Fort Edwards begins a Tree Ring Study Project
Recently The Fort Edwards Foundation obtained a generous grant from the Potomac Headwaters Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Region to do a study of tree rings in the region. This study should reveal several kinds of information about earlier times in Hampshire County. Dendrochronology is the study of tree ring characteristics which allow the dating of trees and timbers over long periods of time. This study should establish a timeline back to colonial days in Hampshire County. With this kind of information one could test the beams of a house and tell when the tree was harvested.
Study of the relationship among the various rings reveals details about the climate in which the tree grew. This gives historians an insight into the growing conditions our early settlers faced. Further study of the rings and of the relationship among trees can tell something about other characterists of the place and time where the tree grew. For example, it could reveal the date and frequency of forest fires.
Dr. James Rentch, Assistant Research Professor, Division of Forestry and Natural Resources at West Virginia University has agreed to direct the project for the Foundation. Dr. Rentch has an extensive background in both academic research and private industry. One of his current projects at West Virginia University is a study of baseline conditions in mixed northern hardwood-red spruce stands in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. He also has projects ongoing in the George Washington National Forest and in Canaan Valley
In September, 2009, Dr. Rentch met with Charles Hall, Director of Research for The Fort Edwards Foundation, and they outlined the scope of the Foundation's dendrochronology project. Sometime in 2010 they will begin boring trees in Hampshire County and researching bore information already obtained by other investigators. Further information on Dr. Rentch's qualifications may be found here .
Further information on the study of tree rings may be found on the Ultimate Tree-Ring Web Pages.
We invite you to keep checking this page to follow the progress of this interesting project that should shed much light on early conditions of Hampshire County.