Friends of the Muskoka Watershed along with university, community and government partners and thousands of volunteers have collected and spread over 9.2 tonnes of wood ash in Muskoka forests and the results are in! The application of clean residential wood ash to forests appears to have woken up the trees.
These results suggest that regulated ash application may not only lead to more delicious maple syrup but can cause trees to absorb more carbon and water, assisting in the fight against climate change, and help with flood mitigation.
With these exciting results, the project is expanding and would like to give residents the opportunity to be a part of it by becoming a citizen scientist
Here’s a step by step on how to collect the data.
Anyone with permission to access a treed area, for example:
If you don’t own or have access to a treed area, there are other ways you can help. These include:
Register with Friends of the Muskoka Watershed. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Pickup your bucket of mixed, filtered and laboratory tested wood ash and a citizen science package. Ash should be available starting at the April 2022 ash drive, by appointment at our Kimberley Ave office or other various community events.
Review instructions from the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed website. *If you do not have access to a computer, please contact the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed for field sheets.
Select two or more trees of the same species, similar size, and in a similar location. Record the date of application, follow the instructions in the information package/website to collect tree diameter, height, and canopy cover and in some cases, soil, and leaf samples. Once all data is collected, disperse the ash by walking around the tree and gently sprinkling it to the test tree(s) 3 metres from the truck. Use one full bucket of ash per test tree. Ash application should happen in late April or May when there is no snow on the ground.
In the month of July follow the instructions in the information package/ on the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed website to collect data again (diameter, height, canopy cover and in some cases soil and foliage samples). Record all information in the digital and/or hard copy field sheets. Submit your data, including photos to the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed via the Citizen Science webpage on their website or send in your field sheets. If you collected soil and leaf samples, please drop them off or mail them to the Friends of Muskoka Watershed office (postage will be provided if necessary).
In the spring of 2023 collect data again, including tree diameter, height, canopy cover and in some cases soil and foliage samples.
- Note that a select number of volunteers will be asked to collect and submit soil and leaf samples – you will know if this is you and will be provided with instructions
Here are some additional resources:CS-Tree-Species-Handout-2022-04-11