When Hurricane Sandy knocked down about 40 trees on the Middlesex County College campus, it created less shade, but also a learning opportunity. Workers cut several sections that will be used in biology classes. Students can study a cross-section of one of the trees to learn about its history and the history of the local environment. The science is called dendrochronology, the study of tree aging.
“Trees are some of the oldest living organisms,” said Parag Muley, chair of the Department of Natural Sciences at the College. “You can learn a lot by knowing how it grew.” For example, examining the tree rings can give an idea of the quality of soil, prevalence of insects, fire, drought and the air quality throughout its life.
From left: Biology Professor George Allen; Mr. Muley;
and Donald R. Drost Jr., executive director of facilities management at the College.