Service learning

Our CSS 560 class is involved in two service learning projects; the Phoebe Creek Restoration Project and the Muddy Squirrel Project.

1) Muddy Squirrel Project

The Muddy Squirrel Project is in collaboration with the Forest Service. The objective of the project is to evaluate the use of prescribed fire for improving the habitat of the as threatened listed Northern Idaho ground squirrel. To reach this objective, accurate forest fuels inventory data are needed. CSS 560 students collect these data while learning about basic forest measurement tools, forest measurement techniques, and basic terminology used in forestry.

Figure 1. Using a clinometer to measure tree height.

2) Phoebe Creek Restoration Project

The Phoebe Creek Restoration Project is in collaboraton with the Nez Perce Tribe-Watershed Division and the Forest Service. The high use of the Phoebe Creek campground located in the South Fork of the Salmon River watershed has caused increased erosion that may threaten the fish population in the South Fork of the Salmon River. To reduce erosion and protecting the fish population, the site has been recently restored by planting native grasses, shrubs, and trees and restricting camping to smaller areas. To monitor the success of the restoration project, vegetation data are needed that quantify the recovery of the vegetation at the site. The CSS 560 class supports this effort by mapping vegetation cover and composition while learning about vegetation sampling methods and techniques.

Figure 2. Vegetation sampling at Phoebe Creek.