MAZINA’IGAN PAGE 6 SUMMER 2017 Remote cameras keep a close watch on the seasons The second field season of the GLIFWC phenology project is well underway. GLIFWCclimatechangescientistHannahPanciandwildlifebiologistTravisBart- nick have been visiting the two study sites since March, making observations and recordingthephenologicalstatusofeachplantthathasbeentaggedformonitoring. Prior to the start of the growing season, Hannah Panci and Travis Bartnick visited the locations of the time-lapse cameras that have been placed at strategic locations to record images of the forest canopy (Figure 1). During their site visits, they cleaned the time-lapse camera lenses, checked for any new obstructions in the photo frame, and replaced the rechargeable batteries and memory cards in preparation for the 2017 growing season. Remote cameras have been gaining popularity for many uses, including hunting, birding, and science-based monitoring. One of the ways scientists have been using remote cameras is to monitor the phenology (the study of the timing of biological events over time) of veg- etation on the landscape with digital repeatphotography.Thecamerasused for this purpose can come in many forms,includingremotetrailcameras, camerasdesignedspecificallyfortime- lapse photography, and even security cameras near parks and college cam- puses. When used to monitor phenol- ogy, these cameras are collectively known as “phenocams.” Phenocams are typically programmed to capture digital photos at regular intervals from a fixed position throughout the growing season. When the photos are sorted, processed, and played back in a movie format, we can observe the transitionoftheseasonsatarapidrate. Since most of the phenocams have a date and time stamp associated with every photo, we can use the photos to determinethedatethatthetreecanopy greens up in ziigwan (spring), and the date when the leaves begin to change color in dagwaagin (autumn). Scientists at Harvard University, the University of New Hampshire, and other partners have taken this idea a step further by developing a phenocam image processor graphical user interface (GUI). Digital photos are made up of pixels, and the color within each pixel typically contains a mix of red, green, and blue (RGB) values. The phenocam image processor allows the user to calculate the proportion of green values from the raw RGB values, resulting in a greenness chromatic coordinate (Gcc) value for each image. The GUI also allows the user to define and analyze a specific region of interest in the photo frame (Figure 2). By GLIFWC Biological Services Staff Figure 1. Photo of a phenocam at one of the GLIFWC phenology study sites. The phenocams are placed in a sturdy metal security box in an attempt to keep bears and other curious animals from disturbing or altering the view of the camera throughout the growing season. Figure 2. The PhenoCam Image Processor graphical user interface allows the user to define a region of interest, indicated by the blue polygon in the time-lapse photo. The processor also calculates the Greenness chromatic coordinate (Gcc) values and creates a time series plot on the graph at the bottom, representing the entire growing season. The sharp incline around day 140 (May 19, 2016) indicates the beginning of the spring green-up. The Gcc fluctuates throughout the growing season, but the decline starting after the peak around day 250 (September 6, 2016) indicates the date when the leaves started changing color in the canopy. Sugar Island research to expand Bay Mills harvest options Mainland sugar bush a family affair Sault Ste Marie, Mich.—With an eye to expanding harvest opportunities for tribal members, Bay Mills Indian Community’s Inland Fish & Wildlife Program is investigating the wilds of Sugar Island situated in the far-east of the Upper Peninsula. Much of the band’s 606 acres of reservation holdings on the island are uninhabited and heavily wooded. “We’re determining what’s available there, from wildlife to plant species,” said Emily Martin, Bay Mills biologist and project leader.“Themainreservationoccupiesasmall area, and these surveys should help expand on-reservation options for members.” JusteastofSaultSteMarie,theSt.Mary’s River wraps around the island, which forms the international boundary with Canada. Bay Mills’primary land base is located to the west on Lake Superior at Waishkey Bay. The study kicked off this past winter, focusing on the island’s namesake resource: the sugar bush. Following a short ferry ride, Bay Mills natural resources staff strapped on snowshoes,trekkingthroughdensewoodstoa mixed stand of maples in late February. They tappedbothred(soft)andsugar(hard)maples, installingafivegallonbucketbeloweachspile. The large sap receptacles allowed researchers to wait a week or two between visits to check the 24 tapped trees. While sugar maples are the signature species for syrup production, scientists expect red maples to fair better in the future as the region continues to warm under climate change. Depending on variables like site conditions, it typically requires more red maple sap than from sugar maples to make a gallon of syrup. The reds have a slightly lower sugar content. Trees in the Bay Mills study yielded sugar percentages between 1.8 to 4.4 with an average around 2.5%, Martin said. Since the trees were selected after the fall leaf-drop, Martin and her crew plan to return to Sugar Island this summer to pair up individual trees—red or sugar—with the corresponding sugar content results. Martin said that while the island holds potential for a resurgence in maple produc- tion, another culturally important tree species is fading fast from an exotic invasive insect. “There a lot of dead ash out there,” she said. “Every tree we checked had EAB holes in them.” EAB, or emerald ash borer, first arrived near Detroit in shipping containers from China around 15 years ago. Since then, the ash-killing insect has madeitswaytoisolatedlocationsinahandful of Ceded Territory forests—from Michigan to Wisconsin and Minnesota. For black ash basket crafters from Bay Mills and other regional native communities, EAB creates a lot of uncertainty about the future of the ash resource and makes locating healthy trees increasingly difficult. (See GLIFWC phenology project, page 19) • SUGARBUSH/PHENOLOGY • By Charlie Otto Rasmussen, Editor Paula Carrick’s grandchildren at the family sugar bush in Bay Mills. From left: Albert Walden and Evan & Quinn Parker. (P. Carrick) (See Sugarbush, page 22)