Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Spring to Summer 2010 (I'm trying to catch up to fall!)

Time flies! Here are a couple of pics from the tree viewing trip in the Valhallas I talked about in Feb.
 The snow was deep – but kind of reactive, Biologists Peter Corbett, Tyson Ehlers, and I were able to easily able to ski cut out small soft slabs down to a 30cm rain crust.

There were some big old whitebark pine trees, but many were dead (mostly beetle kill). Sadly, still a lot of high elevation logging up there, too, taking the lower tall subalpine pines. 

Nevertheless, we still manage to see the bright side of our adventure.

June, July, and August were months spent studying local ecology. I spent a day out with my daughter’s grad one class to look at aquatic insects and their habitat. 

Another day was spent up on Grassy Mountain looking at fairy spuds (spring beauty bulbs) the meadow voles had cached and forgotten, and the interesting “grassy bald”  vegetation that appears at elevations far lower than you would expect to find alpine tundra (likely due to the warmer regional climate and southern aspect creating drought stress for tree seedlings).

There were opportunities to also sample some of the local fish populations right below my office, at the confluence of the Columbia and Kootenay rivers with local biologist (and avid fisherman) Craig Smith. 

There were other professional development activities to be had out on the local rock with my colleagues Keyes Lessard and Delia Roberts

Our wood lot crew of Stacey and Tracey came out to help with caging whitebark pine cones to protect them from predation the Clark Nutcrackers and squirrels. 

Stacey gearing up for a tree climb

Stacey in action placing the wire mesh covering over some cones
Here's a shot of white pine blister rust spore sacs on one of the smaller whitebark sapling.

Me, fighting with some branches, the city of Castlegar in the background

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