« Return to this article

Know the West

Reclaiming high places

  Alpine forget-me-not, a miniature, bright blue flower, grows above timberline through constant winds, glaring sun and only two months of summer. Now, in addition, it faces the added stresses of mines, ski areas and increased radiation through a thinning ozone layer. At the 11th annual High Altitude Revegetation Workshop, scientists and managers will discuss how to reclaim and protect such fragile habitats. Sponsored by Colorado State University and the non-profit High Altitude Revegetation Committee, organizers expect about 300 people to gather from around the nation. Duke University botanist W. Dwight Billings plans to explain the potential impacts of global climate change on high altitude habitats, and reclamation specialists will describe specifics like re-seeding arctic areas disturbed by oil drilling or reclaiming trampled meadows in Grand Teton National Park. Researchers will also discuss new products like "kiwi green," a carpet-like membrane that could enhance plant growth. In addition, the National Seed Storage Laboratory has invited conference participants to tour its library of plant genes. The March 16-18 conference at the Fort Collins Holiday Inn costs $30 for full-time students and $145 for everyone else. For information, call 303/491-7501.