Breaking Down Barriers

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Climate Change in my Community: Climate Change on File, Trees as Environmental Secretaries

Find out how trees record climate and environmental data—in their wood!

The activity, Climate Change on File: Trees as Environmental Secretaries, by NCSE Graduate Student Outreach Fellow Taryn Dunivant describes many environmental conditions that trees rely on and face and how they become recorded in their wood. The activity focuses on the relationship between precipitation and growth-ring size in trees. Using NOAA precipitation data of Kansas over the past 50 years, participants can build a bar graph of changes in precipitation over time, whiling correlating this to growth ring size. Participants can also examine real cross-sections of local tree trunks. Here they can learn about tree identification, local and invasive trees, other environmental aspects that get recorded in trees, and overall how trees grow.

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