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Environmental Studies [clear filter]
Tuesday, December 6
 

8:20am

Strengthening The Roots: Strategies For Supporting Asheville’s Community Gardens
The Asheville/ Buncombe Community Garden Network is formed of almost two dozen community gardens focused on improving food resilience and availability, and community health through a neighborhood approach to agriculture. As a McCullough Fellow I partnered with Bountiful Cities, a local non-profit that oversees the Garden Network, to do research for planning the for three upcoming projects designed to address some of these challenges: a tool library, a seed library, and a volunteer management program. My research involved gathering all the necessary information that would inform the shape, scope, and direction of these projects. Part of this work involved developing a list of objectives that these programs are trying to meet and creating a program evaluation system to capture how well the projects are meeting the objectives. I will present the results of my systems research, as well as my findings relating to the challenges and needs of community gardens and what strategies are most effective in strengthening local agriculture.


Tuesday December 6, 2016 8:20am - 8:40am
103 Rhoades Robinson Hall

8:40am

Comparison Of Two Sampling Methods Used To Survey The Avian Community In Southern Appalachians Spruce-Fir Forests
The Southern Appalachian Mountains are one of the most biodiverse regions in North America and are home to many endemic species. The region’s spruce-fir forests, comprised of Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) and red spruce (Picea rubens), occur in the high elevations (> 5500 ft.) of western North Carolina, east Tennessee and southwest Virginia. These forests provide significant habitat for many bird species, but are of special concern and are threatened due to climate change, human activity, invasive insects, and air pollution. In this project, two sampling methods were performed to survey the avian community of the Plott Balsam Mountain Range in western North Carolina to compare which method best describes that community. A comparison of the resulting point count data and transect data was determined to understand how the two survey methods differ in terms of both species richness and species evenness. Line transects detected three more species than point counts. Species evenness, calculated using Simpson’s Index of Diversity, was equal between the two methods. The surveys of this project will be used as a baseline for future studies in the regions’ spruce-fir forests.

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Tuesday December 6, 2016 8:40am - 9:00am
103 Rhoades Robinson Hall

9:00am

Investigating Best Practices To Develop A Curriculum For Community Resilience And Food Security
Many counties of Western North Carolina have high levels of food insecurity. One way to address this issue is to provide communities with the tools and training to grow and prepare their own food. Often by implementing systems to address food needs, other positive impacts can emerge, such as helping individuals alleviate depression and encouraging community resiliency. Through a partnership with the non-profit organization Groundswell International, a twelve lesson curriculum was developed and tested over the summer of 2016 as a component of the “Grow Food Where People Live” initiative. This took place in Polk County, North Carolina, at a section 8 housing development known as Ashley Meadows. This project attempted to address possible solutions to food insecurity in Western North Carolina, with a final product that can be applied to any community struggling with food security and community resiliency. The research involved investigating existing models of successful community agriculture projects, as well as using formative and summative evaluation methods to understand what the participants were gaining from the program and how it could be improved. Evaluations were conducted in the form of weekly class assessments, as well as a pre- and post- survey prior to beginning the course and after completion. Several challenges were faced during the project. Participants expressed frustration at circumstances out of their control, for example constraints enforced by the Section 8 housing rules, poor soil, and unbearable Polk County heat. Additional participation incentives may be needed in the future, as well as long-term curriculum evaluation.

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Speakers
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Tuesday December 6, 2016 9:00am - 9:20am
103 Rhoades Robinson Hall