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OneTree project begins in Fairbanks

Submitted by Nancy Tarnai
Phone: 907-474-5042

06/25/09

Photo caption below.
Photo by Rachel Kaplan
Jan Dawe checks a birch tree to see whether the bark is ready to peel off.
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A new community outreach and research project, OneTree, will launch in Fairbanks next month. The University of Alaska Fairbanks forest products program will coordinate the collaborative project, which explores art and science through a connection to a single birch tree.

OneTree will travel to a different community in Alaska each year. This summer's prototype is being developed in Fairbanks, in cooperation with Week in the Woods, a family camp offered July 6-10 in the Tanana Valley State Forest. For more information, see www.weekinthewoods.org.

Elders, students, wood turners, birch bark artists, biologists, loggers, millers and community members interested in working with trees and each other are all invited to participate. Possibilities include making tar, weaving a birch bark basket, riving green wood or documenting a tree for different types of studies. The activities will be happening this summer, all from one tree.

On July 6, OneTree and Week in the Woods participants will choose and harvest a birch tree near the campsite. After harvest, the tree will be divided into portions for three different groups, including Week in the Woods campers, OneTree artisans and teachers who would like to pick up and store material for later use in the classroom.

"The sky's the limit on what happens and it depends on who steps forward to participate," said OneTree coordinator Jan Dawe, an adjunct forestry professor at UAF's School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences. "Whether you're intrigued by the biology of birch trees or wonder how climate shift may be affecting the forest, whether you want to follow an inspiration to paint or write a poem while sitting under a tree or around the campfire, whether you make museum-quality pieces or are just getting started on woodworking or birch bark projects, OneTree wants you."

OneTree participants will focus on a common goal -- full use of a single tree. Regardless of age or experience in the woods, everyone can participate in OneTree. Registration for Week in the Woods is available at www.weekinthewoods.org. People interested in participating in OneTree, but not in Week in the Woods, can e-mail ffjcd@uaf.edu or call 907-388-1772.

The UAF forest products program is run by assistant professor Valerie Barber at the Palmer Research and Extension Center.

OneTree got its start in 1998 when a single large oak was felled in the National Trust estate of Tatton Park in Cheshire, England. The OneTree project aims to show the unique value of woodlands by demonstrating the volume and quality of work that can be made from one tree.

CONTACT: Nancy Tarnai, public information officer, UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, 907-474-5042,fnnjt@uaf.edu, Jan Dawe, project coordinator, 907-388-1772, ffjcd@uaf.edu.