ENVS Summer Research – Giles

Giles working hard to become one with his new best friend iTree

In April the City of Hartford asked for help with their tree planting efforts. No, they did not ask for a bunch of kids who’d go out into the neighborhoods, digging holes, and planting trees. They wanted to know how many trees Hartford would have to plant in order to maintain its current canopy cover of 26% or to expand it to 35%.

This question is a little bit less straightforward than one might think, and the answer turned out to be a bit complicated. Luckily, we found Giles Lemmon (’21), who likes environmental problems and data crunching and had no current summer plans. We easily talked him into working as an intern for the City of Hartford. There he worked with Grace Li from the City’s Sustainability Office and Jack Hale, the chair of Hartford’s Tree Advisory Commission. Hartford’s trees follow a rather irregular age distribution, which means that the loss of large, mature trees is not simply compensated by planting an equal number of small trees. In addition, poor and spotty data made Giles’ job even more challenging.

Working with iTree, an open source software package developed in collaboration with the US Forest Service, Giles found that planting trees at a rate of 1000 / year would lead to a canopy loss of 440 acres (9 times the size of Bushnell Park) over the next 30 years. To maintain present canopy cover, he estimates that one would have to plant approximately 1500 trees per year, and an increase in canopy cover to 35% within the next 30 years would require an annual planting of approximately 7000 trees.

At the end of his internship, Giles, who was funded by a Trinity College Catalyst Grant gave a presentation to the City of Hartford and he hopes to continue his work with the City in the future.

ENVS welcomes El Hachemi Bouali as our new Postdoctoral Fellow

El Hachemi Bouali, our new postdoctoral fellow

It’s a bit late (El joined us about a month ago), but we are very happy to announce that Dr. El Hachemi Bouali is our new McKenna Meredith ’48 Postdoctoral fellow in Environmental Science. He follows Krista Ehlert who took a position as assistant professor with the Department of Natural Resources Management at South Dakota State University. Congratulations, Krista!

El is a geophysicist and earned his masters degree from Western Michigan University where he used persistent scatterer interferometry to study the subsidence of the Nile Delta. He is just about to earn his PhD from Michigan Technological University where he used remote sensing techniques to study landslides.

At Trinity El will use our ground penetrating radar (GPR) equipment to study the extent of groundwater contamination plumes. Don’t be shy: if you are interested in his research pay him a visit in his office (McCook 123), chat for a while and maybe you got yourself a research project.

This Fall El will teach a course on Natural Hazards. It has no prerequisites, meets the natural science general education requirement, the ENVS foundational requirement for a gateway course, and (at this time) has still two open seats. What’s not to love?