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Signs of Summer: A Mature Voice on Social Media

Wednesday, July 10, 2019, by Elida Kocharian and Shawna Greyeyes
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We want people to know: Our growing forests are currently serving as carbon sinks, which is to say they are absorbing more carbon than they are emitting. But is there a limit to the amount of carbon a forest can absorb?


We made this sign as an amalgam of our research projects. I (Elida) study annual tree growth and carbon storage using tree coring and dendrometer bands, while I (Shawna) am implementing a project called the Witness Tree- a 100+ year old oak tree that is equipped with sensors and, based on the data received, tweets on social media about its changing environment. Carbon sequestration, like photosynthesis or respiration or sap conduction, is a largely invisible process. The Witness tree project helps make these invisible factors visible.  We both believe that the public should be better informed about the ways in which healthy, growing forests can contribute to carbon sequestration as we continue to document and experience the effects of global anthropogenic climate change. The trees are already constantly reacting to the climate; in our data collection, analysis, and model building, we are working to give the trees a voice in our society.


As part of our Environmental Sign Making workshop, artist and educator David Buckley Borden showed us how to combine images in the culture with scientific information to convey facts and attitudes about our research to a wide audience.