BAKLAP Projects

Currently Active BAKLAP Projects:

Operational Regeneration Assessment (ORA): 

Data Atlas for Forest Research Installations (DAFRI):

STEAM Education & Outreach:

Student Service Learning Course

Parks Loop South Data map example. Plot information gathered from 1986-2012 was digitally scaled and mapped into separate and isolatable layers.
Parks Loop South Data map example. Plot information gathered from 1986-2012 was digitally scaled and mapped into separate and isolatable layers.

BAKLAP Forest Research

Research Progress:

USDA CRIS (Current Research Information System) REPORT (AD 421)

Title: Climate Sensitivity of Tree Growth and Forest Ecosystem Change in Alaska: Strategies for Management

The BAKLAP project is a partnership of Alaska DNR, Division of Forestry and the University of Alaska Fairbanks and USDA through the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research Program that supports Dr. Glenn Juday’s position for most of the academic year. At the end of each calendar year each investigator supported by McIntire-Stennis funds is required to submit an annual report termed an “AD 421” which are posted on the USDA CRIS website:

REU Project/LTER New Site Network (NSN) Measurements, October-December 2012 (Ryan Jess, Glenn Juday mentoring/supervision)

During the summer and fall of 2012, the BAKLAP project benefited from a competitively awarded NSF grant connected to the Bonanza Creek Long Term Ecological Research site (BNZ LTER). The program is Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), and it is designed to support undergraduate students as they are mentored in the conduct of research, gain skills, perform various research work, and then undertake and report on a project with assistance from a faculty mentor. Drs. Glenn Juday and Thomas Grant wrote the REU proposal, which was funded through the BNZ LTER, and then recruited Ryan Jess, UAF Natural Resources Management senior. 

Parks Loop South Reference Stand Mapping and Database Development, August – December 2012(Ryan Jess and others)

During the months of August – December 2012, Ryan Jess worked on drafting and/or correcting a digital reference map and database of the Parks Loop South (PLS) Reference Stand in the Bonanza Creek LTER. David Spencer was involved in aspects of PLS field work updating and obtaining archive files. The original PLS field sheets were drafted in pencil on waterproof paper at the 1:100 scale for the reference stand at the time of establishment. The upper hectare (1PLS) was field-drafted in 1986 and 1988, and the lower hectare (2PLS) in 1993. A half-hectare of 1PLS was then drafted in the program Adobe Illustrator in the late 1990s. The BAKLAP goal is to use the PLS site as a demonstration of the highest standard of documentation for the BAKLAP deliverable DAFRI (Data Atlas of Forest Research Installations).

Copper River Aspen Collection, October 2012 (David Spencer and Ryan Jess)

David Spencer and Ryan Jess conducted a late-season tree ring sampling field effort in with the assistance and support of the Division of Forestry, Valdez/Copper River Area Office. They obtained aspen disks from 4 sites and 28 trees collected along the road system in the Copper River Valley, well beyond the previous collection localities in Bonanza Creek LTER and along Interior rivers. The Copper Valley tree samples are furthest to the southeast in the existing UAF Climate Tree Ring Lab collections. The goal of these samples is to provide diverse coverage of sites similar to Bonanza Creek but with independent stand origins and to sample further along the gradient of cooler summers than previously completed.


STEAM Education and Outreach

K-20 students

Science Technology Engineering Art and Math = STEAM

Deliverable 1.3: K-20 Curriculum Development: STEM to STEAM (STEAM)

From October 1 until December 21, 2012 the K-20 curriculum team of Jan Dawe, Zachary Meyers, and Andrew Allaby implemented lessons through 50 classrooms visits. Activities and lesson plans ranged from investigating seed shapes and textures to recording germination rates with each class’s Alaska white birch schoolyard Adopt-a-Tree. Over 200 students, six teachers, and four schools (see Table, below) participated in K-20 STEAM Education activities.

Lesson learned during Quarter 4 2012 : Germinating birch seeds and tending germinants is difficult for elementary school children, and results in unnecessary levels of seedling mortality. To rectify this situation, K-20 STEAM Education staff will start seedlings in the greenhouse at the university, and tend the germinants until they have grown large enough to have true leaves and taproots and can be thinned. At this point, seedlings are hardy enough to tolerate uneven classroom watering regimes and will be delivered to participating classrooms that want to work with the seedlings.

Developments since the September 30 quarterly report:

Undergraduate Ecology Lab Participation

During the first week of October, forty-five UAF students taking BIOL F271 (Principles of Ecology) collected data on Alaska white birch (Bitola neoalaskana Sarg.) in the Generation OneTree Long-term Ecological Monitoring (LTEM) plot located at the T-field of the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, University of Alaska Fairbanks. The students’ task was to calculate branch density as a proxy to describe and quantify tree architecture. Protocols for the activity were developed by instructor Karen Mager, four teaching assistants and BAKLAP K-20 STEAM members Jan Dawe and Zachary Meyers, and concerned tracking the effect of initial growing-season length (3 month vs. 5 months, see Figure 13 below) on tree architecture. Tree height and placement of branches along the main stem were measured for each of 80+ trees. For each tree, a sketch showing the position of branches accompanied the measurements. The results demonstrated a substantial difference in tree architecture between trees grown at 3 months and 5 months.

Deliverable 1.4: Forest Entrepreneur Camp (FORENCA)

Developments since the September 30 quarterly report:

1)   re BAKLAP staffing and level of effort: Andrew Allaby will spearhead K-20 STEAM Education’s premier entrepreneurial project: “Tapping into Spring” during the spring semester of 2013. He will invite all teachers who worked with the project during the fall to have their classrooms participate in tapping schoolyard Adopt-a-Trees for spring sap, and produce birch syrup or other birch sap products from it.

Deliverable 2.4: Citizen Science Field Training (CITFORSCI)

Developments since the September 30 quarterly report:

Generation OneTree Long-term Ecological Monitoring Plot : During the first week of October, the 45 students in the undergraduate Biology F271 course: Principles of Ecology completed a lab using the LTEM plot in the T-field. Students measured the heights and placements of branches along the main stem of 80-plus trees, representing two cohorts of progeny differing in their initial growing season length (3-month and 5-month) to ascertain potential differences in tree architecture and habit as the local birch resource responds to climate change drivers.  More details can be seen under Deliverable 1.3 K-20 Curriculum Development: STEM to STEAM (STEAM) — section “Undergraduate Ecology Lab Participation.”

Development of Augmented Reality and Visualization Tools  

Virtual T-Field Plot in Google Earth – The accessibility of augmented reality (AR) technology in the last decade due to tools such as virtual globes, smartphones, and tablets has dramatically changed the way we see our environment, especially young learners. Educators are implementing this technology in their classrooms to supplement lessons. Children tend to remain focused and more engaged in these types of activities due to the immersive experience that is often achieved.  Examples of AR span the gambit of subjects from chemistry (visualizing a 3D molecule and their hydrostatic interactions) to biology (virtual dissections) and English (interactive textbooks/stories). The K-20 STEAM Education team is working on integrating this technology into lessons and activities to enrich the experience of the students in a similar fashion. The establishment of a long-term ecological monitoring (LTEM) plot at the T-Field has offered a great opportunity to develop and implement AR technology. The goals of the LTEM are to 1) track long-term physiological and phenological changes of 144 Alaska white birch (Betula neoalaskana Sarg.) exposed to three different growing condition (i.e., 3- ,4- ,5-months) during the first year of growth. 2) Train citizen scientists to track phenological changes. 3) Offer a resource for classes to conduct experimental research and data collection using digital devices and real-time updating in Google Earth (Figure 14). 


Current BAKLAP STEAM Classroom Locations:


BAKLAP Augmented Reality - UAF Generation One Birch Trees

Google Earth provides the necessary visualization tools to communicate the differences in growth among the Alaska white birch trees planted in the LTEM plot.  Above represents a 3D bar graph of the 2012 height measurements from individual trees under the growth conditions the saplings were first exposed to (3-months=Orange; 4-months=Pink; 5-months=Yellow).

Google Earth graph
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