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  • April 26, 2018

    Field season has come again, and it is almost time for the arrival of those days I had forgotten I was longing for all winter. Several sensors are on the fritz, the ground is soft and wet, ready for us to gather soil by the gallon for calibrations, and the bears will be waking up soon, if they are not stirring already. Field work forms the glamorous side of the otherwise unglamorous undertaking of long term monitoring, in our case the constant collection of data on soil moisture and weather.

  • October 31, 2017

    If you want to be an ecologist, creativity and problem solving are two skills you'll need on your resume. Anyone who conducts field work quickly learns that unpredictability is an unavoidable element of the job. Across our own iRON network, the culprits of mayhem at the stations have ranged from rodents eating electrical cords to trees yanking out guy wires. (When a tree falls in the forest, I get an error notification.)

  • July 12, 2017

    In the last week of June researchers and interns from the Colorado Natural Heritage Program joined forces with Colorado Mountain Colleges students and faculty, AGCI, and other local community members to conduct a Bioblitz on the Spring Valley property near the CMC campus. A Bioblitz is an intensive event where data are collected on things living in a given area. Plants and birds, bugs and mammals are all counted and classified to give a sense of the property's biodiversity. It's a time of long hours and enthusiastic collaboration.

  • June 06, 2017

    A new field season has begun, and with it comes new ideas and a new intern from Colorado Mountain College. This summer our intern will be helping with field work, carrying out equipment calibrations, participating in the Spring Valley Bioblitz, and conducting some research of his own. This fall, Asa DeHaan will be entering his senior year in the CMC 4-year program for a degree in Sustainability. We're very excited to welcome Asa to the AGCI team!

    Asa DeHaan

  • April 06, 2017

    Earlier this week, a coworker and I had the pleasure of joining an Ecoflight over the Spring Valley property. The property is located just above the Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley Campus near Glenwood Springs. The flight was coordinated by a CMC student whose senior thesis centers around investigating the ecological health of the property, and other passengers included a photographer for the Post Independent, students of photography, and CMC Sustainability Bachelor Degree candidates.

  • February 09, 2017

    Here in the Roaring Fork Valley, 2017 launched with what felt like an unseasonably warm start. In the picture above, a mid-January site visit to Spring Valley revealed 16 inches of snow on the ground, but the balmy air got us thinking. A cold snap followed shortly after. Today with Basalt temperatures in the upper 50's it feels like almost spring again. Curious to find out if we just perceived this weather as unusual or if the numbers actually backed up our perceptions, we turned to the data.

  • October 28, 2016

    As winter snows and elk calving season approach, the field season for 2016 nears its end, offering a chance to reflect upon the summer's progress. It was a great season, full of new partnerships, ecological exploration, and calibrations. The photo series below shows just a few of the season's highlights.

  • July 07, 2016

    There are currently two sites located on the North Star Preserve, one located within the aspen grove and one located near the aspen grove, in a transition zone between a fen and a meadow. Because the sites are located far from any buildings, checking the sites during any mishap requires an in-person visit. Elise, AGCI’s research associate, and I prepared ourselves for various outcomes. In the area where the station is located, multiple sources of disturbance to the station are always possible. Signs of bears, moose, and elk are all common in the area. Alternatively, there are many small mammals that could have chewed through the wires and caused the iRON equipment to stop collecting data. We armed ourselves with bear spray and reflective tape to fend small mammals off any exposed wires and brought along a toolbox with the full suite of equipment necessary to fix a toppled tower.

  • March 08, 2016

    While Aspen and the high country enjoyed a dusting of snow over the weekend, lower elevations in Basalt, Carbondale, and Glenwood Springs instead just felt a deluge of cold rain. In a semi-arid state like Colorado, any type of precipitation usually seems like a good thing, but whether that precipitation comes in the form of rain or snow can make a difference to ecosystem conditions that lasts throughout the growing season.

  • November 18, 2015

    With the oldest of our stations having been installed in 2012, the iRON is a relatively young network. Our vision, though, is to collect data not just for a few years, but for decades and generations to come. While this vision is perhaps ambitious, it draws upon the inspiration and experience provided by examples of successful long term monitoring efforts.