Great Smoky Mountains National Park recruits ‘Adopt-a-Plot’ volunteers

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers are recruiting volunteers to adopt a monitoring plot in areas throughout the park.

Volunteers will collect information as part of an important research project tracking seasonal biological data such as plant flowering dates and the presence of migratory birds, according to a park news release.

Previous experience is not necessary, but an interest in science and love for nature is. A three-hour training workshop includes topics like tree identification techniques, stages of tree change throughout the year, fruit and flower identification, and phenology data collection protocols.

Volunteers must attend one of the training opportunities which will be held at Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg on March 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and at Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, N.C., on March 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Plots are available for adoption near parking areas at several locations in the park. Volunteers will monitor their adopted plot at least two times per month from the first leaf bud in spring to the final leaf drop in fall, the park said.

If you are interested in this volunteer opportunity, please contact Paul Super at paul_super@nps.gov or 828-497-1945 to register for the training. More information about phenology research efforts across the country are at the National Phenology Network at https://www.usanpn.org/.

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