Forest Watch conducts basic and applied research on New England forest ecosystems. Research data is collected by teachers & students (gr. K-12), sampled from trees in their study plot.

Study Species
  • White Pine
  • Sugar Maple

The Forest Watch program is funded by the New Hampshire Space Grant Consortium, located at Univ. of New Hampshire Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space.

Who we are... Forest Watch staff...
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Forest Watch Twigs
    January 2011

  sugar maple leaf

Maple Watch: Bald Mountain, Campton, New Hampshire
A LEAF FROM a sugar maple on Bald Mountain in Campton, NH, at right, shows the damage of a smog event which occurred on May 26, 2010. Forest Watch research indicates this was caused by peroxyacetyl nitrate, a powerful oxidant. Learn more about this unusual event and how it ties in with the Forest Watch program.
Photo, Martha Carlson

Remembering Christa McAuliffe
THIS YEAR marks the 25th anniversary of the loss of the Challenger and its crew of astronauts, including Christa McAuliffe, a social studies teacher from Concord, New Hampshire.  Forest Watch was initiated 20 years ago to commemorate McAuliffe and her dedication to learning about space. 

In 1986, Concord High science teacher Phil Browne appealed to NASA scientists to help his students regain their trust in science and in NASA. UNH scientist Barry Rock, recently transferred from NASA, answered Browne. Together, they brainstormed Forest Watch.

Dr. Rock and Browne have recently retold their story for Channel 11, Channel 9, New Hampshire Magazine and other news organizations. Watch the TV channels on January 28th for their shows.

Check out the January 10 issue of New Hampshire Magazine about “The Triumph of Challenger.” Browne speaks movingly of how inspired he was by McAuliffe’s ideas and enthusiasm.

Calling All Students to a Forest Watch Convention

  student presentations
TO CELEBRATE Christa’s life and her inspiration to Forest Watch, we plan a Forest Watch Student Convention, Friday, May 27, at UNH.  Middle and high school students who participate in Forest Watch are invited to present posters or demonstrations of Forest Watch activities, field methodologies, laboratory measurements, data analyses and any other aspect of the program. Teachers are invited to present workshops on how they have integrated Forest Watch into their schools’ curriculum.  Participants will have a chance to meet UNH researchers and to learn about current research in Durham. 

The Convention is the brainstorm of Gerry Babonis, a Forst Watch teacher at the Monadnock Regional High School. He’s already planning to bring a group and their posters. Lunch will be on UNH’s ticket.

More information is available at for more on this if you think you can come.

Teachers who are new to Forest Watch are invited to attend the Convention to meet teachers and see students in action.

New Web Page in the Works

  forest watch website
FOREST WATCH is getting a new web page! It should be up and running within a few weeks.

Forest Watch teachers did it! Thank you. At our workshop on December 8, Forest Watch teachers suggested many ideas for improving our program. A new web page topped your list.

David Bartlett, Director of the New Hampshire Space Grant Consortium, heard your enthusiasm and your good ideas. He immediately allocated new funds for the web page redesign. Thanks, David.

Kristi Donahue, Graphics and Communications specialist for the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, our Forest Watch home, has already created a beautiful 21st century template for our Forest Watch information. Martha Carlson, your Forest Watch coordinator, is working closely with Kristi.

The new web page is actually many pages.  We hope it will include several major new items (your ideas!):

  • A Query tool so you and your students can query one item, such as Needle Length, and compare that data for every year in your school or from school to school, whatever combination you can imagine.
  • Direct Input of your Biometric data.
  • Direct access to Landsat images of your school and area. Multiple images may be posted when we get a server big enough.
  • A Gallery of your school’s photos, your trees and where they live, your students at work in the field and in the laboratory.
  • Your lesson plans and program ideas. How you integrate Forest Watch into required curriculum is amazing. Please share those ideas. Direct posting is our goal.
  • Links to your school or classroom so other Forest Watch schools can get in touch with you.
  • Maple Watch, a new tree in our Forest. Two schools will pioneer curriculum with us this spring. We hope to find funding to expand this next year.


Docents Will Help Contact Forest Watch Schools
ANOTHER GREAT IDEA from our December workshop, Docents! Early this month, Barry Rock met with Phil Browne, Louise James and Bob Dyer.  Phil was the founding teacher in Forest Watch and developed Forest Watch at Concord High School.   Louise taught third graders at Sewell-Anderson Elementary in Lynn, MA, and still teaches Forest Watch as an after-school enrichment program in Lynn.  Bob brought Forest Watch to Kennebunkport, ME. All three of these fine veterans of Forest Watch want to help us continue and improve the program. They have volunteered to visit schools in their area. 

Our Forest Watch Docents might visit an existing Forest Watch school to chat with you about how the program is going. What new aspects of Forest Watch would you like to build into your program?  What problems and needs create hurdles for you in trying to implement Forest Watch?

Docents may also visit schools where Forest Watch teachers have retired or where curriculum change has squeezed Forest Watch out of a program. A Docent might meet with a Science Department chair or a group of science teachers. Docents will also visit new teachers who have shown interest in beginning a Forest Watch program.

We want to listen to your ideas, hear your needs and help you get Forest Watch into your classroom.

Contact us at if you would like a docent to visit.

Green Infusion Could Visit Your School
LOUISE JAMES and her friend Linda DuLong are now a team called Green Infusion. They have written a number of songs about trees, animals and how children can conserve their environment.  Linda’s puppet Naz T. Pollution sings along with them as Linda plays guitar.

Green Infusion gave Forest Watch teachers a taste of their songs at our December 8 workshop. The songs are bound to delight elementary students—they are full of rhymes, signing and the kind of melody that sticks in your mind.

Green Infusion’s song about Christa McAuliffe will be played on January 28 in the Channel 11, NH Public Television, program.

Louise and Linda are now booking visits to schools. Email Louise James ( if you want to learn more.

When is Training?
WE ARE PLANNING two training sessions for Summer 2011. One will be the usual three-day workshop for new teachers. Already about 8 people have shown an interest.

The second workshop will be a two-day program for current Forest Watch teachers. This will be an intensive on math, statistics, chemistry, physics, spectral measurements, and remote sensing. This workshop will demonstrate how you can build on your present field ecology and biometric curricula and to use the vast Forest Watch data sets for further explorations.

We are still debating timing. Decision soon. Email if you are interested.