Thursday, July 9, 2009

More volunteer science field days offered in Smokies

A couple of weeks ago, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced a new program that allows people to volunteer to become a citizen scientist for a day.

Today, park officials announced three new events within the program scheduled to take place next week. They are:

Stream Splashin' Science
On Monday, July 13, high school students, recent grads, and their families will have an opportunity to join a Ranger in the streams of the Smokies to discover the critters that depend on them for their habitats. This project will include searching for macro-invertebrates within various streams to determine and compare the health of these streams. Volunteers will meet at 10:00 a.m. in front of the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

How Do I Become A Park Ranger?
On Tuesday, July 14, high school students, recent grads, and their families will have the opportunity to become a Ranger for the day. This program will give you an insider view into the lives of National Park Rangers. Participants will have a chance to experience the many job options that the National Park Service may offer, including learning how to use a blowdart for a wildlife work-up, sample life in a stream for water quality, set up a monitoring plot for forest health, identify native trees and exotic insects, and use topographic maps and GPS units.

Public Citizen Science Ash Tree Mapping
On Wednesday, July 15, the second of four Citizen Science for the 75th days is open to the public of any age. Participants will spend the day searching for ash trees in the lush eastern part of the park. The focus will be on learning how to identify ash and other common trees in the Smoky Mountains, read a topo map, and use a GPS unit in the field. Information collected will help NPS scientists develop a computer model to predict where ash trees grow so they can set up traps to capture the invasive Emerald Ash Borer. The Borer is not yet in the Park but is moving southward toward the Park through firewood transport. Monitoring ash and setting up traps to detect the insects will help protect ash trees for the future.

For more information on each of these programs, please click here.


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