safe and Dream Big!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Litter and Earthworms and Ticks, Oh My!

Today was a beautiful day to be out hiking, so we did plenty of it! In the morning we hiked around to find 4 different plots. Remember, each plot is 1 hectare, which is a little smaller than a track field. In each plot, we had to find the red buckets that previous volunteers had set up. Leaves fell into them, just like they fall on the forest floor. We can collect the leaf litter from the buckets, measure how much mass they have, and then multiply that number by how many buckets would fit in one hectare. That way we know how much carbon is returning to the forest.

We hiked for 5-10 minutes just to find the plot in the forest, and then we had to find all the red buckets within the plot. Click on this picture and post How many red buckets do you see in this picture? It wasn't too hard because all the leaves had fallen, but how would finding the buckets be different in the middle of summer?

We walked by another scientist's research project--Earthworms and Forests. He stuck metal rods into the soil in small areas and would come and send electricity through them. What do you think would happen?

After lunch, we went hiking in another part of the forest where there are 10m x 10m cages that prevent deer from eating the plants. We measured the length and diameter of all of the big dead branches (called coarse wood debris) that had fallen to the ground. Our group of 9 teachers was able to measure 16 small plots, but there are 64 total that needed to be measured. What fraction of the data did we collect today?

Lastly, we had to check for ticks when we came back...and I was the only one who had one on me! It wasn't the kind that spread Lyme's Disease, but it was still pretty gross. I got to tape it to the wall of ticks and label it--I'm kinda famous now!

Last question
(to make sure you were reading): What are 2 things you can measure to see how much carbon is returning to the forest?

Thanks for reading, and keep up the great research!

Be Safe and Dream Big!