Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

Erik Meyer (Click arrows to see additional photos.)Nick AmperseeMadeline BrownRachel FriesenJade Star LackeyKatherine Dynarski (left) and Kaitlin Murray

Sequoia-Kings Canyon hosts Science Symposium in Three Rivers

John Elliott / Sarah Elliott


Over a two-day period, staff at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks welcomed scientists who have conducted research in the southern Sierra Nevada to St. Anthony Retreat in Three Rivers where the esteemed guests shared their research findings that will assist in determining the future of stewardship in their various realms of expertise. Topics addressed during the presentations Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 13 and 14, included fire and forests and giant sequoias, climate and drought, wildlife and aquatic ecosystems, and caves, to name a few.
The experts in attendance included National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and U.S. Forest Service scientists; academics from more than a half-dozen research universities; and representatives with nonprofit organizations. 
Several now-retired Sequoia-Kings Canyon researchers also provided presentations, including Tom Nichols, who was on the cutting edge of prescribed fire in the local parks; Dave Parsons, research scientist and former director of the Aldo Leopold Research Institute; and Dave Graber, Pacific West Region chief scientist.
Here are some of the 27 Symposium participants who provided poster presentations of recent fieldwork and were on hand to discuss their findings. They share what they learned from their research.
Erik Meyer, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Description: Using automated acoustic recorders to uncover patterns of avian presence in a Sequoia forest 
“It has been amazing to learn the amount of information you can get from a soundscape. The incredible ecological information is obvious, but those same recordings can help visitors to better connect with their parks and the resources.” 
Nick Ampersee, USGS-Sequoia-Kings Canyon Field Station
Description: Blue oak mortality during extreme drought in Sequoia National Park
“Our research into this area of the foothills in Sequoia has just begun but if we continue to have high mortality without regeneration we will have a change in ground cover.” 
Madeline Brown, U.C. Merced
Description: Surveying baseline visitor-use infrastructure and recreational amenities
“It's important to communicate the management expectations the public perceives when they visit these complex landscapes — Giant Sequoia: Forest, Monument or Park? — and, why different designations for these various landscapes matter."
Rachel Friesen, American Rivers (Washington, D.C.)
Description: Evaluating and prioritizing Sequoia and Kings Canyon’s wilderness meadows for restoration
“Most of these meadows are not pristine… many have been overgrazed. Restoration of impacted meadows has the potential to benefit both wildlife and water supply.”
Jade Star Lackey, Pomona College
Description: What are the actual precious and base metal abundances of the historic mines of Mineral King?
“There are so many interesting stories about the geology of the Sierra Nevada in one place — Mineral King. I think of it as a great time capsule of the most beautiful geology of the Sierra Nevada."
Katherine Dynarski (left) and Kaitlin Murray, U.C. Davis
Description: Girls' Outdoor Adventure in Leadership and Science (GOALS) in Sequoia National Park
“When you are able to take passionate people who see a need and connect them with resources and community support, you can create radical change. And that can be a life-changing experience for everyone involved."