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August and September were busy research months. Check out some of our recent research awards and grants:

Wood Education and Resource Center: Four Educational Workshops for Supporting Forest Health and Fuel Load Reduction

This project uses the Wood Education and Resource Center (WERC) facility in Princeton, W.V., as well as other sites, to host four workshops that support the utilization of a wide range of hardwood materials to produce value added products. These workshops target a variety of processing businesses ranging from small local sawmills and firewood processors to large volume producers of value-added products like cabinets, furniture and millwork. We will offer these workshops to business and industry professionals and the public from all thirty-five states east of the Great Plains that are served by the WERC. Some workshops will include demonstrations of equipment provided by participants or vendors. The four workshop topics will include: 1) operating a small sawmill and firewood businesses; 2) use of wood for upholstery furniture frames; 3) applying automation techniques for making cabinets, furniture and millwork; 4) proper processing methods to saw, dry and process thick wooden slabs.

Embedded Assessment and Innovation Adoption for SciStarter 2.0: Understanding Participant Dynamics and Outcomes in a Landscape of Citizen Science Projects

The goal of this proposed Research in Service to Practice proposal is to develop evidence-based principles to guide citizen science project owners in the coordinated management of project participants within the SciStarter landscape. SciStarter is a repository of more than 1,500 citizen science projects. Through an AISL-Pathways award, the researchers developed SciStarter 2.0 tools, which can be used to study and coordinate recruitment and retention strategies across projects. Coordinated management has the potential to deepen volunteer learning and growth, and benefit project goals because it can address across-project skew, evolving motivations, seasonal gaps, untapped synergies across projects and other unanticipated factors that cannot be addressed via management within project silos.

Implementation of the Comprehensive Prescribed Fire Strategy (Prescribed Fire Initiative)

This is an agreement between NC State and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that will allow NC State to continue implementation of the Prescribed Fire Strategy. This work will include research, outreach, education and training to ensure successful and timely implementation of some of the prescribed fire work group’s priorities, such as building capacity for prescribed burning on private lands and decreasing liability concerns.

Confronting Energy Poverty: Building an Interdisciplinary Evidence Base, Network, and Capacity for Transformative Change

This grant is focused on the problem of energy poverty in Southern Africa. Limited access to modern energy services, including electricity for lighting, modern fuels for cooking and heating, and energy efficient technologies has serious implications for human well-being, the environment, and the stability and growth of national economies. The Energy Poverty PIRE (EPP) involves a wide range of training and research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students across disciplines including public policy, geography, sociology, forestry and environmental science and engineering. Partners include NC State University, UNC Chapel Hill, RTI International, the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Malawi), Copperbelt University (Zambia) and the University of Zimbabwe. For more information about this project, visit https://fuel.cpc.unc.edu/epp.

Thinking Outside the Pillbox: Prescribing Parks and Recreation for Community Health

This project is a collaborative effort between NC State, two to four Federally Qualified Health Centers, and the NC Division of Public Health (NCDPH), Chronic Disease and Injury Section. We will also engage two key partners: North Carolina Parks and Recreation Association (NCRPA) and Recreation Resources Service (RRS), a state-level technical assistance program that supports public parks and recreation department in all 100 NC counties. These two organizations could potentially coordinate partnerships between parks and recreation departments in the project counties and the volunteer focus group participants. This project will develop an app that would allow FQHC staff and their patients to identify opportunities for physical activity programs and facilities in the patient’s community that matches their interest, physical abilities/disabilities and leisure skills.

Assessing the Transferability of a Historic Resources Decision Support Model for Optimized Budget Allocation and Adaptation Planning

This research project is a collaborative study with the National Park Service, including staff of the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (SALCC), to communicate and expand decision guidance for budget optimization and adaptation planning. The study will synthesize existing data sources from two separate projects at Cape Lookout National Seashore and determine the transferability of a decision support tool to a minimum of one other National Park Service site with vulnerable coastal cultural resources.