Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


PRINGLE, Patrick T., Centralia College, 600 Centralia College Blvd, Centralia, WA 98531,

The Pacific Northwest is known for iconic forests and active tectonics and landscape processes. Subfossil trees are found there as well owing to a rich history of earthquakes, volcanism, floods, landslides, and environmental disturbances that have killed trees. Field inquiries that employ radiocarbon dating and tree-ring studies can be used to study the history of these processes as well as of past climate and can prove valuable as an educational tool by satisfying a host of learning objectives and showing students the usefulness of interdisciplinary studies (e.g. Pringle, 2009; Davi et al, 2012). We established a tree-ring lab at Centralia College via a US Department of Education STEM grant and Centralia College Foundation support. The funds allowed purchase of increment borers, saws, microscopes, a high precision scanner, a Velmex measuring machine, software, and many basic supplies needed for tree-ring research. Weather and Climate classes have used tree-ring studies for lab projects. Two science students coauthored posters at the Northwest Scientific Association Annual Meeting 2013 and at other poster sessions based on field investigations we conducted during summer of 2012 and later tree-ring analysis. Both students were NSF STEM scholars whose awards helped cover the costs of the research and participation in the conferences. Although they have graduated, both student researchers have expressed enthusiastic interest in maintaining their involvement in ongoing investigations. It’s no surprise that other science students who have heard about the aforementioned tree-ring research projects have asked about-, and have become involved in doing similar research investigations! More information about the Centralia College Tree-Ring Lab (CCTRL) and student dendrochronology research can be found at

Davi N., and others, 2012, Using tree-ring data, research, and expeditions as an accessible, hands-on "bridge" into climate studies for both k-12 and undergraduate students [abstract]:

Pringle, P., 2009, Getting students and teachers “off the sidewalk” using tree-ring research and other field studies [abstract]: