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Nature of Plants students get bird’s eye view of forest ecosystems

Getting a birds's eye view of forest ecosystems

Getting a birds's eye view of forest ecosystems

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.

Earlier in the semester, staff and members of Cornell Outdoor Education trained the students on the Lindseth Climbing Wall in Bartels Hall, then they assisted on site over several weekends in April.

“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.

Graduate student Alex Paya shows students data collected from a portable weather station and soil moisture probes at the site.

Graduate student Alex Paya shows students data collected from a portable weather station and soil moisture probes at the site.

Students lay out transect to collect data on species diversity.

Students lay out transect to collect data on species diversity.

Horticulture volunteer Marc Göbel demonstrates how to remove a tree core to determine its age.

Horticulture volunteer Marc Göbel demonstrates how to remove a tree core to determine its age.

Getting a birds's eye view of forest ecosystems.

Getting a birds's eye view of forest ecosystems.

Returning via zip line.

Returning via zip line.

Back to earth.

Back to earth.

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  1. […] The Nature of Plants instructor Taryn Bauerle teams with Cornell Outdoor Education to expose freshmen to plant biology while they climb and hang from ropes in mature forest trees. […]

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