The Sierra Nevadas were just one of the geographic regions traversed by volunteers in search of bigleaf maples. Photo by Gisele Guerra

With the tremendous effort of more than a hundred volunteers, we succeeded in sampling over 1000 bigleaf maple trees scattered from the canyons of southern California to the fjords of British Columbia for our Timber Tracking project.

The season is all but closed with a total of 972 leaf samples and 86 sets of wood samples. We couldn’t be more proud of this landmark data collection effort, and we’re grateful for each and every one of our volunteers.

The samples the team collected will be used to build a genetic database of the species, which will give authorities a powerful new tool to identify the origin of suspicious timber, and bring an end to the activities of illegal loggers.

In the animation below, watch the samples fill the map of bigleaf maple’s range as the dates of the season run by at the bottom.

With all the samples collected, the team is now focused on wrapping up and celebrating. Sampling gear needs to be returned, we hosted a virtual happy hour webinar, and there’s the end-of-the-season survey for volunteers to fill out. The feedback from surveys like this help us constantly learn from our volunteers and shape each field season for each project to be a success.

Although we’re sad to say goodbye to the leafy season, we are excited to keep working with each of our volunteers over the fall and winter months. And further down the line we’ll share our comprehensive 2018 field season summary and reports on our partners’ preliminary scientific findings. 

Thanks everyone who participated directly in the project, as well as everyone who supported it through your broader support of Adventure Scientists!