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Identifying trees on MERA with GO-ASAP

This week, Brian and I had the pleasure of meeting a group of 12 local middle schoolers at Mount Emily Recreation Area (MERA). These students were with the GO-ASAP club (short for “get outside after school activity program") – an awesome initiative that gets local kids involved with outdoor activities.


With cool temperatures and a mix of sun and clouds, Brian led the group on a pleasant hike up the Red Apple Trail. We first stopped to smell some ponderosa pines. Shady pines? No scent! Pines basking in the sun? Full on vanilla! After taking some time to discuss ponderosa pines and how the shade of their bark turns more orange and yellow with age, we moved on to the state tree of Oregon (Douglas firs) and then stopped by the creek to look at alders.

Next, we talked about how to determine the age and height of a tree. We looked at some ponderosa pine stumps and counted the rings, determining that the trees were close to 100 years old when they were cut down.

Brian then used his clinometer (a special device that measures the angle of elevation) to determine the height of a ponderosa tree – it was 80 feet. As we meandered up the trail, Brian pointed out a mountain ash tree. In town, these trees are pollinated by flies, moths and bees and as a result their beautiful flowers give off an extreme stink.


As we walked by a dead tree with many large holes and cavities, we discussed wildlife habitat and how this tree would make a great home for woodpeckers.


Lastly, Brian finished the walk with an explanation of carbon storage and how trees are one of our best agents in the fight against climate change.


All in all, we had a great time at MERA with the GO-ASAP middle schoolers!

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