Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 7th--Natural Heritage Monitoring Workshop

7 Trail volunteers met at ATC's Kellogg Conservation Center and after a morning of instruction by botanist Ted Elliman, headed out into the woods to train as Natural Heritage Monitors for the Appalachian Trail. 

Ted led the volunteers through some basic plant identification techniques and how to use the National Park Service reporting forms.  In the field, volunteers visited a number of rare plant communities and learned the best way to measure the occurrence of each plant--whether by counting individual stems, measuring the area covered by a group of plants, or gridding  the area and taking several population samples.

Typically, a Natural Heritage Monitor covers one or more locations in NPS Appalachian Trail lands, usually once a year.  Reports are submitted to the Park Service where the data are compiled and analyzed.

National Parks (of which the AT is one) are required to inventory and report on the status of all RTE (Rare, Threatened and Endangered) species within the park.  In keeping with the strong volunteer tradition of the Appalachian Trail, NPS welcomes citizen participation in this effort by AT volunteers.  To provide usable data, and keep the location of the populations confidential, Natural Heritage volunteers must participate in the type of training workshop that was held last week.  If you are interested in finding out more about being a Natural Heritage Monitor, contact us at at@amcberkshire.org

Sorry, no photos of this workshop are available.

Thanks for tuning in,



Dalton Kiosk Fabrication

Today (April 10th) was a great day to do some post and beam work to fabricate a new kiosk that will be located at the south end of Dalton on Depot St. Extension. A hearty crew of Pete (in whose drive way we convened for the work), Jim, Sim, Richard, Gene and Joel were soon at work cutting rafters, posts and beams. Pete schooled us in the use of a slick (basically a hand plane with only a blade and offset handle), laying out angles, curves and the mysteries of an antique boring machine for cutting the mortises.
Above, Richard puts the finishing touches on a tenon. Below, Pete shows the intracies of the use of the boring machine. This was quite a contraption and required some practice to get the hole bored precisely where it was wanted. Also used some arm work to drive the bit into the wood.
A good time was had by all and the promised afternoon showers never arrived. Thanks to all who participated and especially to Pete for getting the materials, the use of his driveway and of some pretty neat tools!