Our 2016 Annual Conference was held at Fall Creek Falls State Park on September 16-18. Turnout for this event was higher than in recent years with lots of friends old and new participating in the activities.
Brandon Matheny, professor of mycology at UTK, spoke Friday night on the biology and ecology of fungi, including mycorrhizal fungi and their symbiotic role in plant health and growth. He also brought images of forest mushrooms commonly found in Tennessee.
Dr. Tom Kimmerer (author of Venerable Trees and chief scientist of Venerable Trees, a conservation organization) spoke Saturday evening. Dr. Kimmerer is a tree physiologist and has spent over forty years observing trees and trying to understand them.
Dr. Kimmerer also lead two Saturday field trips: What is Happening in the Woods? In this field trip, Dr. Kimmerer introduced attendees to a lot of concepts about the dynamic nature of trees and forests as well as new discoveries about forests. For example, we have recently learned that old trees grow faster than young trees and that trees share up to 40% of their carbohydrate resources with other trees in the forest. We also talk learned about the 'Wood Wide Web", a term for the complex interactions below ground.
Dr. Larry Pounds lead a field trip along a powerline area to investigate what native plants were currently blooming.