May was an exciting month of learning as myself and a few colleagues at the State Climate Office of NC attended three forestry-related meetings/conferences!
Ryan Boyles, our state climatologist, and I attended the 2012 Pine Integrated Network: Education, Mitigation, and Adaptation Project (PINEMAP) Annual meeting in Atlanta. The internal project team, which consists of 40+ members, discussed highlights and outcomes over the past year as well as project integration ideas for the next four years. Ryan and I gave a presentation on as well as facilitated a group activity on the PINEMAP Decision Support System, which will be a critical aspect of project integration since all PINEMAP members will contribute to the DSS, including the four research sub-groups as well as the education and extension sub-groups. By the end of this year, a pilot of the PINEMAP DSS will be released with decision support tools to help the forestry community make better decisions while reducing their risk due to several factors, such as climate, genetics, and economics.
The next conference, the 2012 Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (ANREP) Conference, was attended by myself, Adrienne Wootten, and Rebecca Cumbie as well as three other climatologists from the Southeast US region. This conference was held in beautiful Hendersonville, NC and focused on collaboration, sharing of knowledge, and generation of ideas about natural resource extension and engagement programs. The attendees brought back new insights into how natural resource extension professionals view climate-related issues as well as many ideas about reaching individuals through education and extension programs. Additionally, I was a co-presenter in a workshop and spoke about the PINEMAP project as well as aspects of the field of climate science and how it relates to natural resources. We took field trips to the Coweeta Long Term Ecological Research station, the Mountain Research Horticultural Center, and the NC Arboretum. At the end of the conference, the new ANREP Climate Science Initative (CSI) met to discuss the need for professional development with regards to Extension climate programming and resources.
The month of May concluded with my trip to the joint American Meteorological Society meeting between the 30th Conference on Agricultural and Forest Meteorology and the 1st Conference on Atmospheric Biogeosciences in Boston. This meeting highlighted research, which is being performed internationally, on lower atmospheric processes as related to agriculture and forestry. This research includes several field studies within forests and several studies about the energy balance closure problem. Several other interesting presentations were given about urban climatology and the difference in land-atmosphere interactions between urban and rural sites. The conference web site has many of the presentations recorded.