SNR faculty, graduate students present at 2023 Woods and Wildlife Field Day

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Both School of Natural Resources faculty members and graduate students shared their knowledge and research Thursday at the 2023 Woods and Wildlife Field Day presented by UT AgResearch and UT Extension at the UT Arboretum in Oak Ridge.

Professor Scott Schlarbaum gave a presentation on the UT Tree Improvement Program which he directs. Its mission is to improve the productivity and health of Tennessee forested lands through the planting of high quality, locally adapted, and genetically improved seedlings by Tennessee landowners. Schlarbaum also showed the Cornelia Cherry Project the program has at the UT Arboretum.

Graduate student Ashley Epstein shared her research on Eastern red bats and why they are indicators of environmental health. Bats play an essential role in controlling pests and pollinating plants.

Professor Jennifer Franklin gave a talk on Forest Restoration and Prescribed Fire projects. She shared how her Forestry 305 course teaches students about determining the best conditions to use prescribed fire in forest stands.

In the afternoon, participants took a van field tour to different project sites including a Tree Harvesting Demo Plot. Extension Specialist David Mercker explained how the project shows the results of waiting for trees to grow more than 16 inches in diameter to harvest and the long-term benefits.

The afternoon field tour ended with a presentation from Professor David Buckley and graduate student Mel Mount about Carbon Capture in Irregular Shelterwood Harvest Areas. Buckley and Mount explained how certain plots measured in the project area before and after a clear cut.

Center Director Kevin Hoyt and the UT Forest Resources Ag Research and Education Center staff hosted the field day.