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Preconference Events

The 2021 LDC is pleased to offer three pre-conference events including one hands-on workshop and two field trips on Thursday, September 30th.

Registration fees include snacks, drinks, and transportation (for field trips). We recommend that you please wear comfortable field clothes for field trips and bring sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen) based on your needs.

1.Boulder Apple Tree Project – Exploring techniques and practices of community-engaged undergraduate research. 

In the mid-1800s, there were thousands of unique varieties of apple trees in the United States, some of the most astounding diversity ever developed in a food crop. Then, the apple industry settled on a handful of varietals, and the rest were largely forgotten. They became commercially extinct but not biologically extinct, due to the abandoned trees remaining in the now-suburban landscape. Boulder County is home to many of these “forgotten trees,” many with unique genetic resources that could greatly benefit both local and national apple-growing communities. The Boulder Apple Tree Project aims to conserve these trees by involving undergraduate researchers, scientists, and community members in collaborative efforts to find the trees, understand their ecology and ecosystem services, and graft new trees to ensure the survival of potentially unique varieties. Students participate through one-on-one mentored research, summer bridge programs for community college transfer students, and course-based undergraduate research experiences which specifically recruit transfer students and students from groups underserved in STEM. To date, we have tagged and measured more than 300 trees and have grafted and re-homed almost 100

We invite you to join the BATP in Lyons CO to visit a historic apple orchard site. We will tag some apple trees, take tree health measurements, learn more about the unique tree varieties in the region, and discuss how this community-engaged project benefits undergraduate researchers and creates greater access to ecology and evolutionary biology.  Cost $20.00

Meeting time: Thursday, September 30th, 2021, at 1:00 PM MT

Meeting location: YCMA of Rockies

Duration of the trip: 4 hours. (Be back by 5 pm)



2. EREN-NEON Flexible Learning Projects – Building skills in field ecology and data science

Expand your skill set in field ecology and data science, while building a new network of people who want to engage their students in authentic ecological science, whether your students are in-person or remote, or both. In this workshop, you will learn about standardized ecological monitoring across geographic scales through the EREN-NEON Flexible Learning Projects ( By using free online resources (GoogleEarth, iNaturalist) and inexpensive materials, you will identify and characterize a study site near the conference center and then choose one of the projects related to trees or lichens. Thus, depending on your choice, you would measure local anthropogenic impact, measure tree diameter, and calculate biomass, or characterize lichens and their association to air pollution. You will then compare your field data to geographically relevant reference sites via the NEON Data Portal (, contribute your observations to a shared network of data, and learn about other teaching resources associated with NEON. Cost $25.00

Meeting time: Thursday, September 30th, 2021, at 1:00 PM MT

Meeting location: YCMA of Rockies

Duration of the workshop: 3 hours

3. National Ecological Observatory Network’s (NEON) Rocky Mountain National Park terrestrial field site.

Attendees will visit NEON’s relocatable terrestrial site at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNPand learn about the 30-year continental-scale ecological monitoring project with a tour of the 81’ instrumented tower, soil plots, as well as an introduction to some of the observational sampling protocols. Opportunities will be presented on how researchers can utilize NEON infrastructure for research at NEON sites throughout the US. Cost $10.00

Meeting time: Thursday, September 30th, 2021, at 4:00 PM MT

Meeting location: YCMA of Rockies

Duration of the trip: 2 hours. (Be back by 6 pm)