WVU Core Arboretum News and Notes
Graduate Student Research at WVU Core ArboretumAugust 10, 2016
How does wildlife adapt to
urban areas? This is one of the major questions for my dissertation research at
West Virginia University. The secretive and elusive Cooper’s hawk was once only
seen in dense forested areas but is a now a common visitor in our backyards and
city parks. This makes this bird an ideal candidate for understanding how
species are adapting to urban environments. For my research, I have been taking
genetic samples from Cooper’s hawks all across the country to compare those
that nest in urban areas to those that nest in more traditional forested areas.
The Arboretum has been home to a few different species of birds of prey
including red-tailed hawks, barred owls, and Cooper’s hawks. In at least the
last two summers, a breeding pair of Cooper’s hawks have chosen the Arboretum
as the best place to raise their young, and I was lucky enough to catch these
birds to collect genetic samples for my research (the birds were released
unharmed back to their nest). Using these samples, I hope to get a better
understanding of how the genes of wildlife change as a result of living in
close proximity to humans. The Arboretum is home to dozens of species of
wildlife, including the Cooper’s hawk, which makes this place an important safe
haven in an urban jungle.
by Meghan Jensen
Meghan Jensen is a Ph.D. candidate in the Wildlife and Fisheries Program of the WVU Division of Forestry and Natural Resources.
WVU Core Arboretum Magicicada Festival Successful
Thanks to all who visited the WVU Core Arboretum for the Magicicada Festival on Saturday, May 28, and thanks, especially, to the volunteers that made it happen (including the chefs)! More than 70 people came to the morning events, and well over 300 people came to the afternoon events! It was wonderful to see so many members of the community come out to an educational event and actively engage with science and the University. Participants learned about cicada biology and ecology, watched talks on current cicada research, did cicada-related arts and crafts activities, and ate cicadas prepared by great local chefs! People also got to see plenty of cicadas and learn how to tell the different species apart. It was a celebration of 17 year periodical cicadas! If you have not gotten to see or hear the cicadas yet, there are still plenty of them at the Arboretum, and there will be for a few more weeks! They are even chorusing in the bushes around the parking lot today.
WVU Core Arboretum Spring Nature Walk Report
The WVU Department of Biology Spring Ephemeral Wildflower Walks and Mountaineer Audubon Spring Bird Walks at the WVU Core Arboretum were a success this year! In the course of three wildflower walks and four bird walks, over 45 species of plants were seen in bloom and over 70 bird species were seen and/or heard. We had great participation from community members and students, also! It seemed like everyone really enjoyed themselves, including the guides, and hopefully everyone learned something new. Most of the spring flowers are gone now, but the summer flowers are just getting started, and many of the birds will be here and singing for most of the summer. Come visit!
WVU Core Arboretum/WVU Herbarium 2016 Newsletters
Graduate student research at WVU Core Arboretum
As part of my research with the West Virginia Climate History Project, I am monitoring the wildflowers in the Arboretum to determine how long the flowers are in bloom. I will be monitoring bloodroot, trout lily, and cutleaf toothwort, which are wildflowers that bloom for a very short amount of time. I am also interested in learning how elevation in the Arboretum affects when the flowers bloom. This is part of a bigger research question that addresses how wildflowers are responding to a warming climate. If spring is coming earlier than it did 100 years ago, then how are the plants and animals responding? By studying spring wildflower blooming and bird migration in our backyards, we can better understand the future of ecosystems in the face of a changing climate.
by Lori Petrauski
Lori Petrauski is a graduate student and Graduate Teaching Assistant in the WVU Division of Forestry and Natural Resources.
WVU Core Arboretum Calendar of Events
May 28: Magicicada Festival (all day)
We are excited for the emergence of Brood V of the 17 year periodical cicadas here at the Arboretum this spring, and we are holding a Magicicada Festival to celebrate these fascinating organisms! See the flyer below, and click on the image to access and download it as a PDF document.
WVU Core Arboretum Trail Map
Directions to WVU Core Arboretum
The WVU Core Arboretum is located adjacent to the WVU Coliseum and directly across Monongahela Blvd. from the WVU Creative Arts Center.