Conclusion

Wow, I can’t believe it is nearing the end of the semester already. Visiting my phenological place made me feel a little more reconnected with nature. I am very thankful for this project because it made me take the time to sit and observe the elements of nature with a different lens obtained from being in NR 1. This is something that I would not be able to do without being in this class. Because of this project and NR 1, I am able to identify trees, speculate how this landscape was formed, observe the birds and mammals outdoors, and finally think about nature in the context of human history.

More so, I can see the impacts that humans have had on the elements of nature. I have also been able to observe how nature is coexisting with humans. In my mind, I believe that humans have learned to coexist with nature and not the other way around. I noticed that residents of Essex Junction including myself have the ability to impact the quality of the stream which eventually leads into Lake Champlain. It is important to prevent the run off of stormwater and the build up of fertilizer and other chemicals in streams. In addition, I believe that the forest I am studying is the result of cutting. Most of the growth is very new, and there is a very small amount of older, larger trees. It is interesting because I wonder what this land has been used for in the path. Maybe a farm?

During the next week, when stress will probably reach its peak, I believe I will take some time out of my busy day to come back to my place. I want to use the healing power of nature suggested by Almstead as a way to deal with stress. This project was eye awakening.

Thanksgiving Break – Mount Hunger Hike

Mount Hunger in summer (original photo)
https://jeancflanagan.com/2016/mount-hunger/
Mount Hunger in fall

Source: source

Mount Hunger is a special place because it is a short but intense hike with a great reward. The first time I came here I was very taken away by how the land opened up. You can see the Vermont landscape and the impacts we humans have had on it from a uncommon perspective. The view also allowed me to see the beauty of the land. I hiked this trip up once in the summer and again this fall before the first snow fall. I got to see the contrast from the change in seasons. In addition, I was able to observe how different Mount Hunger is from my phenology place near Burlington.

Description of Mount Hunger in the style of Aldo Leopold:

The changes that make noises in November comes in a hurry. As I am standing on top of Mount Hunger with cold hands and a numb face, the wind continued its strong plummet. As the wind picked up I could see its strong influences in the nature of this magnificent place. The way the trees fluttered, humans hug themselves tight in anticipation of it, and the ability of the wind to pick up seeds and other small objects in its path showed me that it is a force to be reckoned with. Nature is a force to be reckoned with.

 

I heard noises amidst the silence that seemed to echo about the whole mountain. Pretty soon, a family emerged as they reached the pinnacle of their hike with their golden retriever. Just like me a while ago, they paused realizing they did not come to the view, but the view had just come to them. The Earth, the mountain, and the sky opened up before them into a magnificent twisted jungle of trees with colors beyond imagination.

 

Pretty soon, the family settled into their spot on the opposite side of the mountain facing away from the wind. The world returned to the way it was ten minutes ago and probably ten thousand years ago. The peaceful quiet took back its rightful place, and all was calm in the world ago.

Comparison of Place to Burlington Area in the Style of Edward Abbey:

“The wind will not stop”. I can say that for both of my phenological spot in Essex Junction and on top of Mount Hunger. The extremity of one is greater than the other. The wind on top of the Mountain was cutting. On the other hand, the wind in Essex Junction was soft and caressing. Needless to say, the wind is a strong and important force of nature no matter where.

 

The view was enormous in radius compared to that of the tiny stream. An abundance of short conifers occupied the area, and there was a lack of hardwood trees. Much different can be said for Essex. The elevation of the mountain plays a role in this ecological difference. The wind beats down on the trees making them grow shorter as an adaptation. In addition, the lack of nutrients in the ground makes this a more suitable environment for conifers. However, the forest floor gets a supply of nutrients from the rich ground, making hardwoods a more ideal species to grow in that area.

 

A bird was spotted as the descent up the mountain began. I was unable to identify it, but it was small and gracefully transitions from one tree to another

 

 

November

Fall is in full swing. It was very cold to step outside without a coat or jacket on to snap these shots. The leaves are all gone from the trees, and they are looking very bare and cold. The world seemed like it has gotten quieter with the only sound coming from the streams and cars nearby. There isn’t as much vegetation on the ground. The small woody plants such as ferns are all gone. Only the majority of tree saplings remain. The honey suckles near the stream banks are flowerless this time of year.

 

Bird’s Eye View

The plants in the area have either lost all of their leaves or turned a darker shade of orange. However, the conifers such as the few Eastern White Pine and a few other woody plants are the only present green plants. It is clear that the trees are preparing for the incoming winter. There is a big difference in temperature from the first visit near the beginning of October. The air is much more crisp.

 

A lot less rain and the water level in the stream is lower

 

There has been many signs of wildlife such as deer tracks (in the past, deers have been spotted very often). In addition, many squirrels and chipmunks nest on the grounds and trees surrounding the brook. However, on this cooler evening, it was relatively quiet. There are signs of wildlife such as tracks, but no active noises.  There were also fish fries in the water during the warmer summer and early fall months, but there are none now.

Rainy October

 

 

The first day of starting my project and visiting my site was a very stormy and rainy one. The weather was slightly humid and cloudy. The water level in the stream was very high and very rapid from the rain so I was not able to observe the stream in its normal state. In my past knowledge, there is a wide variety of life within the stream bed. Macro-invertebrates such stoneflies, mayflies, other larvae, frogs, and crayfish have been spotted. The still remains leaves on the trees are bogged down with water. No signs of large mammals have been seen yet.

Common organisms found (not my photos)

    

Sources: Image 1

https://gonefroggin.com/2016/09/26/frogs-and-toads-of-vermont/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rustyblackbird/2481250621

Introduction

 

Hi, my name is Anna Eekraw, and I am from Essex Junction, VT. Because I only live 20 minutes away from UVM and go home regularly, I decided it would be easier to chose my own backyard as my phenology place. I am lucky enough to have a natural area in my backyard with a stream and a diverse species of trees.

 

I chose my phenology spot because of two reasons: convenience and curiosity. This cozy stream surrounded by many trees, plants, and wildlife is just a few steps from my back patio. Even more, the stream leads directly into Indian Brooke in Essex, VT. which then leads into Lake Champlain. During the summer months I swim at Indian Brooke and go boating on Lake Champlain, so it’s nice to see part of the larger watershed right in my backyard. Indian is a very popular place to swim in my town. What happens in the stream in my backyard can directly impact this resorvoir. Second, as a kid I played in the stream but have never directly observed the area. I want to be more familiar with the trees and living organism so close to me. I believe I can use what I have learned and will learn in NR 1 to gain a new perspective on a place I have spent my childhood.