Harvard Forest - Petersham, MA
Major: Environmental Studies
This summer I worked as an REU student at Harvard Forest, and I worked on a demographic study of ragweed across a rural to urban gradient in Massachusetts. Ragweed is the primary cause of hay fever in the United States, and the pollen production of ragweed is expected to increase with rising CO2 levels. I spent the greater part of my summer driving to 24 sites in Massachusetts where I collected growth rate and phenology data about the ragweed populations. The data I collected will go into larger New England model of current and future ragweed "hotspots."
I really enjoyed working on my project because it was an opportunity for me to be part of a research project that addresses many different questions about how climate change will impact the phenology and growth of ragweed, and how the change in ragweed populations might impact human health. Despite my daily direct contact with the highly allergenic ragweed pollen, I loved being able to work outside. Harvard Forest is located in a very beautiful part of Massachusetts, and it was great to have the opportunity to work on a project that required me to spend the majority of my work hours outside.