Bridging 70 years of wildflower monitoring to examine regional climate change

In the earliest days of the Mianus Gorge Conservation Committee, as Mianus River Gorge was originally known, the founders were fascinated with the flora and fauna they found here. They contacted biologists, botanists and other professionals to help them catalog the biodiversity of the Mianus River Gorge. Beginning in the mid 1950s, Dr. Henry A. Gleason, Head Curator Emeritus of the New York Botanical Garden, led a team of trustees that included Gloria Anable, Jack Durham, and Anne Hamilton to document and collect wildflowers found within the Preserve at that time. From 1956 through 1958, the team recorded the specific date they observed different species of wildflowers blooming.

Nearly 70 years later, WTP student Adriana DiGiacomo of Somers High School is searching the preserve to find the initial blooming date of these same wildflower species. She is trying to determine if climate change has affected the onset of flowering, particularly in early ephemeral species like bloodroot, early saxifrage, and red trillium. She also wants to know if being in the gorge has protected these plants from significant change that may be affecting plants in the surrounding area differently. She will complete her research project in 2025.

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