Park seeks volunteers for tree monitoring

Feb 26, 2014
Photo by: Donated photo TREE TRACKERS — Volunteers learn how to document and monitor phenology during training.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers are seeking volunteers to help with an important research project in an effort to better track nature’s calendar or phenology. Park rangers are recruiting volunteers willing to adopt a tree-monitoring plot on the North Carolina side of the park.

A tree phenology monitoring training will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 pm. Saturday, March 8, at the old Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee. After training, volunteers will be assigned to a phenology plot to collect data throughout the growing season.  Plots are located near parking areas in Deep Creek, Fontana, Oconaluftee, Purchase Knob, Cataloochee, Clingmans Dome, Newfound Gap and Davenport Gap.

Information collected by volunteers will go into a national database that helps answer questions such as “Was spring early this year?” or “When will the fall colors peak?”  Carefully tracking trees from early spring to late fall can help determine what is expected. Monitoring phenology will help scientists understand how earlier springs and cold snaps impact mountain forests.

Those interested in being a part of this special project should contact Autumn Amici at or call