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Ecosystem exploration with Hokie Hike

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Category: impact Video duration: Ecosystem exploration with Hokie Hike
John Seiler, a tree physiology specialist in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, led a Hokie Hike at Pandapas Pond. Students and community members learned about the many habitats and discussed ecological processes that drive changes around the pond as they explored nature.
We're at Pandapas Pond, part of the Jefferson Washington National Forest in the Ridge and Valley province of Southwest Virginia. The overarching purpose and goal of today's hike was just to give people a little taste, a little flavor of the complexity of the ecological systems that are in the heart of the New River Valley. So on today's hike, we saw from really little things to really big things. We saw tiny little tea berry that you can make a great tea out of. We saw four of the five big tree species here in the valley. We saw Table Mountain pine and how right around the pond here, that community is kind of collapsing because of a lack of fire that it needs to start over and regenerate itself. The hike was super fun. I really had a good time meeting new people, hanging out, learning about nature and trees, and history. I would absolutely go on another Hokie Hike experience. Obviously, the professor leading it was so knowledgeable and was able to answer everyone's questions. So I highly recommend Hokie Hikes for everyone. I think one of the neatest things about Hokie Hikes is they're usually led by someone who knows a bit about where you're going. It happens to me too. I see something, I'm wondering, wonder what caused that rock to be like that, or that tree to be like that? So it's an opportunity to be out on a hike; leisurely, having a good time. But then when you have a question, the person there is likely to know an answer to it. You don't have to dive in deep and become an ecologist. If you just know a little bit, you can then contribute to public meetings where they're discussing the management of an area. That would be a good goal. Like you can then participate as a community member and add to the debate as they're talking about different management practices they're going to perform out in the National Forest System.