iUTAH Team - Undergraduate iFellows


Emily Jorgensen

Emily Jorgensen

Brigham Young University



Faculty: Mark Brunson, USU
Near-Peer: Betsey York, USU


Research Focus:

Research Focus Area 1 & 2

Project: Age cohort analysis of Cache Valley street trees



Environmental Science



Emily Jorgensen is currently a junior attending Brigham Young University majoring in environmental science, with a double minor in international development and urban and regional planning. She loves being out in nature and enjoys hiking, camping, climbing, and traveling the world to experience other cultures. After living in Taiwan for 18 months, she participated in a study abroad throughout China and became very interested in water quality research. She is excited to learn and research the tree species and water needs this summer with the iUTAH program while also getting the opportunity to explore the Logan area!


Research Abstract:


Socio-environmental analysis of landscape tree choices in Cache Valley, Utah
Socio-environmental analysis of landscape treechoices in Cache Valley, Utah
Presented by: Emily Jorgensen

July 2017

Socio-environmental analysis of landscape tree choices in Cache Valley, Utah

Identifying tree species can be one method to measure and determine trends in Utah landscape water demand and use. The purpose of this research was to discern and determine which trends exist and if they are likely to influence the overall landscape water demand of a particular property and thereby affect water conservation efforts statewide. Data on species of trees used in front yards and park strips (between sidewalk and street) in Cache County cities of Logan, River Heights, and Providence, Utah was gathered and combined with selected information about the homes associated with those yards in order to draw conclusions on various trends. Understanding the existing trends between property ages, current property values, and tree species will allow better understanding of the water demand associated to each property.  Such knowledge will lead to further research of the sociology behind why particular tree species are more favored than others in the decision-making process.


Weekly Recap:


Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11


Week 1: May 15-21, 2017

This week has been a great as I’ve been able to get started on learning more about the project I’ll be working on this summer. After the first cohort session, I moved up to Logan and was able to work with my near peer mentor Betsey. She is so amazing and I have already learned so much from her! I got started on researching articles for some literature review. On Thursday we went to the historic district in Logan to practice identifying trees species in a block. Although it was very cold, I loved becoming familiar with how to identify trees. We also stopped by the county building to gather data about the property ages and market values and started a data sheet to input all the information. I also completed the IRB training and am working on a method to use in order to randomly select the blocks of which we will be sampling



Identifying Tree Species



Week 2: May 22-28, 2017

This week was productive and fun as my mentor Mark returned from a conference, we had our second cohort session and learned all about poster and presentation. I liked the iFellow workshop we had with how to present ourselves and practicing improv. Throughout the week, we finalized the 30 different blocks which we will be sampling and collecting data from and took a walk around campus to get more familiar with about 85 different tree species. Friday was our first day sampling and it was beautiful weather which always makes field work more enjoyable.



Beautiful view of Logan valley while out identifying trees


Left: Mark Brunson, Mentor and Betsey York, near peer mentor, taking pictures and using the tree guide to identify a tree on campus.
Right: Learning how to know the difference between a fir and a pine species. Firs are friendly


Week 3: May 29-June 2, 2017

This week was spent out in the ‘field’ continuing the process of sampling the 30 blocks we need to gather for data. It has been fun and crazy how fast I’m starting to recognize the different species of trees. Another cool thing is that as I’ve been walking around, I have had multiple opportunities to explain to people what I’m doing and what iUTAH is all about. I also spend a few hours at the County Assessor’s office gathering data of the property ages and taxable value in order to input all data into a data sheet and worked on the data and methods part of my project in preparation for the Cohort Session on Monday.


Week 4: June 5-9, 2017

This week was full of field work sampling and entering data. On Monday we had our third Cohort Session in Provo at BYU. It was good for me to practice explaining the intro and methods part of my poster so that I could repeat and polish my 3-min pitch. Then we got to go on a fieldtrip and see two of the GAMUT sights along the Provo River. After getting back to Logan, I spent the week outside sampling 3 blocks a day and even started to bike around town while sampling which was a little faster than walking. After sampling a block, I go to the County Assessor’s office and gather data such as property age and current value. Now I’ll be doing a lot of data entry this upcoming week!


Dylan Dastrup explaining the different sensors which are a part of the GAMUT system along the Provo River.


Me, as I identify a Green Ash tree while biking around a sampling block in Logan, UT.



Week 5: June 12-16, 2017

This past week I spent every day outside finishing up my sampling throughout our 30 different blocks in Logan, Providence, and River Heights. I also spent a lot of time at the county assessor office looking up property ages and values. Since I’ve collected most of the data, I’ve spent hours inputting the data into our data sheet- so you could say it has been very productive and busy week. During the time while I’m not ‘experiencing’ with iUTAH I have been able to run, bike, kayak, hike, and rock climb which has been super fun and a good way to balance out my life.


Gorgeous sunset in North Logan I saw while running.


Huge leaf from a beautiful Northern Catalpa species that I saw while sampling a block in the Providence area.




Week 6: June 19-23, 2017

I can’t believe it’s already week 6! It started off with the Cohort Session here in Logan, which was fun to go on the field trip around Logan. I finished up my last day of sampling and realized I input my data into a spreadsheet incorrectly, L  so the rest of my time was spent fixing that. The next phase of my project will be learning R and coding the data so that we can analyze any trends which we might find. Luckily after spending all the time behind a computer, I was able to spend the weekend backpacking in the mountains.


A variety of leaf samples of trees which we brought back to the lab to make sure we had correctly identified the tree species


A bumper sticker I saw on a maintenance truck in USU campus :)


Week 7: June 26-30, 2017

This week I officially finished gathering all the data that I needed after having to redo one of sampling blocks. My near peer mentor was able to help me start learning how to code using the program R. Although some of the coding was tedious, it’s been exciting to actually see some results and trends with the data I’ve collected over the last month. The rest of the week was spent analyzing the data and creating table and graphs to represent these patterns and get them ready for my poster. I also was able to hang out with other iFellows and take a quick trip out to Bear Lake for some raspberry shakes which was another highlight of the week!



Week 8: July 3-7, 2017

This week flew by with having the holiday on Tuesday! I was able to spend all day rock climbing in the area and watching fireworks! Then Wednesday was back to work and started creating my poster. I also had to finish and submit my abstract for my poster for the Symposium coming up next week! After finishing up my poster draft, Friday was fun spending the day in Salt Lake and getting to see all of the iFellows posters and receive feedback as well. It was very useful. The field trip was also very hot but pretty interesting as we got a little tour of the Red Butte Creek Dam. 


Both pics are from our field trip up to Red Butte Creek Dam in Salt Lake City



Week 9: July 10-14, 2017

This week was busy as I spent the majority of my time preparing for the iUTAH summer Symposium! I spent the first half of the week simplifying and editing my poster for the poster session and then also working on more analysis of my data. Once I was able to finalize all the details of my poster, then we went to print it off and some of my graphs were pixilated, so I had to go back and redo some of them. But I finally got my poster printed and was very excited to attend the Symposium.


The Symposium was an awesome experience for me. It was my first time participating in a poster session and I really enjoyed the opportunity to describe and expound more on the research I have been a part of the last two months. I also really enjoyed all of the different talks which we were able to listen to throughout Thursday and Friday morning. It opened my eyes to the great intricacies and development iUTAH has gone through and I feel very honored to be able to participate in the program as an iFellow. I have also come to learn the importance and recognize the great outcomes which can result in collaborative work with other disciplines and other universities and the great teamwork which iUTAH fosters. Some of those who spoke gave me new ideas of areas which I have found new interest in pursuing and learning more about in furthering my skills and future education.


Symposium Poster Session



Week 10: July 17-21, 2017

I can’t believe that this is week 10 and that the iUTAH program is almost over. This week, I spent most of my time on campus or in the lab and had to go back to using R (a statistical analysis program) and excel spreadsheets to analyze the data more in depth in order to connect and apply more themes concerning water demand and conservation to my results.  My near-peer mentor helped me with coding the data in different ways so that we could better understand and analyze the various trends and the tree diversity of all of the sampled data. I also started to prepare slides and make my presentation for this up-coming research symposium. The long weekend was nice- after being inside, working at a computer for most of the week, I was able to go camping with friends up Blacksmith Fork Canyon, go to Salt Lake for the Days of ’47 Parade and enjoy fireworks back in Logan Monday night.



Week 11: July 24-28, 2017

No entry


All content provided on this iUTAH Team - Undergraduate iFellows weekly recap is unedited, updated by each participant to provide a review of their progress, and is for informational purposes only.