Thursday, April 26, 2012

Determining Tree Height & Board Feet

Finding usable tree height is accomplished using a clinometer. This device, which can be an app for Android and iOS devices, provides angles to deduce usable tree height for milling trees. After finding the percentage angles, subtract the base angle (negative value) from the angle where the usable tree height ends. Do not forget to change percentages to decimal form or the tree height will be incorrect. Multiply this result by 66 feet to determine the usable tree height. This measurement is needed to find the board feet available in the tree. 

You also need to measure the circumference of the tree at chest level, roughly 4 1/2 feet from the ground. Convert this to diameter using the formula: diameter = circumference/3.14. Convert this from inches to feet by dividing by 12 and then find the radius by dividing by 2. The next step is finding cubic feet to estimate board feet.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tree ID Updated

The tree identification page is now up and updated to reflect a sampling of trees from the Ritter Park outing last weekend. Formatting is causing some issues with the pictures and text, but that will be rectified over the next few weeks. I added the scientific names to the common names when available. Follow the tab link at the top of the page or this link.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Field Outing Tomorrow

Tomorrow is an all day outing for the Forest and Rail teachers are Ritter Park. We will be studying water quality using Vernier Science Probes, identifying trees by characteristics, using the Galaxy Tab to determine usable tree height, and calculating board feet of lumber available during milling. I look forward to gathering the data compiling information for the project.

By the end of the day tomorrow, I hope this blog will contain a comprehensive listing of trees in the park with pictures and identifiable traits for use by students during activities next year. I also need practice with the Vernier since my experience is limited to assisting others during training sessions. This field trip will be a good indication of how jam-packed the the trip will be later this summer.

Bring rain gear! If Steve and I are out anywhere, historically it a wet day at some point.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Activities for Middle School

I spent the last couple of days at an infusing technology training that put gave me some ideas for implementing activities for the Forest and Rail Project. Nothing that is cutting edge technology by any means, but sound 21st century skills students implement for success in the future. These small group activities include:

  • Students collect data on trees immediately around the school grounds. They will identify the trees using any means available and place into a spreadsheet that is shared for each class. Students will establish percentages for each type of tree in the area using data tools in Excel or Google Spreadsheet. The data will be compiled into one spreadsheet for the school.
  • Using a method of establishing tree height, students establish which trees meet a minimum requirement and calculate the amount of board feet that could be harvested from the area. Using research information on timber prices, establish the revenue for the "forest" around the school.
  • Research methods for replanting the trees that will be harvested and determine by produce a timeline for tree growth to mature level. Look at options for replanting different trees that may grow faster/slower that could increase revenue during future harvest.
  • Determine the slope from the highest point of our harvest area to the lowest on the Ohio River. Would a Shay locomotive be needed for hauling timber to the river? Use Google Earth to examine topography and construct a railway to the sawmill location that will be determined later. The historic railroad tracks will also be examined.
  • Each group will maintain a blog that contain artifacts and reflections on this project. This may become an individual blog.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WV Forestry Tree ID

Created by a West Virginia Division of Forestry worker and Tyler County FFA, this document helps identify common trees in the state. The trees are listed in alphabetical order in the document and include pictures of leaves, stems, and bark. Use the button in the upper right corner to open in a new window if a larger image is needed.

It is available for download at the following link: Tree Identification Presentation