Volunteers needed for Great Smoky Mountain ‘Adopt-a-Plot’ Program

Smoky Mountain "adopt a plot" program needs volunteers!

Smoky Mountain “adopt a plot” program needs volunteers!

Volunteers needed for Great Smoky Mountain ‘Adopt-a-Plot’ Program. National park rangers are seeking volunteers to monitor designated plots throughout the park. Participants will track phenology,  or nature’s calendar. No experience is required but individuals with an interest in science and nature should thrive. Volunteers will collect important research data such as plant flowering dates and tree canopy foliage changes.

Join the fun and be a Smoky Mountain volunteer!

Join the fun and be a Smoky Mountain volunteer!

Volunteers will participate in a 3-hour training workshop that covers topics like tree identification techniques, stages of tree change throughout the year, fruit and flower identification, and phenology data collection protocols. Volunteers are required to attend one of the training sessions  held at either Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, NC on Saturday, February 29 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or at Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, TN on Saturday, March 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Plots are available for adoption with easy access near parking areas at a variety of locations across the park. Volunteers will monitor their adopted plot a minimum of  two times per month from the first leaf bud in spring to the final leaf drop in fall. Bimonthly monitoring is less critical in June and July at most plots. The Adopt-a-Plot project helps park scientists understand the effects of changing weather patterns in our diverse ecosystem and the seasonal timing of wildflower blooms and fall color.

If you are interested in this exciting volunteer opportunity, please contact Israel Golden at israel_golden@partner.nps.gov to register for the training. For more information about phenology research efforts across the country, visit the National Phenology Network at Phenology.

Source credit – GSMNP

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