Monday, March 30, 2015

OneTree Alaska prepares for classroom science observations

With a few snips and the gathering of birch branches on the UAF campus March 28, spring officially began for OneTree Alaska.
Jan Dawe marks a tree to have a few branches cut from its top.

The UAF grounds and labor crew sent a bucket truck to retrieve branches from the tops of six designated birch trees. Assistant Professor Jan Dawe whisked the labeled twigs to chill them  at 37 degrees. At the right time she will take the branches to six area classrooms where 200 children will make science observations about the leaf out process.

Teachers involved in the project will train with Dawe on campus, getting to know "their" tree and describing the characteristics for comparison sake.

Jamie Byrd gathers birch branches.
"It's a very good year for birch," Dawe said. "There are more seeds because the trees had the right amount of water and the right temperatures."

Gathering branches from the tallest part of trees is beneficial because they get the fullest sun and are more likely to have male catkins, Dawe explained.

Further reading:

Ideal conditions create bounty of birch seeds in Interior Alaska, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, March 29, 2015, by Jeff Richardson

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