Washington State University graduate student Ross Wickham measures streambed particles.
Washington State University graduate student and NARA researcher Ross Wickham measures streambed particles.

NARA’s Education Team partners with high school teachers in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana to help them prepare student teams to participate in the Imagine Tomorrow competition. This partnership encourages new high school teams to enter the event and helps transfer NARA research to high school teachers so that the research can be incorporated into the classroom curricula.

Webinars are one method used to transfer NARA research to high school teachers, the Imagine Tomorrow teams, and to a general audience. The University of Idaho’s McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS), a NARA affiliate, coordinates the webinar series and post them on their website. These webinars allow NARA researchers to communicate their findings to a high school audience, and offer an opportunity for the general public to learn about varied aspects of the NARA project.

To view MOSS’s webinar archive, visit here.

Recently, two webinars were recorded that highlight NARA’s research to evaluate the environmental sustainability of using forest residuals from logging operations to make bio-based chemical products like biojet fuel.

NARA’s Long-Term Soil Productivity Site

Interested in knowing how removing forest residuals affect forest ecosystems? In the third webinar for the 2014-15 series, NARA researcher Scott Holub describes the work being done at the NARA Long-Term Soil Productivity site (LTSP) in southern Oregon and preliminary data obtained from a 15 year LTSP site at Fall River in Washington. These sites are designed to measure how soil nutrient levels and tree growth productivity are impacted from processing and removing varied amounts of forest residuals from a working forest. The NARA LTSP site also includes experiments to measure the impact to soil moisture levels, soil microbial populations and wildlife.

Forest residual impact on stream channels

In the fourth webinar for the 2014-15 series, NARA researcher John Petrie provides an overview of how forest practices affect streams and describes how his team is measuring the effects of forest residual removal on streamflow and sediment levels. Their work will help establish improved models used to predict how varied forest practices impact streams.

An informative resource for everyone

The webinar site also hosts presentations given last year that cover other NARA research projects such as developing a life cycle assessment that compares the CO2 emissions generated from producing forest residual-based products to petrochemical-based products. Other webinars explore commercial uses for lignin and establishing a supply chain for producing biojet fuel from wood residuals.

These webinars are targeted to a high school level audience and provide an excellent opportunity to learn about the issues and impacts connected to using forest residuals to make chemical products and the research provided by NARA.