Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers are seeking volunteers to help with an important research project. In an effort to do a better job of tracking nature’s calendar, or phenology, park rangers are recruiting volunteers who are willing to adopt a tree monitoring plot in areas throughout the North Carolina side of the park. A tree phenology monitoring training will be held on Saturday March 7 from 9:30am – 12:30pm at the Oconaluftee administration building in Cherokee.
After training, volunteers will be assigned to a phenology plot for which they will collect data multiple times throughout the growing season. Plots up for “adoption” are located near parking areas in the Deep Creek, Fontana, Oconaluftee, Purchase Knob, Cataloochee, Clingmans Dome, Newfound Gap and Davenport Gap regions of the park.
Information collected by volunteers will go into a national database that helps answer questions such as “was spring early this year?” or “when will the fall colors peak?” Monitoring phenology will help park rangers to understand how earlier springs and cold snaps impact our mountain forests.
If you are interested in signing up for the training, contact Leah Nagel Leah_Nagel@partner.nps.gov or 497-1945