Contributed by LUFA research assistant Peter Dziaba.
This summer, two new students have joined the LUFA team to conduct fieldwork in Northwest Indiana. Rising junior Campbell and just-graduated senior Peter Dziaba will be continuing field data collection as a part of LUFA's CommuniTree research by conducting an inventory of the several thousand trees planted through the CommuniTree initiative. Peter and Campbell’s work focuses on trees provided to applicants by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC), a "backbone" organization of the CommuniTree coalition. Campbell has spent the last few months compiling the vast amount of application data into an inventory map, while Peter contributes his background in plant identification and socio-ecological systems. Peter also drives the duo down to Northwester Indiana 2 - 3 times for the fieldwork each week using the ENV department van.
This year, Campbell and Peter are using an EpiCollect5 data collection form put together and used by last year's summer field crew, Lukas Gilkeson and Nicole Puka. To prepare for this summer's fieldwork, Lukas and Nicole joined Peter and Campbell out in the field to train them through filling out the form, taking measurements, and conducting community engagement at each site. On the second day of training, the team met with U.S. Forest Service Chicago Region Natural Resource Liaison, Drew Hart out at Lost Marsh Golf Course in Hammond, IN, for further training and practice with the form and measurements. This training with Nicole, Lukas, Elene, and Drew (not to mention the high heat index and sunny weather of those first few days!) were invaluable to preparing Campbell and Peter for this summer's fieldwork.
Lab director Dr. Jess Vogt was able to meet Peter and Campbell out in the field during their second week, and give some indispensable identification and measurement tips. Since then, this summer's field crew has been to sites throughout NW Indiana, from the Town of Dyer to Michigan City and sites in between. The data and insights from this research will be shared back to the organizations of the CommuniTree initiative.
Peter and Campbell are now in the full swing of fieldwork, and are excited to continue the work through the end of this summer! Enjoy some photos of interesting sites from the students first couple weeks in the field in the gallery below.
Jess Vogt, Associate Professor, Env. Science & Studies, DePaul University