Volunteering at JMU in June

Sue Gier, Cohort V, working on tree documentations with JMU’s Stormwater Compliance Specialist Ali Sloop. Photo by Cindy Westley.

HMNs participate in new JMU stewardship projects

James Madison University holds a designation as a Tree Campus. They have a committee for oversight of activities. Annually they must host service projects, have a tree care plan, and celebrate Arbor Day. One of their goals for this year is to increase the tree canopy coverage on the campus. Out of the estimated 8,000 trees on campus, about 6,000 have been geolocated and only half of the 6,000 have been identified to species. Recently Ali Sloop, Stormwater Compliance Specialist at JMU, reached out to Headwaters Master Naturalists for help with two projects.

On June 22 and 23, five Master Naturalists helped to identify and document trees on a section of the campus in order to help determine the baseline canopy. Ali provided training. We used special equipment and our smartphones to identify the location, height, girth, structure, species, and health of the tree in a JMU app.

The second project, on June 28-30, was to inventory the stream buffers on campus and identify invasive species. There are about three miles of above ground streams that run through or near the campus. The riparian buffers serve to filter stormwater runoff, provide wildlife habitat and offer educational opportunities. Volunteers were given training to note species found in three areas in the iNaturalist app. Over 600 plants were identified. Observations can be found in the iNaturalist app under the “JMU Stream Buffers” project.

See below for other opportunities to participate. Ali is a knowledgeable and patient guide. Technology allows for more accurate data collection and I now feel more confident with the use of apps. It was great to be part of projects that support JMU’s sustainable practices.

– Cindy Westley, HMN transferee, June 2022

HMNs Dave Forrer and Kathy Byers help inventory trees on JMU campus, June 22, 2022. Photo by Cindy Westley.

JMU Campus Tree Data and Inventory Workdays

Multiple Dates:
July 6,15, 25 and 26
August 1, 2, 3, 4, 9,10,12,18,19, 23, and 24

September 1, 6, 8, 9, 14, 20, 22

Time: 8:30 am – 12 noon

Update from Ali starting in September: There is also a new parking permit system that has gone into effect on campus. I will need each volunteer’s make, model, license plate number and color of their vehicle to submit that info to JMU’s Parking Services new license plate recognition technology via an online form. I will need the vehicle information a week in advance of when volunteers will be parking on campus to give Parking Services time to approve the permit request.

Phone number: (540) 421-1105                                Email: witmanad [at] jmu.edu

Equipment needed: Smartphone with ArcGIS Collector app downloaded

Master Naturalists will join Ali Sloop, Stormwater Compliance Specialist with JMU Facilities Management, to geolocate, identify and photo document urban trees on campus. As part of JMU’s Arbor Day Tree Campus USA designation, the university is working to gather data on all the trees on campus in order to set a canopy coverage goal and more effectively manage the urban forest. Data collected will include: location, height, diameter at breast height (DBH), structure, species, health, condition and photo documentation. Training on the tree inventory protocol and logging of data will be provided. A specific log-in will be assigned to each volunteer in order for each person to contribute to the overall campus inventory database.   

Volunteers will need a smartphone that can download the app (Collector) that is used to collect the information. If you are interested in volunteering, but do not have a smartphone or are unable to download the Collector app, please contact Ali for alternative ways to help. Volunteers should wear sturdy closed-toe shoes, and preferred sun and insect protection.

Ali Sloop will need to know at least a week in advance which volunteers will be attending so that she can coordinate getting log-ins for the Collector app for each person. 

Be sure to sign up for this great opportunity in Better Impact!!!!

– Pam Gray, Project Committee Chair