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Oakledge Park Phenology Site

Snow on the Shore

Posted: December 7th, 2018 by ahallora

Temperatures had been low leading up to my final visit to Oakledge Park this week, and snow and ice coated the ground and the lakeshore. All the beautiful colors of fall have been replaced with ghostly whites and grays, and the beautiful view of the Adirondacks was almost completely covered in a heavy, low fog. As I walked along the edge of the water, it was almost impossible not to slide on the frozen rocks, all of which were covered in a thick veneer of ice. The plant life was frozen solid, and the clear, faultless ice surrounding them provided a window into a world frozen solid. The leaves have long since left the deciduous trees of the area, and many of them could be found at the bottom of the beautifully clear water, drifting in the currents. The freezing winds and slippery shore has scared away many of the park’s patrons, but it was easy to see why people have flocked here during the summer months for years.

Oakledge Park has been a swimming area for the people around Burlington for generations. The Oakledge Manor Resort once sat on these shores. Built as a house for the Webb family (the same family that eventually moved to Shelburne Farms) in 1884, it became a resort in 1926, and later a country club. It closed down in 1970, and a year later was burned to the ground by the Burlington Fire Department in a training exercise.

This bay has been used as a boat launch since settlers came to Lake Champlain, and will hopefully remain a historical swimming area for generations to come.

Thanksgiving Phenology Site

Posted: November 26th, 2018 by ahallora

Google Maps Link: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Umpire+Rock/@40.7691066,-73.9790372,439m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x89c258f6a9ca2ba1:0x4372d987987f83b4!8m2!3d40.7691242!4d-73.9777708

Description as Leopold

I spent my Thanksgiving break back home in the concrete jungle of New York City, and on one of the warmer and less damp days, I traveled through Central Park with some old friends. As we hiked south, we passed hundreds of American Sycamores, Pin Oaks, and American Elms, three of the most common trees in the park, and ones that inspire awe through their size and hardiness, surviving in patches of dirt sectioned off by winding pavement. As we reached the southern tip of the park, we came upon an old haunt of ours, Umpire Rock, better known as Rat Rock due to its many crevices that keep the rodents dry during rainstorms. From the top of the massive boulder, we received a beautiful view of midtown and its gray skyscrapers reaching up towards the setting sun.

Comparison as Holland

Although it was a relief to find respite in the more moderate climate of the city, it was impossible not to notice the differences from the phenology site on Lake Champlain. The beautiful sycamores found in Central Park are unable to grow as far north as Vermont because of the weather, and the bright white birches found along the lake-shore are nowhere to be found in the metropolis. Where Burlington is in perfect leaf-peeping territory, and fall finds tourists flocking to the mountains and their flame


colored vegetation, fall in New York City covers the ground in brittle, dusty, brown leaves, which have a tendency to be swept up into small dust devils. Rat Rock and much of the other geology in the city is actually comprised of a very unique type of rock, Manhattan Schist. The gray boulders are characterized by flowing, wavy patterns and grooves formed by the passage of massive glaciers overhead; glaciers that deposited the same boulders in what would one day become an oasis of nature in the middle of a bustling cultural center. As I drove south from Burlington to New York, the decrease in the amount of snow on the ground and the increase in temperature was also an obvious difference, and a welcome one.

Event Map of Oakledge Park

Posted: November 5th, 2018 by ahallora

This week’s trip to Oakledge Park was significantly cooler, and the 4 mile bike ride definitely required some layers. The bike path was covered in bright yellow leaves, making it difficult to stay on the trail in some places. There were a ton of people enjoying the waterfront, and families were enjoying the playgrounds along the way. Once I made it to Oakledge park, it was hard not to notice that all the trees now have beautifully colored leaves. Most trees in the area are white or red oaks, and their leaves were all extremely bright oranges and yellows. The ground was covered in dried white oak leaves, and they rustled with each gust of wind. The birch trees had the brightest color leaves, but they were falling off at the fastest rate, making it easy to see the sun setting over the other side of the lake. Burlington was easily visible across the bay, a conspicuously developed area on a shore otherwise filled with natural life. An enormous shagbark hickory was almost completely empty of leaves. On the bike ride back, I observed that there was a train outfitted with a snowplow resting on the tracks, ready for winter weather. As I struggled up College Street, I found that I had to avoid a fairly significant stream of water running alongside the curb. The flow only became stronger as I neared the top of the hill, and as I rounded the corner, I found a leaky manhole to be the culprit, perfectly illustrating the problems that impervious surfaces can create.

Cold Weather, Cold Water

Posted: October 22nd, 2018 by ahallora

When I came back to visit my phenology site this week, I could feel the winter weather on my skin. Next to the lake, the wind was whipping up water and rattling the now colorful and dry leaves. I could just barely hear the songs of birds over the sounds of the wind, but I never once saw one during my visit. Aside from the weather and colors, the most obvious change to the site is how much earlier the sun sets each day. It seemed like I had only just gotten there when it began to grow darker and colder.

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