Spring 2019:10
The Conservation Exchange
at Warren Wilson College
Sharing Ideas, Passion and Resources
for Sustainable Land Stewardship
A Note from the Dean of Land Resources
Now that the semester is over and things have settled down a bit, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came out and participated in our Earth Week and Power of Place events. It is wonderful to be part of an engaged conservation community that understands and values this land upon which we live, work and play. I hope you will enjoy reading about some of our student successes, research efforts, community events and upcoming projects - as well as our expansion of outreach into the social media realm!
Enjoy the summer and all these mountains have to offer!
Stream Mitigation Partners Give Financial Gift and Resources to College Farm
A major stream mitigation project will begin on the College Farm in August 2019. Working with Restoration Systems, the College will be restoring several channelized streams back to more natural courses. During the initial stages of the project RS made a generous gift to the College Farm. These funds were given as a matching gift during "WWC Giving Day" and will be used to purchase new equipment for the Farm and to help with transitioning to some new pasture layouts. We want to thank Restoration Systems and we look forward to working with them on the project. A full story on the project will be released in late summer.
Science Communication Puts WWC Land on the Digital Map!
We are excited to announce that you will now be able to keep up with our research, events calendar, student success stories and management activities through the development of digital media resources. Peter Erb, Coordinator of Science Communication (shown here filming flammulated owls), will initially be focusing on film and photography with plans for adding podcast media in the future. Our primary goal for this media is to share our educational resources with the community via social media and online outlets. We are currently producing educational video and photo content that includes DIY videos, a species ID series titled "Noticing Nature", research features, short documentary films, and daily documentation of sustainable land management activities. Follow Conservation Exchange at the links below and please share with anyone you know who is interested in sustainable land stewardship!
Prestigious Fulbright Research Scholarships Awarded
to WWC Land Students

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 2,000 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide. Fulbright U.S. Student alumni populate a range of professions and include ambassadors, members of Congress, judges, heads of corporations, university presidents, journalists, artists, professors, and teachers. (Fulbright 2019)
Nick Macalle BS Environmental Studies '18, Ecological Forestry; Landscape Crew
This research project will take place on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, a key landmass in the Wallacea hotspot and a tropical biogeographic region with significant levels of endemism and biodiversity. Nick and his research partner Dian Ayu (also pictured) will analyze the impact of coffee agriculture intensification on soil fertility, biodiversity, crop productivity, and farmer livelihood within this biodiversity hotspot. WWC professor Dr. Siti Kusujiarti is a collaborator on this project.
Keaton Scanlon BS Environmental Studies '18, Ecological Forestry; Garden Crew
This project will be conducted in various physiographic regions throughout Senegal, West Africa. Keaton will be collecting and cataloging native medicinal and edible plants. This data will then be compiled in a format that may be used by locals who wish to share the information with their communities, especially the younger generation who have grown up further removed from this knowledge. The project is intended to be a celebration of Senegalese native plants, medicine, food, and culture.
Warren Wilson College and Asheville Museum of Science Team up for Summer Sustainability Science Pub Series

Sustainable Communities through Healthy Building Design, Clean Energy, and Land Stewardship
Thursdays from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm | June 27, July 11, & August 22
Collider in Downtown Asheville

Thursday, June 27 at 5:30 pm, hear from some of the most reputable green builders in WNC on how using climate science to create sustainable home design is making a significant impact on the region. Moderator and Associate Dean of Work, Paul Bobbitt, will lead an expert panel of Warren Wilson alumni in the green building field featuring Green Built Alliance, Jade Mountain Builders, JAG and Associates Construction, River Birch Builders, and Steel Root Builders to share how future innovations and considerations in design are shaping a healthy future in Western North Carolina.
Thursday, July 11 at 5:30 pm with Clean Energy featuring local updates on clean energy issues by Buncombe County Commissioner Brownie Newman followed by a panel of Warren Wilson alumni in the renewable energy field with Community Action Opportunities, Headwaters Solar, SolFarm Solar, and Sugar Hollow Solar.
Thursday, August 22 at 5:30 pm, Dave Ellum, Dean of Land Resources at Warren Wilson College will present on innovative land management practices for land owners and those interested in stewarding the land for sustainable agriculture and agroforestry . Dave will facilitate an expert panel of Warren Wilson alumni managing local businesses and partnerships in the land management world.
Selected Student and Faculty Research
From the Past Year
Briana Edwards , ENS/Sustainable Agriculture '19 , conducted research on honey bee pollen preference, utilizing the WWC Garden and one off-site apiary. Briana took samples of pollen collected by bees and used microscopy to identify the species of plant visited by the hives. She compared a diverse range of pollen morphologies, established methods for identifying types of pollen in the WWC lab, and set a course for future pollinator research at the college.
Abby Doyle, ENS/Ecological Forestry '19, conducted research on the feasibility of cultivating American ginseng under young white pine plantations. Early results indicate that the pine grown roots have lower biomass than those cultivated under hardwoods after the first two years of growth, but root branching - an important indicator of economic value - was more complex. Data indicate that this may be related more to soil conditions than overstory composition.
Dave Ellum and a colleague from Yale University contributed to the USDA/USFS Report " Assessment of Nontimber Forest Products in the U.S. Under Changing Conditions ". The report synthesizes what is currently known about the economics and ecology of these important natural resources with an assessment of future production under changing climate. Ellum's chapter focuses on silviculture practices for producing and protecting NTFP's as sustainable compliments to timber-based forest management practices.
Reid Overton, ENS/Sustainable Agriculture and Ecological Forestry '20, is conducting research on an alternative weaning method for calves that could replace the Farm's current fence line method. This two step method employs a removable plastic nose flap that allows the calves to stay with their mothers and graze but not nurse. Reid is tracking the production of biological stress indicators by taking blood samples from calves as well as tracking performance (weight gain) over the lifetime of the animal. Results will also be interpreted from ecological and community welfare perspectives.
Corinna Steinrueck, ENS/Ecological Forestry '19 worked with colleagues from Yale University to assess the effects of "Whole Tree Harvesting", a common practice for biomass operations, on forest soil carbon. The study shows a strong relationship between soil carbon and microbial activity, meaning that lower carbon stocks resulting from this timber harvest method could affect nutrient cycling. This relationship could be further influenced by climate change and increased rates of decomposition leading to overall reduced soil carbon stocks in eastern US forests.
Conservation Biology Professor Liesl Erb is working with Mammalogy professors from across the US and Canada to investigate the impact of habitat fragmentation and urbanization on ground and tree squirrel behavior. The study enlists students on college campuses nationwide to collect squirrel behavioral information and uses the resulting database to answer the study team's conservation research questions, while also assessing the impact participation in such research has on student learning. WWC's data are particularly valuable to the study due to the campus' rural setting, location in the Southeast, and small liberal arts education approach.
Upcoming Projects
Land Resources Investigating Hemp Production
The industrial hemp industry is coming to Western North Carolina. Hemp is a viable agricultural crop that can bring significant economic value to the region and can play an important role in diversifying agricultural systems in the face of changing conditions. Current hemp uses include bioplastics, biofuels, paper, food products, cosmetics, medicine/supplements, clothing and building materials. Through research and education, the Sustainable Agriculture Program, along with the Environmental Studies and Business Departments, can make significant contributions to best management practices such as variety trials, seeding and harvesting methods, processing and market analysis. We're beginning work with regional stakeholders and the NC Industrial Hemp Commission with plans for a first planting in Spring 2020.
Archeology and Forestry Crews to Create Living History Village
In Spring 2020, we will begin work on the recreation of several 15th-century Pisgah culture houses at the Warren Wilson Archeological Site. Dr. David Moore will oversee the construction which will utilize traditional materials, tools and technologies. The work will be integrated into WWC Archeology classes, but will also provide opportunities for other students and the general public to participate through workshops and volunteer days. Once completed, t he Living History Village will serve as a unique educational resource for the Warren Wilson College community and anyone interested in the history and culture of the region.
´╗┐Interested in Giving to The Conservation Exchange?
Your generous gift will go towards helping us maintain and improve the research and educational infrastructure of our land and will support continued outreach opportunities for the Warren Wilson College Conservation Community. To give, go to the link below, choose " Other" and designate " Conservation Exchange" on the form. Thank you for being part of our Conservation Community!