by J. Daniel Beaudry
Tree, gather up my thoughts
like the clouds in your branches.
Draw up my soul
like the waters in your root.
In the arteries of your trunk
bring me together.
Through your leaves
breathe out the sky.
I've finally been put to good use and have started my research on trees. Populus deltoides to be exact. Another fellow student researcher, Professor Cole, and I will be looking looking at Cottonwood trees and the effect climate change has on them as well as their potential use as a biofuel (it grows fast for a tree!).
More specifically, we'll be coring a number of Cottonwoods from the same area. We'll use a borer and drill it into the tree at dbh AKA diameter at breast height - hehe. We'll extract a core sample like these practice ones we took from pine, ash and cottonwood:
Apart from the core samples, we'll also be taking leaf samples. In the lab, we'll be counting the rings and measuring ring width of the rings from the core samples. This will tell us the age of the tree as well how good or bad of a year it was for it. From the leaves we'll be extracting condensed tannin - a chemical that protects the tree because of its bitter taste - and analyzing it's prevalence in the leaves.
I am very enthused after yesterday and today. I loved being out on the prairie learning about Cottonwoods and a variety of other things as well; identifying an assortment of plants and birds, learning about the array of trees, finding out about the different invasive species, learning about diseases that kills certain trees, etc. I'm a wildlife nut. Learning more and more about what's found in nature just enhances my desire to appreciate it and protect it.
It's incredibly beautiful in this small town. Less than a mile away from campus is the river with prairie surrounding it. This little area of conservation has so much beauty. Each season possesses it's unique attraction. I love watching the prairie grass that moves like sea waves when the wind blows over it. The purple, white and yellow flowers that are scattered throughout are dainty and pretty. The cottonwoods and aspens make the most wonderful sounds as their leaves tremble; the word to describe it would have to be "shimmery." Their shiny demeanor is eye-catching as the sunlight glitters off it. The river is blue and lazy and makes its way wherever it pleases. Deer, rabbits, warblers, waterfowl, beaver, snakes, and all sorts of animals inhabit the relatively small area. Quite near you can see a white 230 ft wind turbine, softly whooshing as its three blades make it all the way around. You can see it from my window in this photograph I took a few evenings ago. Enjoy (: