Dr. Christine Small and Students are Featured in U.S. Forest Service Film
The Southern Research Station of the United States Forest Service recently released a video featuring Dr. Christine Small and her students. The video is available at http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/video/cohosh/ During the summer of 2010, nineteen RU Biology majors participated in research on black cohosh (Actaea racemosa), a wildflower native to the southern Appalachian mountains. Black cohosh is one of the most widely harvested medicinal plants in eastern North American forests. Today, black cohosh roots and rhizomes are sold throughout North America and Europe for use in hormone replacement therapies and treatment of menopausal symptoms. However, because nearly all black cohosh sold commercially is harvested from wild populations, the conservation status of this species is uncertain. This research represents collaborative efforts by Dr. Christine Small (RU Biology) and Dr. Jim Chamberlain (USDA Forest Service) to assess wild harvesting impacts on Non-Timber Forest Resources (e.g., medicinal and edible plants) in US National Forests and to develop effective and sustainable management plans for these resources. RU students have participated in this project since 2007, with funding from the USDA Forest Service and internal grants from Radford University. In summer 2010, research was conducted at two long-term study sites in southwest Virginia: Reddish Knob (George Washington-Jefferson National Forest) and Mount Rogers (Mount Rogers National Recreation Area). Participating in this research were two RU Biology faculty (Christine Small and Darrell White) and nineteen RU undergraduate biology students (Mariela Alvarez, Maya Azzi, Michael Berces, Kelsey Carr, Clarissa Clarke, Garrett Edwards, Kathleen Farmer, Michelle Ferguson, Kara Hale, Therese Ihrig, Julian Kroboth, Dwight Meikle, Bre Minniefield, Gabrielle Ness, Caitlin Reid, Wes Rogers, John Schablein, Jenna Tessier, and Rachel Travitz). Several students have worked on this project multiple years, most notably RU senior Dwight Meikle, who began work on this project in 2007. In these efforts, RU researchers collaborated with individuals from the USDA Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, VA Polytechnic Institute and State University, National Arboretum, Tai Sophia Institute for Ethnobotanical Studies, Medicinal Plant Working Group, and Garden Club of America. In the coming year, two students will work with Drs. Small and Chamberlain to initiate an experimental study investigating the capacity for black cohosh roots and rhizomes to regenerate after harvesting.