Establishment of a Center for Cedar Glade StudiesEPA Grant Number: X832331
Title: Establishment of a Center for Cedar Glade Studies
Investigators: Walck, Jeffrey L. , Hemmerly, Thomas E. , Sadler, Kim C. , Smith-Walters, Cindi
Institution: Middle Tennessee State University
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: October 1, 2005 through September 30, 2007 (Extended to September 30, 2008)
Project Amount: $193,900
RFA: Targeted Research Grant (2004) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Targeted Research
Cedar glades, rocky (limestone) open areas occupied by herbaceous plants, are a hotspot of plant endemism and rarity in North America. Moreover, caves associated with this karst ecosystem are vital for hydrology and many cave-dwelling species. Middle Tennessee contains the greatest concentration of glades, but ca. 90% of this ecosystem has been adversely impacted. The purpose of the proposed project is to establish a “Center for Cedar Glade Studies” (CCGS) at Middle Tennessee State University.
The main goals of the CCGS is to (1) provide research opportunities on the ecology of glades, (2) increase educator knowledge and skills about glades, (3) act as a clearinghouse to provide information on glades to the public, and (4) create a network of organizations to identify research and outreach needs for glades.
The research component of this proposal focuses on factors influencing species richness of glades, augmenting knowledge on how to establish/manage glade preserves, restore degraded glades, and create (“green roofs”) glades. Presence/absence of species on glades at the Stones River National Battlefield will be recorded, and data on environmental variables collected from field work and aerial photographs. Five aspects will be examined via regression analyses: species (native nonendemic, endemic, exotic) richness vs. glade area; minimum area thresholds for exotics and endemics; exotic and endemic richness with on-site disturbance, distance to another glade (isolation), and soil depth; exotic invasiveness with regard to native species richness; and endemic richness with regard to exotic invasiveness. In addition, a workshop will be held to develop strategic research and management plans for the cedar glade ecosystem.
The education component is designed to increase public awareness and teach K-12 teachers and their students about glades. A K-12 curriculum, aligned with the Tennessee Science Curriculum Standards and the National Science Education Standards, will be developed and activities will be pilot- and field-tested with preservice and in-service teachers. An educational research and review team, composed of three teachers (one high school, one middle school, one elementary school) and one high school student, will engage in field research working with a college undergraduate and graduate student and work in curriculum development and testing. Cedar glade information appropriate for public use will be developed and distributed primarily via the internet, and a workshop will be held for educators.