Appalachian Trail Environment Watch is a site designed to monitor environmental changes along the Appalachian Trail by trail users the trail. Our observers include hiking enthusiasts, day-hikers, thru-hikers, and scientists.

The goal of this site is to accumulate information on environmental changes that are happening along the Appalachian Trail. This will support the long-term study of climate change and its impact on the Appalachian Mountains.

We have chosen to use the Appalachian Trail as our area of research because it is widely used by thru-hikers, hikers,skiers, researchers, adventurers, and nature seekers throughout the year, it goes through the most populated area of the East Coast and covers 14 states. There are many changes taking place in the Appalachians which contain some of the most pristine forests and support ecological microclimates, vegetation and species that are found no where else in America. The terrain is changing with the large number of visitors the mountains experience, which can be detrimental to both the flora and fauna. we are interested in utilizing the large number of visitors on the trail and investigating the changes that are occurring due to climate change. Our goal is to gather observations from trail users, many of whom are familiar with the local flora and fauna and to compile this information for statistical analysis in order to determine what are the effects of climate change. This is a large-scale study that requires the participation of trail users, statisticians, and academics.

"There is more both of beauty and of raison d'etre in the works of nature - than in those of art."

-Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC) - De Partibus Animalium, I., 1, 5.


The Appalachian Trail Environment Watch came into existence because there are a lot of environmental changes currently occurring in the forests of the Appalachian mountains. The earth is warming at an accelerating rate. As of May 2016, the global temperature has increased by 0.87oC.Scientists are uncertain of what the effects of this warming will be on the flora and fauna. While there research on the of climate change on weather is being thoroughly studied, there is a dreath of knowledge and research on the local effects of climate change on flora and fauna and on ecological microclimates. There are a myriad of possible changes that can take place. Unfortunately, scientists are better able to predict what will happen to the climate and physical systems of the globe than what the changes to flora and fauna in a particular region. The goal of this project is to utilize the wealth of experience and observations of the thousands of people who visit the Appalachian mountains each year to determine what are some of the changes that are currently happening.As of now, there are too few studies aimed at researching the natural environment, and historically environmental studies have experience a paucity of governmental funding.Our goal is to create a concerted effort on the part of trail users and locals to study climate change. This data will be extremely important for scientists to determine how global warming is directly affecting our forests and what will those changes mean for the Eastern mountain ranges of the United States.


Topics of concern include: the spread of invasive species, mountaintop removal mining, effects of wind turbine placement on local ecosystems, increases and/or decreases in numbers of native flora and fauna, the close proximity of farms and urbanization on local flora and fauna, changes in patterns of migrations, increases in the frequency of hurricanes and forest fires, drying water sources, trail erosion from overuse etc.


1. Create a database of observations
2. Group data according to observation type
3. Group data according to region
4. Present data to scientists for analysis

Hikers' observations will contribute scientists to track changes that are currently occurring as well as determine ways to curb the effects of global warming.


We are interested in ALL changes that are occurring in the Appalachians. Whether you are a hiker, scientist, or layperson who spends time outdoors, ALL observations are vital to monitoring the effects of global warming on the Appalachian Trail. We are particularly interested in changes that are not typically seen in year-to-year variation or with seasonal variation. For instance, if you notice that there is an absence of trout in a river this year, ask yourself if this has occurred in the past and if it occurred in more than one occasion or if it is unusual? Is it because the river levels are atypically low? However, if you think your that what you are observing is significant, it is important that you record it. The data will be analyzed by frequency.


US needs to green product packaging, pronto
Thankful for Manchester's trail angels


Throughout the history of mankind, seeds have been the fundamental tool to the growth, survival and progression of civilizations, starting from the first hunters and gathers to the present era. Serving as a means to alleviate hunger, pain, and illness, plants rapidly opened the gates to herbal medicine. Today, natural remedies bought over the counter are mostly used for minor illnesses, such as aspirin (for fevers and headaches), chamomile tea (digestion and relaxation), gree tea, and other forms of herbal medicines.
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In today's modern economy, products such as candies, chocolates, granola bars and other goods - including produce and manufactured merchandise - are heavily packaged in plastic, tin foil and paper wrappings along with plastic or paper bags they are distributed in.
These new ways of packaging stock, to ensure the product's wholeness, freshness, and sanitation, have increased the extent of harmful waste in the environment. This is not a new issue; nevertheless, it should be addressed perpetually until the current amount of garbage production is decreased.
Moreover, there are even some salespeople who make their living by selling banana or palm leaves to customers who need the leaves for packaging items or gift-wrapping.
Consequently, there is a minimal usage of card-board boxes or plastics at the local marketplace; instead, baskets are used for storing fruits and vegetables. This can be considered another good method of preserving the environment. Since there is almost no product packaging, and the food spoils faster when exposed to fresh air than when heavily packaged, the product freshness is detected immediately. As a result, people there eat fresh food, which is healthier.
In the United States, owing to its geographical location and climate diversity, the use of leaves could not be a solution to the growing problem of wastes - this may be applicable to the first world countries with strong economies and buying power. Then, the question still remains: What can we do to resolve the problem of waste? Perhaps, the only viable solution to the dilemma would be the usage of biodegradable wrappings instead of plastic, and to reduce the amount of packaging of products.
For instance, do we really need to have triple packaged candies? Candies, in every supermarket, are folded separately into individual wrappings, and then deposited into plastic bags. If it is a gift, the candies are then packaged into fancy boxes, resulting in triple wrappings, which triples the waste produced from consumption.
By visiting less developed countries, such as Guatemala, one can get a better idea how one should conserve the environment by returning to traditional ways of selling food, and unwrapping products, and hence accomplish a minimum wastage due to packaging. With the current state of the environment, it is imperative to return to older methods of preserving produce. See More
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