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Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park

Research Park Notes
Issue 18, August 7, 2001

Welcome to Research Park Notes! Look for tidbits of information on National Environmental Research Park activities, observations, and users every couple of weeks. To provide newsletter input, request additional information, make comments, or add/delete mailing list names, contact the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Area Manager, Pat Parr.


ARC Students - Mike Ryon, Environmental Sciences Division (ESD), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

A group of high school students under a project sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission worked on the Research Park with Art Stewart and Mike Ryon (both with Environmental Sciences Division, ORNL). The students conducted habitat and water chemistry evaluations, performed snail tagging movement studies, and determined abundances of several types of snails. The work was conducted in the White Oak Creek watershed, at sites outside of the radiologically contaminated sections. The results will be used to supplement ongoing biological monitoring programs for ORNL. A total of five students participated, including Nathan Markey (LaVale, Maryland); Brittany Burtner (Keedysville, Maryland); Paul Swingle (Mt. Perry, Ohio); Eileen Rogers (Toronto, Ohio); and Jameela Johnson (Landrum, South Carolina).

Climate Change Policy Work - Input by Kari Cohen, Research Park Intern (University of Maryland)

Some summer guests have so much fun the first time that they return for a second year. Such is the case with Kristy Fruit, a recent Penn State graduate working with Gregg Marland of ORNL’s Environmental Sciences Division. Their collaboration was so “fruit”-ful last summer that Kristy returned to ORNL this summer to continue working on an idea that has the global climate change policy community buzzing. A big obstacle to getting developed countries to sign onto the Kyoto Protocol was the issue of carbon sinks. Developed countries want to use forests, which sequester carbon from the atmosphere, to offset their carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels. Should negotiators agree to include carbon sinks in the Kyoto Protocol, a credit system for keeping track of carbon inputs and outputs would need to be implemented. Kristy and Gregg had an idea for a carbon credit renting system that would replace what they saw as a flawed, but currently popular, ton-year system. Kristy’s final product as a guest last summer was a poster explaining the credit renting system devised by Gregg and Kristy (which is similar to a system proposed by the government of Colombia). Since then, her poster has been cited in numerous manuscripts that have come out of the global climate change policy community. A paper fully explicating the credit renting system was recently published in the journal, Environmental Science and Policy. This summer it looked like the Kyoto Protocol was doomed after the U.S. backed out and other developed countries were wavering on accepting the treaty. At the 11th hour of a recent meeting in Bonn, however, an agreement was reached, and it now appears likely that the treaty will enter into force in the near future. The agreement signed in Bonn allows for the implementation of a carbon credit system along the lines of what they proposed. As Kristy finishes up her tenure at ORNL, she looks forward to returning to Penn State this fall to finish up a second bachelor’s degree (in liberal arts--her other degree is in geo-environmental engineering) before looking for a job as an engineering consultant (as she says, “I’d rather work with people talking about concrete than just work with concrete”). If the credit renting system that started as her summer poster takes off, however, she may find future employers beating down her door. Go Kristy!

Tall larkspur


Rebecca Cook, professor at Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee, returned to the Research Park this week to do her annual monitoring of the rare Tall Larkspur (Delphinium exaltatum) population which is currently blooming. This population of Tall Larkspur (one of the world's largest) is located on the Oak Ridge Reservation along Bethel Valley Road adjacent to the Bethel Valley Industrial Park. Linda Mann discovered the plants there in the early 1980s and established some preliminary plots for monitoring (which were impacted by severe disturbance a year later). Pat Parr established 100 permanent plots at the site in 1984, and information has been collected on the population annually since then, first by Parr and, in more recent years, by Cook. Look for an update when Cook has had a chance to evaluate the data.


The Roane State ORICL (Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning) course on Nature’s Treasures coordinated by Dave Reichle (former Associate Director at Oak Ridge National Laboratory) and Pat Parr (ORNL) finished up July 25. Lectures the second week of the “short course” included “Birds” by Dev Joslin, “Insects” by Dave Reichle, “Pest Outbreaks” by Warren Webb, and “Nonnative Invasive Plants” by Larry Pounds. The field trip included stops at the Global Climate Change Field Research Facility to see and hear about the Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) Experiment from Nelson Edwards. Warren Webb showed participants pine beetle damage in a nearby site, including signs to look for in the bark. Larry Pounds showed nonnative invasive plants on part of the reservation and, at a stop at Raccoon Creek Barren, discussed characteristics of cedar barrens. Based on comments from participants, using the Research Park as an “outdoor” laboratory for this class has been a great success. To all who participated--as lecturers, field leaders, and “students”--Thank you!


Consider participating in the 12th Annual SAMAB Fall Conference, November 6-8, 2001, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This year's theme is "From Issues to Action: Opportunities for Stewardship in the Southern Appalachians" and focuses on opportunities for stewardship of our region’s natural resources and communities. The conference provides the opportunity to explore how issues can be resolved by actions that link resource managers, citizens, scientists, community groups, political leaders, and policy makers with one another. Especially welcome are stories of citizens working with scientists, scientists working with resource managers, and managers and citizens educating each other as stewards of the Southern Appalachians. Findings of the Southern Forest Resource Assessment will be reviewed, and the Southern Appalachian Regional Information System (SARIS) will be demonstrated. Check out the call for papers (due August 31) at


August 5-8, 2001 – "Globalization and Water Management--The Changing Value of Water," AWRA/University of Dundee International Specialty Conference, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland. More info: Contact AWRA Headquarters [(540) 687-8390] or

August 5-10, 2001 – The 86th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, Madison, Wisconsin. More info:

October 3-6, 2001 – Natural Areas Association Annual Conference at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on “Searching for a Natural Balance.” More info:

November 6-8, 2001 - SAMAB Annual Fall Conference “From Issues to Action: Opportunities for Stewardship in the Southern Appalachians,” Gatlinburg, Tennessee. For more information, visit or call 865-974-4583.

November 12-15, 2001 – Annual Water Resources Conference, Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, Albuquerque, New Mexico. More info: Contact AWRA Headquarters [(540) 687-8390] or

November 26-28, 2001 – Southern Forest Science Conference, Contributions of Forest Research to Sustainable Forestry, Atlanta, Georgia. More info: or call (828) 257-4302.

The Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park was designated by the Department of Energy in 1980 and is one of a network of seven National Environmental Research Parks. It is an Oak Ridge National Laboratory User Facility. The Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park was designated an international biosphere reserve in 1989. It is also a unit member of the Southern Appalachian Biosphere Reserve and part of the Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere (SAMAB) Cooperative. More information on the Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park can be found on the website at:

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Last Modified: September 5, 2001
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