Forest Watch UNH DiaryThanks to supporters of the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, who helped us fundraise $500 towards their animal welfare services. Our ‘check in for Charity’ candidate for May is the UNH’s Forest Watch program. Forest Watch conducts basic and applied research on New England forest ecosystems. Data is collected by teachers and students (gr. K-12), from trees in their study plot.

About UNH Forest Watch

The Forest Watch program studies the effects of ground-level ozone on the health of New England’s forests. Research in the 1980s demonstrated that the white pine is a bio-indicator tree: The pine is sensitive to air pollution and ground-level ozone exposure. Over the past two decades, in all but a few drought years, white pine health has declined when ozone levels were high. White pine health has improved when ozone levels dropped.

Forest Watch is a national program, currently with 148 active teachers in 126 schools in all five New England States plus a few schools in New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania. At UNH’s location, students study white pine and sugar maple trees on their test plot and report research back to foresters and scientists.

Currently, UNH Forest Watch is concerned about a recent discovery of pine trees losing needles. Teachers and kids and citizens are asked to register on Picture Post this month to help Forest Watch photograph the pines in the last week of May and the first week of June – the time when they have been losing scads of needles in the last three years. Forest Watch thinks it might be air pollution stress, and is hoping to gather evidence to test this hypothesis.

Forest Watch UNH Student ResearchForest Watch is also studying sugar maples, addressing research that suggests that climate change, especially warming temperatures, over the next century may extirpate most of the sugar maples in the United States. The maple’s response to stresses triggered by or intensified by climate change may illuminate how the maple functions and the physiological consequences of climate change to a dominant species in the northeastern forest.

Forest Watch’s work allows students to experience hands-on, real science, while also gathering important field data important to scientists.

Time to Check in

Your ‘check in’ this month directly supports Forest Watch’s work with teacher and student-led research on trees with important implications for humans. Fill in your name in the form below to earn $1 towards our $500 fundraising goal.