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Field Program

[Image Description: Two MCC members taking a brief break; one is sitting on a rock, the other is standing nearby. They are both in their uniforms, looking out at the expansive, mountain view surrounding them.]

Section from Nya’s Journal “Tuesday 6/4/24”

A picture of a tree with "deep burn" drawn on it in red. There are circles and arrows pointing to the areas of dead burn.

“Then we went to our work area and learned to do interior markings for salvage prescription of Douglas Firs. First, you identify Doug Fir which was the hardest part for me because I am still learning which trees have which identifying markers.

Doug Firs have a pale-ish brown bark that has groves and is not flake-like. They are also a darker green than Larch.

Larch have puzzle-piece bark that is slightly lime green.

Subalpine Firs have smooth bark with blister-like bumps all around.

Anything else is a Spruce for me. But Spruce also has a down swoop in its branches.

After identifying a tree as Doug, we must declare it dead or alive. We first look at the crown to see if more than 30% of the branches are visible or bare. The trees should also be green not orange or slightly curled at the tips.

Then we look at the trunk for the degree of burn. There are light, moderate, and deep degrees. I like to add the in-between for a better range. Light, you have burns and might be black but the formation of the bark is still intact.

Moderate, the burn has smoothed out or is not the shape of the tree. Deep, smooth, the bark has come off. This is the second hardest part for me currently. There is a certain percentage of moderate or deep burn based on the diameter of the tree to tell if it is dead or not.

To take the diameter you go to the high point of the tree and measure up 4’6”. For me, that is the bottom of my chin. Then at that point on the tree measure the diameter with the diameter tape measurer. If it is between 7 and 17 and has less than half of moderate burn I think then it is alive… I think. Above 17 is 75 percent I think, I am not sure off the top of my head, or really anything in this paragraph.

I like how often when we make a dead diagnosis we make a death joke. Like “I declare this Doug dead”, “Rest in pieces Doug fir”, or “Time of death, a while ago.”.

I keep feeling like I am making bad calls and leaving either alive trees as dead or dead trees as alive.

I also kinda feel bad cause I am always asking someone (Usually Grace or one of the project partners) to confirm my tree identity or to look at the canopy for me. There was one part of today when none of us had seen a Doug fur in a while and I forgot what it looked like.

Our project partners stayed with us until 2:30 to teach and make sure we did the interior correctly. I like them. Hazen has never done tree salvage before but I keep acting as if he did, but he's been helpful nevertheless. Ira is an alright teacher. He is to the point and kind of elaborates I guess it is because the material is vague itself.

I have always had difficulty identifying trees. But everyone was right, you really learn once you are in the field and see it for yourself. I keep asking for confirmation of my tree identification and when I am wrong it helps me know which characteristics go to which.