Friday, June 17, 2016

Week 5 Already?!

Dr. Gregg Moore briefing the students from Bagnall Elementary .
Photo: Kendall Young 
Time is flying by! I am coming to the end of my 4th week and I have learned so much. I have been spending a lot of time working in the dunes at Hampton, Salisbury and Plum Island doing both community outreach and restoration and implementing an experiment I designed to look at dune plant growth.

We hosted students from Bagnall elementary school on the dunes at Plum Island to plant beach grass. Two groups of 40 students were on a private beach front and planted well over 3,000 plants! It is great to see local students so enthusiastic about protecting their beaches at such a young age. 

Alyson Eberhardt assisting me in measuring and staking my plots.
Photo: China Wong 
Me prepping Goldenrod for planting.
Photo: China Wong 
 I have been given to opportunity to design an experiment to examine factors affecting growth of plant species other than dune grass at Hampton Beach State Park. My original plan was to have plots set up at both Hampton Beach as well as Plum Island, but after running into a number of obstacles, I decided to alter my project to one location. I  now have six plots set up at Hampton beach, two on the fore dune (more exposed) and four in the inter dune (more protected). Two of the inter dune locations contain goldenrod (Solidago sempervirenes) and two contain sea rocket (Cekile maritima). I have all of my plots planted and began collecting data this week. I will collect data through my summer with Sea Grant and hopefully continue into the fall with the help of community members to turn my experiment into a citizen science project. There are ups and downs to field ecology and I have learned an incredible amount about setting up experiments and working in the field. I have run into issues with plant survival after transportation, getting enough water to my plots, long hours on the dunes (that one’s not so bad), and working through problems as they arise. I am confident that I will continue to learn more as my project advances. 

Salisbury Beach before community planting project.
Photo: Kendall Young 
Earlier this week, we hosted a community planting event at Salisbury beach. We had a fantastic group of volunteers and quickly reached our planting goals! One thing I noticed while working at this site was how much the community was willing to help. There were locals passing by asking if they could help and offering their homes for water and shade. Local businesses were opening their doors to volunteers for breaks from the heat. It was rewarding to see that the hard work so many people are putting into to restoring the dunes is being noticed and appreciated. 

Another project I worked on a week ago was monitoring the water quality at Sagamore- Hampton Golf course. Sagamore-Hampton Golf course is in the process of getting certification under the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf (more information Here). N.H.Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension’s Coastal Research Volunteer program is assisting in this certification by collecting water quality data from Cornelius Brook and restoring a stream buffers. Next week, with the help of volunteers, we will continue to plant stream buffers to reduce nutrient and sediment inputs.

In the coming weeks I am looking forward to continuing collecting data for my plots, working at Sagamore- Hampton Golf course, more eel monitoring, and getting involved in some oyster restoration efforts.
Check back for updates!

Kendall Young

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