WVU’s interdisciplinary climate change class visited Blackwater Canyon on October 19th. Led by professor Andrea Soccorsi, these students are learning how to tackle the consequences of a changing climate in realistic and practical ways- including learning about the ecological fragility of the Allegheny Highlands.
This area is known as “a little bit of Canada”- many of the species that call the Allegheny Highlands home were established during the last ice age when glaciers pushed them down from Canada, including the WV Northern flying squirrel, red spruce trees, the cheat mountain salamander. As the glaciers retreated, those plants and animals stuck around and since the landscape and climate is so drastically different surrounding these Highlands, their ranges can’t simply adjust with a changing climate. There is no where for them to go. As long as the climate continues to change, these species face a grim fate. Actions to reverse climate change, like limiting our carbon footprint, recycling, supporting local farmers and businesses, and voting to help regulate carbon emissions, are small ways that each of us can help out the global climate, and in turn, help out the critters and plants that call the Allegheny Highlands home.