Meeting of the Pines Waypoint Data

Here is the outline of the steps we will be following.

Click here to get the waypoints that mark the perimeter of the study area for Meeting of the Pines.

To save time, I already downloaded soil survey data from Web Soil Survey in a polygon that includes our study area. Click here to download the zip file.

Extra Credit for Conservation Videos

If you missed the videos presentation on March 30, you can still get extra credit by doing the following research project by April, 8th. Find an article on Gifford Pinchot or Mira Lloyd Dock. Fill out the form below. Be sure to explain why this is important or why you found it interesting.

Extra Credit 3-30-16


Finding Waypoints

Here is the map of the locations of the waypoints to find. At each point there is a yellow label with the name of a person or place from forest history that is prominent in the America’s First Forest documentary.

Remote Sensing Type Study Sites FAll 2015

This fall we are using four sites for the Remote Sensing Type Study Project. We made the first visit on 9/2. Above is a map of the areas visited. During the course of the semester we will look at the sites using different types of remote sensing imagery.

Birch Run Reservoir


This was the old site of the Chambersburg Reservoir. The dam was breached and partially removed in the early 2000’s. Since then there have been a significant number of forest plantings on the site. The stream has undergone significant restoration to improve it as a fishery. The surrounding forest is a mixed hardwood and pine forest. Many old pines can be seen poking through the canopy.

Waynesboro Watershed / Chestnut Planting


This site was previously a private farm. It is part of the Waynesboro Watershed property. It has had many experimental plantings  and treatments over the years. Today most of the site is covered by a loblolly pine plantation and a fenced-in American Chestnut test plantation. There is also a mature white pine planted stand. It is surrounded by a mixed hardwood forest and private homes.

Waynesboro Reservoir


The reservoir is thirty acres in area and extends north of the earthen dam. The northwest side was heavily clearcut in the 1970’s leaving a small strip of trees along the shore, but appears to have largely grown in with a uniform stand of hardwoods. The rest of the site is surrounded by mixed hardwood forests. The grassy covering of the dam and the field below it are unique features within the forest.

Seed Orchard/ Golf Course


This site is one of the most unique parts of the Michaux State Forest. It is the only place where a nine-hole golf course sites next to a seed orchard. The seed orchard contains various tree plantings where the trees have been lopped to make it easier to collect seeds. The golf course contains various kinds of turf. The area around the golf course has been kept in a park-like condition with many pine trees. The entire site is on a plateau at the top of the valley.

Below is this year’s FORT 230 class observing the last site.

Wildfire Smoke

This article, from NPR, describes the bad effects of Wildfire smoke. Smoke is a difficult phenomenon to sense with most remote sensing tools. It changes quickly and may not last long. In many ways it’s like sensing other weather phenomena. Here is a link to an Idaho website that aggregates reports on weather conditions. It uses an embedded Google Map overlain with data.


test test test

Looking for a Book Now Means Choosing the Right Medium

What is a book?

I have lately seen publicity for the new movie, Far From the Madding Crowd, based, of course, on the book by Thomas Hardy. I thought it would be fun to read it. I tried several different sources for the book and was amazed at all the options out there.

As this is an old book that is officially outside of copyright, my first step was to go to Project Gutenberg ( I downloaded the epub version, that I then opened with my Nook reader. Strangely, it didn’t have any paragraph breaks, which would make it hard to read! Some of the other versions did have paragraph breaks, though.

Once in Nook, I looked at some of the many versions of the book from different publishers. I chose a twenty page sample of the book from Open Road Publishers, that was available for purchase for $1.99. Not bad! There are many publishers that have lines of economical classic books.

Not wanting to buy a copy, I assumed it would be available in the Mont Alto Campus Library.

The library default search goes, annoyingly, to a general Google search called Lionsearch. If you want a book directly, you need to click The Cat underneath.

Searching for the book I first found a Penguin version of the book through Proquest, but it looks like it’s not the full version. It seemed to have parts of each chapter. ( ) You have to sign in to Penn State to use the link. You can export the reference information in different formats, though.

Finally, I focused the search on an actual book. I did find it in a very old physical copy of the book in the stacks. I checked it out, since it seemed appropriate to read this story in a worn paper version.


And here’s the listing, showing that it is checked out. To me.


I will say that I thoroughly looking through the stacks! It’s great seeing so many real books.

A Bird’s Eye View of a Prescribed Fire

On Friday, May 1, 2015 the Forest Management Practices class visited a three-day old prescribed burn in the Michaux State Forest near Old Forge Road and the gas pipeline. The silvicultural purpose was to remove competition to the desired oak tree regeneration.

I used my DJI Phantom Vision 2 quadcopter to get some aerial images. The first two images clearly show the boundary of the burn. The third shows students studying the burn.


And From the ground. The last image shows the deer fence which was the boundary of the burn.

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Here is a video from two different elevations.



Happy New Year 2015

I got this image on Facebook showing the western hemisphere. I couldn’t find the web site, but I was able to download  the image. Here is the caption from NASA:

NOAA’s GOES-East satellite captured this stunning view of the Americas on New Years Day, Jan. 1, 2015 at 14:45 UTC/9:45 a.m. EST. The data from GOES-East was made into an image by the NASA/NOAA GOES Project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

GOES satellites provide the kind of continuous monitoring necessary for intensive data analysis. Geostationary describes an orbit in which a satellite is always in the same position with respect to the rotating Earth. This allows GOES to hover continuously over one position on Earth’s surface, appearing stationary. As a result, GOES provide a constant vigil for the atmospheric “triggers” for severe weather conditions such as tornadoes, flash floods, hail storms and hurricanes.

Western Hemisphere on New Year's Day from NASA GOES

And here is a link to the Official GOES image gallery:

Washington D.C. Visit

Last Saturday I visited D.C. with a group of Honors students and students from Peggy Russo’s Shakespeare class. We went to see As You Like It in the evening and The National Gallery (among other museums) in the afternoon. Below are a few of my favorite pictures.


This was Shaw’s Memorial. He was the leader of the first regiment of African American soldiers in the Civil War. I would think the memorial sculpture would be named after them.



Love that Medieval art!


Happy couple.


They didn’t allow photography in the Wyeth exhibit. Some fantastic paintings.


Outside the Smithsonian Portrait Museum


All the group in the Sculpture Garden outside the National Gallery.