Saturday, June 25, 2011

walking through time

after thinking about this project for about a year now, i traipsed amidst my first dead yellow-cedars. i couldn’t help but close my eyes and remember what i saw in the healthy forests in Glacier Bay National Park just a week ago. it felt like walking through time. i want to know what happens when the yellow-cedars die. we're not trying to predict where they’ll decline in this study. but, there, standing amidst the dead, i couldn’t help wonder – will i witness these changes further North in my lifetime? i looked up at the canopy and remembered the first fish eye photos i shot of the dense canopy cover in the healthy forests. there, in the dead, the canopy opened. the sun penetrated through. the sound, the silence, the way the wind moved through the forest, was distinctly different. yellow-cedars stood starkly above. below, the green boomed.

we are going to have one heck of a summer measuring trees and counting stems to figure out what happens next.

kate and odin took off to sitka to get our food together, piece together some equipment, and get down to some plants on the ground. paul and i spent the week in Juneau finalizing maps, troubleshooting GPS units, getting data sheets printed. he is a problem-solver and a determined soul. one of those always-positive-i-have-endless-energy people. i feel grateful for the team that has come together.

still haven’t figured how to get a photo album on this blog (no time or maybe it’s not possible)… so feel free to take a tour of facebook.

we leave at the crack of dawn tomorrow to boat out to west chichagof for our first two week stint. we begin at waterfall cove. we’ll soon be setting up base camp and marking the perimeter with flagging (and pee) so we all know “our territory.” really, it’s what the bear biologist recommends. with the temperature sensors prorgrammed, DBH tape, plant books, and tree borers packed (along with enough cous cous to feed a small army), and a new revised sampling plan thanks to stats captain steele, we are ready at last. more upon return July 8th…

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