Fear to Hope Atlantic White Cedar Research at Plymouth South H.S.


Ms Conroy’s Plymouth South High School AP Biology class has joined a number of schools located along the East Coast as citizen scientists in collaboration with Christopher Newport College’s Fear to Hope Atlantic White Cedar research.
There are two current research projects. Both of these projects involve Atlantic White Cedars (AWC) and climate change. One of the projects focuses on the effect of salt intrusions due to rising sea levels. PSHS is involved in the project that  focuses on temperature regimes and the genetic and environmental factors that may influence growth in a warming climate. Our experiment is titled "Reciprocal Transplant Experiment".
For more information check out Fear to Hope website’s newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/d205849f7d3c/fall-2023-fear-to-hope-newsletter?e=38d5aba22c 

PSHS AP Biology students received their 10 Massachusetts AWC seedlings from Tidmarsh Living Observatory and their 10 North Carolina AWC seedlings from Fear to Hope in September 2023. These seedlings were grown from seeds collected from MA AWC and NC AWC. The seedlings arrived and were carefully planted in pots, placed in small white buckets and placed outside. Once a week for four weeks, students measured and recorded height, diameter, number of branches, and percent green, gray and brown needles. Students took photos each week and watered them. Currently, they are spending the winter in their pots buried in a raised garden for protection. They will return to the location outside our AP Biology classroom and data will be collected in March. Data will be shared with Fear to Hope and used to determine the effects of genetics and environmental conditions on both the MA and NC seedlings. The data will be combined with other school’s data to help compare growth and determine which of the two types of seedlings grew the best. Students will research the best location to plant their seedlings in Plymouth in hopes of the creation of an Atlantic White Cedar reforestation area. 

In addition to the classroom data collection, Tidmarsh Living Observatory provided funding for a field trip to tour the Living Observatory with Glorianna Davenport who provided her experience of ecosystem restoration and the biology and ecology of AWC biology and ecology with us. Students were impressed by the beauty of the restored habitats and the value of this restoration for Plymouth and the region.  Following the visit to Tidmarsh LO, the funding also enabled students to visit the Wellfleet Atlantic White Cedar Swamp. This field trip provided an opportunity to experience the magical deep AWC mature forest, one of a very few remaining along our coast. Students were impressed by the sphagnum moss underneath and the peacefulness as they walked among these giants. 
In the spring, the funding will enable students to visit the Eel River Preserve where hundreds of planted AWC trees are now flourishing.

Our seedlings arrive at PSHS

First Measurements

Plymouth South High School Reciprocal Planting Data file was uploaded to "Files" for this project.

Winterizing AWC: Our seedlings are spending the winter in West Barnstable, MA

Planted in their pots in raised bed West Barnstable, MA


Lou-Anne Conroy
Glorianna Davenport