2007 Progress Report: Establishment of a Center for Cedar Glade Studies

EPA Grant Number: X832331
Title: Establishment of a Center for Cedar Glade Studies
Investigators: Walck, Jeffrey L. , Sadler, Kim C. , Hemmerly, Thomas E. , 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 Period Covered by this Report: October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007
Project Amount: $193,900
RFA: Targeted Research Grant (2004) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Targeted Research

Objective:

To provide opportunities on the ecology of cedar glades; increase educator knowledge and skills on the topic of cedar glades; act as a clearinghouse to provide information on cedar glades to the public; and create a network of organizations to identify research and outreach needs for cedar glades.

Progress Summary:

(1) Progress Accomplishments —
Education Component

  • Roundtable session conducted September 23, 2006 at Tennessee Environmental Education Association Annual Conference (An Introduction to Cedar Glades)
    • 150 conference attendees received a CD-ROM with PowerPoint presentation, pamphlet, and piloted activities
  • Workshop conducted November 17, 2006 at Tennessee Science Teachers Association Conference (A Cedar Glade Activity Sampler)
    • 50 participants received a CD-ROM with PowerPoint presentation, pamphlet, and workshop activities; rock and sediment samples; and a poster.
  • Workshop conducted March 31, 2007 at Tennessee Environmental Education Association spring meeting at Cedars of Lebanon State Park
    • 60 participants received revised a CD-ROM with PowerPoint presentation, pamphlet, and activities
  • Television program broadcast April 17, 2007 through MTSU Video-Conferencing Satellite technology (Zoning Out in Glades)
    • 8 viewing counties and 20 elementary student studio audience participants
  • Workshop conducted April 19, 2007 for Rutherford County Schools (Cedar Glades: Rockin’ and Talkin’ at Flat Rock)
    • 28 participants received CD-ROM with PowerPoint presentation, wildflower guide, brochure, and piloted activities
  • Invited seminar presentation May 29, 2007 for MTSU Science Methods course (Elementary Student Research in Cedar Glades)
    • 24 participants received CD-ROM with PowerPoint presentation, wildflower guide, brochure, and piloted activities
  • Activity lesson plans.
    • Activity lesson plans expanded to include lower elementary, interactive learning games to complement lessons under development, pre- and post-test surveys administered for year 2.
    • Lesson plans revised for publication on website
    • Activity lesson notebook formatting and structure under development; artwork in draft
  • Incorporated students from one Summer Ecology Courses (24 students) in research projects and toured glades to discuss glade ecology

Research Component

  • Cedar glade species richness study
    • Prepared plant specimens and deposited them in the herbarium at Stones River National Battlefield.
    • Finished data analysis.
    • Thesis prepared, submitted, and approved. Graduate student graduated in May 2007.
    • Manuscript on study is currently under review in peer-reviewed journal.
    • Presented paper at Scholars Week at Middle Tennessee State University in April 2007.
  • Closure of glades project
    • As a follow-up the the species-richness study, investigated the utilization of old aerial photographs for delineating glades for future studies on closure of glades due to invasion of woody plants.
  • Seed germination of cedar glade plants studies
    • Preliminary manuscripts prepared and assessed for additional work on the following species: Forestiera ligustrina, Ligustrum sinense, Berchemia scandens.
    • Enlisted a graduate student at the University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY) to conduct microscopy work on seeds of Berchemia scandens.

Overall Center’s Tasks

  • Website updated and posted
  • Center office and library established
  • RR team reorganized consisting of 2 faculty advisors, 1 graduate student, 1 undergraduate student, and 3 teachers (elementary, middle, high schools).
  • Held a 1-day Research Roundtable consisting of 24 participants from 15 organizations.
  • Flat Rock Glade flower guide completed and first edition printed.
  • Cedar Glade informational pamphlet second revision completed and printed.
  • Video footage obtained through MTSU and Rutherford County television services (Dr. Quarterman interview, student research in the glades in fall and spring, Todd Crabtree interview at Flat Rock); video script under editorial review.
  • Development team for poster assigned and planning format underway

(2) Summary of Projects ― Outlined below are key results of various studies in our project and their significance (Table 1).

Table 1. Findings of key projects and their significance to the field, general goals of the award, relevance to Agency’s mission, and potential practical applications.

Major Task

Key results

Significance

Impact of field ecology experiences on elementary student knowledge and attitude.

  1. Elementary student knowledge increased in second and fifth grade students.
  2. Student attitude decreased in both second and fifth grade students.
  3. Student collected data regarding glade plant distribution was similar to that reported by Hemmerly in Wildflowers of the South.

Field ecology experiences with elementary students can improve student knowledge about that particular system; however field experiences offer challenges that may impact attitude not associated with the classroom such as heat, insects, and lack or other amenities. Student collected data in this study was an accurate representation of existing literature on glade plant distribution.

Determinants of species richness on glades

  1. Species richness increases as glade area and perimeter increase, but no area threshold occurred among the endemic species.
  2. Invasion of exotic species is unrelated to native richness.

Species richness on glades follows typical island biogeography theory. However, the invasion of exotic species does not support the diversity-resistance hypothesis. Thus, (1) glades of all sizes are important in conservation efforts particularly for acting as corridors and (2) exotic species invasion on glades is unique probably since community structure in glades is governed more by stress than competition.

Research Roundtable

  1. Twenty-four people attended the Research Roundtable held 11 May 2007 at Middle Tennessee State University, representing 15 organizations.
  2. Key needs were identified: (1) identify vegetation types for rapid ecological assessment, (2) conservation partners need to meet and a regional planning process undertaken, (3) determine linkages to hydrologic issues in the region, and (4) define how glades are affected by human use.
  3. Meetings in the future should resolve issues dealing with vegetation classification, consider inviting participants from other states with glades and similar rock outcrops, and organize a vegetation sampling reconnaissance.

First of its kind, a 1-day workshop was held to allow interaction among key stake-holders for cedar glades and facilitate focus on research needs of cedar glades.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 13 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

terrestrial, southeastern United States, Tennessee, plant surveys, environmental education, rare plants, educator awareness, island biogeography, student knowledge,

Relevant Websites:

http://www.nashvillefossils.com/glades/glades.html Exit
http://www.mtsu.edu/~mtsucee Exit

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 2006 Progress Report
  • Final Report