This spring, students in The Nature of Plants (HORT 1115) got a bird’s eye view of some of the forest ecosystems they were studying at the Hoffman Challenge Course on Mt. Pleasant.
“The whole idea is for the students to be able to observe from above what they were measuring from below,” says Taryn Bauerle, assistant professor in the Department of Horticulture and the course’s instructor.
“It helps them put a face on the data they collect,” she adds.
On the ground, students cored trees to determine their age, ran transects and set up plots to collect plant data, and made other observations.
They used their data to compare ecosystem structure and function on three different sites – an old growth forest, a recently disturbed area and a spruce plantation planted several decades ago.