Student Focus - Stacy Birch
I grew up in southern Vermont where my parents, grandparents, and uncle own and manage many acres of northern hardwood for maple syrup production. Most of my childhood memories involve traipsing around the woods “helping” do firewood with my dad and sugaring in the spring with my family. It was these experiences and many more that sparked my interest in forest management and forest ecology. I completed my Bachelors of Science in Ecology at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA amidst soy and corn fields. To get a bit closer to the big woods I came to the University of Maine to pursue a M.S. degree in an area where I could study in both northern hardwood and spruce-fir forest types.
My research involves looking at the forest disturbance history and stand dynamics in an Acadian Forest Old Growth Reserve in Baxter State Park’s Scientific Forest Management Area. Specifically, I am characterizing structural and composition attributes of the overstory, gaps, and coarse woody material. I am also reconstructing a detailed natural disturbance history of the Reserve linking temporal and spatial data. The information obtained from this project will be used as a benchmarking standard for forest managers practicing natural disturbance-based silviculture. My research project is being funded by a McIntire-Stennis research assistantship, a Northeastern States Research Cooperative Grant, and supplemental funds from a University of Maine Graduate Student Government Grant.
When I’m not knee deep in literature or tree cores I can be found wandering aimlessly with a camera in the University Forest, (a short jaunt from my Old Town apartment). I spend all my other spare time brook fishing, bobber fishing, ice fishing, and kayaking.