Monday, March 24, 2014

Field Trip!

Demonstrating the white-tailed deer trap behind the office
Members of the Society for Ecological Restoration's Mid-Atlantic Chapter visited the Pennypack Preserve on Saturday afternoon, March 22, to review forest restoration and white-tailed deer research projects underway here.  This field trip was one of three trips scheduled to coincide with the Chapter's annual conference that took place the day before at Temple University's Ambler Campus.
Dr. Eugene Potapov explaining how he remotely springs the deer trap from his laptop
Dr. Eugene Potapov, a researcher and professor from Bryn Athyn College, began by reviewing the white-tailed deer movement research he and his colleagues have been conducting since 2006 using collared deer and digital telemetry. 
A chapter member from New York City Parks pointing out chestnut blight canker
The group then took a walking tour of The Peak old-growth forest recently cleared of invasive plants, several reforestation projects (including one project that incorporated American chestnut trees, now exhibiting signs of chestnut blight disease), riparian reforestation projects along the Pennypack Creek floodplain, and the 160-acre Raytharn Farm grasslands.  We also took advantage of the fact that one of the tour participants was Dr. James Thorne, a former University of Pennsylvania researcher, who had established a forest succession research project in the preserve in 1990 - a project he had not been back to review in over two decades.

  Dr. James Thorne explaining his research project in the background

Fortunately, the day was partly sunny and warm - the warmest day so far this year, with temperatures in the mid-60s.  I had expected the preserve's trails to be muddy after the endless winter snows, but they were pleasantly firm and dry.  Participants seemed to have enjoyed themselves - even if it was just to have a chance to be outside on a nice spring day.  We even heard spring peepers trilling in Crossroads Marsh!
Timing for the tour was fortuitous - there's more snow forecast for tomorrow!

Submitted by:
David Robertson, Executive Director

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