Research Experiences

A plot of Pin oaks surrounded by tall grass
A plot of Pin oaks surrounded by tall grass. Located in Warefield, a research portion of the Morton Arboretum.

Hello everyone!


I can not believe my ten weeks are done, and that this is my last day at the Arboretum. While here, I have learned so much, and not just about my own project. The chance to hear about other URFs projects and even help them has allowed me to experience a variety of research.  This has definitely been one of my favorite parts of this summer.

Through my own project, I learned how to install a SFM1 Sap Flow Meter. This is the first time the Arboretum is using Sap Flow Meter, and I am glad I had the chance to be part of the process of finding innovating ways to use this brand new technology.
Two people in front of a tree, measuring where on the trunk 1 meter from the ground is
Preparing to install the sap flow meter
My project also gave me the chance to learn how to core trees.
A person using a blue hollow hand drill to take an increment core from a pin oak
Christine teaching me how to core a tree
A person pulling a tree core out of the hollow part of a hand drill that has bored into the trunk of a tree
I am taking a tree core out of the corer
Christine Carrier
My entire project took place in Warefield, a section of the Arboretum just for research. Before my internship, I didn’t even know this part of the Arboretum existed.
A plot of trees surrounded by tall grass
The section of Warefield where my research took place
My changed over the course of the summer, and I am no longer using the drone, however I still learned how to fly it during my early weeks here. This was super exciting, and an experience I would likely have never had if not for my time at the Arboretum.  I also learned how to make a 3D model from the pictures the drone took.
A person flying a drone low to the ground near a oak tree
Learning to fly a drone
Helping out fellow URF Alyssa gave my a sneak peak into the world of leaf nutrient analysis. I got to help out with the process from collecting samples to measuring and grinding.
Four severed branches on the ground with plastic bags with twig samples below them.
Collecting leaf and twig samples
four leaves laid out on white paper with a ruler below them
We took photos of the leaves with a ruler next to them. This was so that the program ImageJ could measure the area of each leaf.
A mortar and pestle filled with ground up leaves. A tiny jar with ground of leafs inside of it.
We grinded leaves in the mortar and pestle so their Nitrogen content could be analyzed

I also had the chance to get a taste of lab work while helping Alyssa prepare the DNA samples she needed for her project.

A blue container filled with numbered plastic vials
I helped Alyssa get all her vials labeled
There is so much amazing research happening at the Arboretum, and I am so happy I had the chance to be a part of it this summer.