Students hunt for maple seedlings in the name of science

Future Forests Engaged Undergraduate Research GrantThis summer, a small team of citizen scientists – including two students from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences – bushwhacked their way through dense forest growth and clouds of biting insects.

Their mission: gather scientific data about tree growth that could be key to the long-term health of New Hampshire’s sugar maples.

The two undergraduates – funded by a Cornell Engaged Undergraduate Research Grant – are helping lead the project, which will track the progress of sugar-maple seedlings in four patches of New Hampshire forest over seven years. Their goal is to determine whether enough seedlings are likely to survive to replace the mature trees currently tapped for maple syrup production.

Not only are the two students – Katie Sims ’20 and Alex Ding ’21, both environmental and sustainability sciences majors – doing much of the fieldwork, they’re forging ties to the public along the way. Said Sims: “We’re trying to understand the pathways of information between forest research and the people who see the land in different ways.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.