Great Smoky Mountains National Park needs volunteers for research project

Volunteers learn how to collect tree phenology data for an on-going study in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (source: GSMNP)

GATLINBURG (WATE) – The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is recruiting volunteers for a research project tracking seasonal biological data.

Volunteers would adopt a phenology monitoring plot in various areas through out the park, tracking data such as plant flowering dates and the presence of migratory birds. Tracking this data allows scientists to better understand how plants and animals are influenced by seasonal variations in climate.

A training session will be held on Saturday, February 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Sugarlands Visitor Center near Galtlinburg. Another session will be held for those on the North Carolina side of the park on Saturday, March 5, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee. After training, volunteers will be assigned a phenology plot where they will collect data multiple times throughout the growing season.

The information will then go into a national database to help answer climate questions across the region. If you are interested in signing up, contact Chrissy Cochran at Christine_Cochran@partner.nps.gov or (828) 497-1945.

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