Saving a flying squirrel means saving its red spruce home.
Researchers track the movement of nocturnal flying squirrels in Monongahela National Forest.
West Virginia northern flying squirrels depend on red spruce trees for their survival.
Virginia Tech doctoral student Corinne Diggins prepares live traps to capture and study West Virginia northern flying squirrels.
Once caught, the squirrels are measured, weighed, tagged, have blood drawn and are sometimes fitted with radio tracking collars.
Metal tags record trees that house researcher's nest boxes.
Researchers use radio signals to log the rodents nighttime foraging locations.
Research assistant Laurel Schablein and Forest Service worker Rick Doyle check on hundreds of nest boxes.
Researchers Corinne Diggins and Craig Stihler attach a radio collar to a flying squirrel.
To determine where red spruce once grew and where they should be restored, scientists dig into the earth to view soil horizons.
Areas that contain this distinct layering in the soil show a long history of red spruce dominance.
The Conservancy has helped plant more than 300,000 seedlings, which should convert places like this former surface-mining site at Cheat Mountain back into functional forests.
Corinne Diggins and the other researchers set their traps in a variety of spruce and hardwood locations to account for the West Virginia northern flying squirrel's foraging and denning habits.