Thanksgiving Phenology Site

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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.

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