December 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting

December 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting

As with everything else in this strange year, the 2020 Annual Meeting will not be what we have enjoyed in past years.  Our meetings in Brazil, Sweden, Colombia, Portugal, etc., have been opportunities to disconnect from our normal duties, connect with colleagues from all around the world, learn new things, enjoy field tours and see forestry from new perspectives, and focus on Camcore breeding and research.  Since we cannot all be present in one place this year, we cannot replicate all of those things, but we do hope to have a semi-focused period where we can review the status of our research and breeding projects, have some member presentations, and plan for 2021 and beyond.

Specifically, we are planning to have six Camcore Annual Meeting sessions over a two-week period, using Zoom.  With members all over the world, in multiple time zones, we plan to hold the meetings at the same time as we have been holding the Webinars, as this allows for everyone to participate at a (more-or-less) reasonable time in their day.  Since many members have regular staff and administrative meetings planned for Mondays and/or Fridays, we plan to have the Camcore meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and restrict the meetings to 2½ hours.  We will have a maximum of six meeting days, and this will give us slightly more hours in technical meetings than we typically have had in “live” Camcore meetings over the past several years.

We would like for everyone to mark off the following dates on their calendars:

Tuesday, Dec 1
Wednesday, Dec 2
Thursday, Dec 3
Tuesday, Dec 8
Wednesday, Dec 9
Thursday, Dec 10

For now, we will plan for all meetings to run from 7:30 AM to 10:00 AM, Eastern Standard Time (see time chart below).  We will also plan to record all of the presentations, so if anyone has an unavoidable conflict and cannot attend a live meeting, you will still have an opportunity to hear the presentations, and provide feedback, etc.


Carolina hemlock orchard established

New Carolina hemlock Orchard Established

Carolina hemlock seedlings waiting to planted

In early March of 2020 Camcore established a new Carolina hemlock orchard located just outside of Linville Gorge, NC.  This 500 seedling orchard marks our third conservation planting of Carolina hemlock and the fifth domestic seed orchard established in 2020.  After 17 years of working with domestic seed collections for imperiled species located across the eastern US, it is extremely rewarding to see a portion of this germplasm going back into conservation plantings.  Many thanks are extended to the North Carolina Forest Service for both allowing us to establish this orchard on their property and for clearing the site prior to the planting.  We also greatly appreciate the labor from the NC Bridge Crew in helping to plant the seedlings as well as several volunteers with the NC Hemlock Restoration Initiative.  Without the assistance from these three groups this three day planting would have easily taken closer to three weeks.

At this point we are actively pulling more domestic seed from additional provenances and species with hopes to germinate it shortly.  With these future seedlings our goal is to maintain momentum in establishing additional conservation seeds orchards with our cooperators in the US.

Camcore Research Technician Ashleigh Hillen double checking the planting


New Domestic Species Seed Orchards

New Domestic Species Seed Orchards

Jason Rodrigue, Heather Luczak, Tim Lamb, Gary Kaufman, Sarah Bridges, Mike Hennigan, Dave Perez, Mike Brod, Drew McCarley, Alezandria Perrier, Cheyenne Adamonis, and Robin Taylor
USFS Beech Creek Orchard Planting Team: Jason Rodrigue, Heather Luczak, Tim Lamb, Gary Kaufman, Sarah Bridges, Mike Hennigan, Dave Perez, Danny Skojac, Justin Seaborn, Dan Slovak, Mike Brod, David Ralston,  Drew McCarley, Alezandria Perrier, Cheyenne Adamonis, and Robin Taylor

In late January 2020 twenty individuals from Camcore and the USFS successfully planted nearly 1000 conifer seedlings into seed orchards in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee.  Over the course of one frigid day we established both a 300 seedling eastern hemlock seed orchard and a 168 seedling table mountain pine orchard at the USFS Beech Creek Genetic Resource Management Area (GRMA) in North Carolina.  The following day these efforts were duplicated in the nearby Chilhowee, Tennessee GRMA under ominous grey skies.

These four seed orchards mark an important step forward in Camcores domestic conservation efforts and are hopefully the first of several more conservation plantings to come.  These orchards were established in partnership with the USFS.  Future seed produced will be shared by Camcore and the USFS.  Genetic material produced in these orchards will be instrumental in conservation, restoration, and research of these threatened conifers endemic to the eastern US.

It should be noted that the establishment of these seed orchards would not have been possible without the impressive team from the USFS that came out to help with the planting.  In addition to the planting team Camcore would like to single out Robin Taylor (USFS), Jason Rodrigue (USFS), and Drew McCarley (USFS) for helping to get this project implemented and in the ground.

Welcome Research Technician Ashleigh

Welcome Research Technician Ashleigh

Camcore is pleased to welcome new Research Technician Asheligh Hillen. Ashleigh is a graduate of UNC Asheville with a wealth of field experience in the southern Appalachians.  She will be based in Asheville, NC where her assistance in our domestic gene conservation and research projects will be invaluable. Her temporary position is currently funded for one year. During Ashleigh’s Camcore tenure she will be a USFS affiliate and will work closely with our collaborators in the Forest Service.  Camcore is excited to have Asheligh on board and to make further progress with our numerous domestic  projects.

Asheligh Hillen with a healthy Carolina hemlock tree outside of Black Mountain, NC.


Hemlock Silviculture Study Part 2

Hemlock Silviculture Study Part 2

The second phase of our three part hemlock silviculture study is now in the ground in western North Carolina! For this part of the study we are again looking at how sunlight levels impact hemlock growth but are now incorporating two species (Carolina and eastern hemlock) and following how light effects hemlock woolly adelgid presence. The 1280 hemlocks planted occured along a north-south transect with the center of the plot lying in the middle of a 1/4 acre canopy gap treatment. These gaps were part of a previously implemented oak regeneration study that looked at group selection harvests in a method termed “femelschlag.”

While the planting was at times cold and wet we were able to successfully get all of our trees in the ground in just three short days. A large round of thanks are extended to our USFS Partners from the Southern Research Station and Pisgah National Forest Appalachian Ranger, North Carolina’s Hemlock Restoration Initiative, and several volunteers for helping us to implement this important study.