Interviews and discussions on a variety of nature, science and environmental topics. This podcast is a compilation of discussions from The Fusion Forest radio show on 103.3 Asheville FM. Some episodes of the podcast also feature special bonus material that did not air on the live broadcast.
The Fusion Forest podcast can also be listened to here, and it is available on major podcasting platforms.
8. Aquatic Insects and Freshwater Health with Dave Penrose and Jason York
Biologists Dave Penrose and Jason York visit The Fusion Forest to talk about aquatic insects, benthic macroinvertebrates and the importance of these small animals to healthy streams, rivers and wetlands, from a functional and a management perspective. We talk about the biology and ecology of these creatures, how their behavior relates to the water quality and nutrient cycling of freshwater habitats, the impacts of human activities on their health, how these organisms are utilized to characterize streams, their role in ecological restoration and more.
Learn more about Dave’s work:
Learn more about Jason’s work:
Society for Freshwater Science:
7. Shades of Green Permaculture with Brandy Hall
This discussion features Brandy Hall, the founder of Shades of Green, a permaculture guided landscape and building design firm. She talks about principle strategies they use to improve environmental health in urban, suburban and rural landscapes, improving water retention, building soil and the roles various plants play in landscape design. We also explore here background that brought her into this type of work as well as how permaculture and ecological design strategies can be implemented on a range of scales from personal to societal.
6. Miami Compost Project with Quinn Metoyer
The Fusion Forest was visited by Quinn Metoyer all the way from Miami, FL to talk about the Miami Compost Project, a community composting initiative gathering food scraps, plant residue, cardboard and other organic wastes and turning them into rich soil through the process of composting. These soil building methods are allowing communities in Miami to grow healthy local food in otherwise sandy and infertile ground. Quinn discusses this process as well as the soil microorganisms that makes compost so important.
5. Saving Hemlock Trees with Margot Wallston and Thom Green
This episode is all about the Hemlocks as the Hemlock Restoration Initiative’s director, Margot Wallston, and outreach associate, Thom Green, visit The Fusion Forest to discuss these majestic and ecologically influential trees. In a detailed conversation about the current state of hemlocks in North Carolina, we talk about the ecological and economic importance of hemlock trees, threats to hemlocks in the region like the wooly adelgid that is currently decimating their populations, a variety of solutions and management strategies the HRI is using to save and repopulate hemlocks in the region, a range of partner organizations collaborating with the HRI and most importantly, how community members can get involved in the cause through volunteer events, education, research and applied management strategies.
Help with tree observations with the TreeSnap app: https://treesnap.org/
Learn more about HRI and becoming a volunteer:
4. Community Stream Health Monitoring with Ann Marie Traylor
The Environmental Quality Institute (EQI) is a local non profit that collects large amounts of data on water quality in Asheville and the Western North Carolina area primarily through the help of volunteer stream monitors. EQI executive director Ann Marie Traylor visits The Fusion Forest to talk about EQI’s history and importance to local water issues, what type of activities volunteers engage in, the importance of community science to EQI’s mission and most importantly, a deep dive into aquatic macroinvertebrates, small animals that are a critical metric for EQI’s efforts to assess stream health in the region. This discussion also features bonus questions not aired during the original radio broadcast.
Learn more about EQI and becoming a volunteer:
3. Community Labs and the Soil Microcosmos with Craig Trester
Environmental educator and citizen scientist Craig Trester visits The Fusion Forest to discuss a range of topics including the fungi – microbe – soil health connection, open source community research labs, the importance of DNA to mushroom identification, and more.
Follow Craig’s work on Instagram: @nyc.myc
Contact Craig via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. The Central Asheville Watershed Plan with Renee Fortner
Renee Fortner is the watershed resources director for local environmental non-profit Riverlink. Her visit to The Fusion Forest involved a detailed discussion of the new Central Asheville Watershed Plan addressing stormwater management in the Downtown, River Arts District and Southside parts of the city that collectively drain into the most widely trafficked part of the French Broad River. Renee explains Riverlink’s background and mission, what watersheds are, how water quality is measured, current challenges to water quality in the city of Asheville, potential remedies for Asheville’s water quality problems, and projects that are now on the table to improve the city’s stormwater issues thanks to Riverlink and the Central Asheville Watershed Plan. This interview also includes bonus questions not aired during it’s broadcast on The Fusion Forest radio show.
Learn more about Riverlink:
To report an illicit discharge into a stream or storm drain, contact:
City of Asheville
Business hours (7:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.): 828-232-4567.
After hours, weekends and holidays: 828-251-1122.
N.C. Department of Environmental Quality- Division of Water Resources
1. Animals and Environmental DNA with Clare Adams
Animal biologist Clare Adams visits The Fusion Forest to discuss her work with fur seals, abalone and turtles and the environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques employed to track and analyze the population health of these different types of animals. A researcher at the University of Otago in New Zealand with previous graduate research experience at Iowa State University, Clare shares her knowledge and love of animals in a practical and scientific context, as well as joining me for a contemplation of unconventional pets.
Follow Clare’s work on Twitter: @clare_eDNA