Bittersweet- May 5th

This final post will conclude my time spent at my phenology site. It has been a wonderful learning experience, and eye-opening. The combination of nature and culture in a specific landscape, has taught me more about what a sustainable place should look like. Nature and culture intertwined can create beautiful things, similarly to that found at my site.

Nature and culture are constantly combining and flourishing around my site. Centennial woods is made for the people of Greater Burlington to have a space in which they can escape from the busy city, and relax in solitude. Outdoor recreation is a big part of why most of the trails were created-so that people can run, bike and walk at their own leisure. This calming and tranquil atmosphere would not be possible without the vast abundance of plant and wildlife that inhabits these woods. The trails were made to effect the least amount of habitat possible. At my site specifically, there is a small bridge that leads into a medium sized clearing near a stream. Here, humans are able to view and appreciate the running water  and stream bank that is untouched, while animals are able to depend on a viable drinking source. I have seen many squirrels and chipmunks while visiting my site, and we were able to coexist peacefully while they collected food and visited the stream. There are also many tree species that provide shade on hot days for runners, while also serving as a home for other animals. Nature and culture is able to thrive in this area because humans are treating it with respect. Centennial Woods is an area that must be protected, because it offers so many great things for a vast amount of different life forms.

I do consider myself part of my place. If you spend enough time anywhere and put enough dedication into it, you can share it too. I have taken time to research and study that specific place. I visited every season through rain, shine and snow. My phenology site is a special place I can escape to when college is hectic. I am respectful and appreciative of my phenology spot, and grateful for this opportunity. I consider myself part of my place, because I am brining culture to nature. I feel as though I am a the link that is combining these two together, so I must be part of my place.

Some phenological changes I witnessed at my site were; a lot more birds chirping, signs of wildlife (scat), leaf litter decomposed, grass growing back, trees budding and the snow finally all melted away.

April 16th!

Unfortunately, ice and snow still remains to cover the ground. While visiting my phenology site, I hoped that I would see signs of amphibians and more wildlife. Sadly, this occasion did not occur. (The animals that inhabit Centennial Woods, are probably just as confused as we are this spring with the unreliable weather!) This late snowfall, also made the sprouting of wildflowers unseeable. However, we did not receive too much snow, and some melting has begun already, so I was able to see small patches of grasses thriving. Also, most of the maple trees in my area have already started to bloom. Besides from the species whom started their seasonality changes in March, not much else has changed at my phenology site. Here is my interpretation of Sugar Maple Tree budding.

My site is deep within the woods, and is a highly active part of the trail. The closest edge would most likely be the beginning of the trail. Therefore, there is not much of an edge effect in my area. However, there could be some effect as to how busy this area can be. There are no boundaries of separate habitats that are greatly established, but human impact could effect the biodiversity levels in this area. The natural patterns and processes seen in this area, can also be found in many places among Centennial Woods. Also, I do not think that my site provides habitat for any forest interior species. Because this is not a secluded or sheltered environment. Animals would not prefer this type of habitat, due to its active and disturbed, recreational conditions. With the exception of few squirrels, birds and chipmunks I have seen. Some animals could call this place home, but none in abundance.

Tunbridge VT

Because I was very busy over Spring Break, I decided to spend my time exploring something that was in close proximity and easily accessible. My house! My house is in Tunbridge Vermont, and we have a few acres of land that we take care of cows on. I am extremely grateful to live somewhere sobeautiful and bountiful of nature.

The natural history of my phenology spot has always been used for farming purposes. The farm has gone through many families and began in the early 1900’s. The town was founded in 1761, and its population is roughly 1,000 people. Tunbridge, Vermont is known for two things; its state fair in mid September, and farming. The cows that inhabit this land are raised here to produce offspring, and later used for dairy purposes.

Bird activity in my field, is very productive and diverse. I was not able to catch an image of just one bird, but I saw what looked like a hermit thrush, and four-to-five robins near the edge of the forest, inhabiting a couple of trees. The phenological condition of this land is extremely healthy and fertile. Because this is private land, we are responsible for making sure the land is rich and healthy. Furthermore, we maintain an environment that has a high biodiversity, and an untouched (except for agricultural land) landscape. There is a mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees on this land. The trees that I examined were Sugar Maples and Hemlock. They were both tall and wide, also no signs of infection or invasive species.

This is a picture of my barn, looking up towards the filed.  There are less trees towards the house and barn, because they were most likely cut down during development.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/43°51’20.7%22N+72°30’14.0%22W/@43.8557496,-72.5126672,15z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m9!1m2!2m1!1s8+russell+road+tunbridge+vt+coordinates!3m5!1s0x0:0x0!7e2!8m2!3d43.8557348!4d-72.5038906

 

Natural Communities- March 5th

Image result for cute march clipart

The classification of the natural community of my site in Centennial Woods, is a Hemlock-Spruce-Northern Hardwood Forest. I came to this conclusion, by paying close attention to the species in/around my site, and in Centennial Woods in general. I identified more coniferous trees than deciduous. For example, there are a surplus of Eastern Hemlock that can be found on either side of the trail as you are heading deeper into these woods.

There are also a few Eastern White Pine around my site, and more spread throughout Centennial. In a Hemlock-Spruce-Northern Hardwood Forest, there is also a chance of having Sugar Maple, Yellow Birch, and American Beech; all of which are present in Centennial Woods. Also, the landform/location of this Forest is an indicator of its natural community.  Hemlock-Spruce-Northern Hardwood Forests usually occur at moderate elevations typically less than 1000 ft (Centennial Woods: 246 ft).

The most obvious phenological changes that have occurred at my site, have been the return of wildlife, and the melting of the snow. For example, I witnessed a spring peeper near the stream of my site, he moved away too quick for me to take a picture, but this spotting was a clear example of the changing of the seasons. I also noticed more squirrels and chipmunks around my site. On some of the Sugar Maple trees, there is evidence of squirrel-tree tapping. The squirrels will bite into sugar maples around this time of year, and allow the sap to run allowing them to drink.

Also, the stream near my site is clear of fallen leaves, and is flowing freely once again. The substrate of my site, is not well drained at this time and very muddy. Mud season in Vermont is in full-effect and will continue through the Spring. If you are a Vermonter (like me) you will understand the longevity of this “season”.

Biofinder:

From a bird’s eye view, you can see the majority of coniferous trees-like my prediction of a natural community proves. Also, you can see the stream flowing through Centennial woods, which is larger than what I had predicted. Also, this area is classified as a wetland/woodland area because of its close proximity to the stream. This is classified as a physical landscape, containing riparian areas & corridors. This information surprised me and was very interesting. The area in which I choose is part of a wetland, which now makes sense considering certain species that are found there. There are different classifications and parts to Centennial Woods, which are worth learning more about.

February 5th Wildlife Activity

Winter is in full force, and life has changed in Centennial Woods. The apparent changing of the seasons, has dramatically changed the landscape. Some of the changes that have occurred at my site, include changes you can hear. For example, the lack of birds chirping is evidence of migration. There is ice frozen over the stream, and the fallen leaves have been covered by snow. If you look at the photos below, there is evidence of squirrel tracks. You can tell that these tracks are from a galloper. These tracks were far too big to be a white-footed mouse, and too small to be a hare or a rabbit. So I believe these tracks are from a gray squirrel.

The squirrel that I was tracking in the pictures above, seemed to be going at a normal pace, and stayed close to tree cover. Galloping in a straight line, the squirrel traveled a far distance. I also noticed around my phenology site, bark that has been eaten, or scratched at by either a muskrat or beaver. I could not find any evidence of their tracks around the tree, but thought this was a great find!

Some of the deciduous trees I can identify at my site, include the Sugar Maple, American Beech, Paper Birch, and Ash. I collected twigs from the most identifiable trees around my site. Below you can see a Sugar Maple twig, and an American Beech twig. The Sugar Maple twig is easily identifiable by its pointy terminal bud. The American Beech twig is known by having “cigar buds” which makes these twigs easy to recognize.

Lastly, you can see my drawing of the American Beech twig, and its anatomy.

Human History of Centennial Woods

Courtesy of UVM Special Collections

This map from 1890 shows the layout of our city. Parts of Centennial Woods were previously owned by C. Baxter Est., H. Stevens, Hickok Est., and the Ainsworth family. I assume that this land was used for agricultural purposes, and most likely the previous owners were wealthy.

Before this time, research shows that Centennial Woods was utilized by Native Americans for a variety of resources, and also for Euro-American settlement and land use. We can tell that this land was previously used for agricultural purposes because of the White Pines and the other woody species that are invading the once abundant grasses, milkweed, and other herbaceous plants. Earlier settlers used a plant called scouring rush that can still be found on the trails today. Scouring rush was used to polish sand wood and pewter, and it was also useful in scouring their pots and pans.

Image result for scouring rush centennial woods

Although Centennial Woods is subject to city noise, pollution, and within close proximity to an airport, it has become a great natural escape for thousands of people over time. The University of Vermont bout this land in 1974, and has continuously provided many learning opportunities, and recreational activities to students and the public.

My final visit to my spot was great! A little cold outside, but definitely worth it! All of the leaves have floated down the stream, and the trees have become completely bare. The stream was flowing very slowly, and very little wind was blowing.

But the sun was shining, and it was a great day. The woods were quiet, and very peaceful. Birds were chirping and although I was not able to identify a specific species, I was pretty sure I heard a Wood Thrush!

Sources:

Hopkins, G. M. Map of the city of Burlington, Vermont: from official records, private plans and actual surveys. Philadelphia, Pa.: G.M. Hopkins, 1890.
http://cdi.uvm.edu/collections/item/Burlington_Hopkins_1890 (accessed December 02, 2014)

UVM Libraries Research Guides: Centennial Woods Natural Area: History. (2016, March 7). Retrieved December 09, 2017, from http://researchguides.uvm.edu/c.php?g=290508&p=1935271

U. E. (n.d.). The Changing Landscapes of Centennial Woods Natural Area. Retrieved December 9, 2017, from http://www.uvm.edu/~uvmsc/Centennial%20Woods/Changing_Landscapes_Centennial_Woods002.pdf

 

South Royalton Vermont Phenology Spot

https://www.google.com/maps/place/South+Royalton,+Royalton,+VT/@43.8223889,-72.5183149,123a,35y,278.63h,45t/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x4cb4d98c3a9c36a1:0x9f3d3d5952a5b734!8m2!3d43.8205295!4d-72.5213419

Leopold Perspective:

Here, in the small town of South Royalton, Vermont the river flows beneath a large grey bridge. Much like the unpredictable flow of the river, the cold wind blows against my face. What a sight to see, the coming together of man-made inventions and nature. The river is cold like the air. Although it is not obvious to the naked eye, the run-off coming from the urban development is polluting this breathtaking spot by the river. This beautiful tragedy, attracts people of all ages in the warmer months of Vermont. There are massive rocks, telling a story of geology to the town’s residents. The White River is powerful and rapid in some spots, but gentle and calm elsewhere. Law School students have used this spot for years, to enjoy the river’s company. Many families have returned every year to swim in this aquatic gift we have received. The White River touches many towns across Vermont, but plays a specific role here in South Royalton. A sense of community is provided by the soft sounds of the river. Field trips are made from the high school to experience and learn more about the waterway. The river has flowed through many generations in this town, and much like the last names that have stayed for decades, the river will remain too.

The bank is filled with pebbles and rocks. The sediment within the river is also very rocky.

 

For the duration of my time spent at the bank of this river, I noticed many interesting signs of life. As you can see above, I noticed a track from an animal. I think that this mark was left from a beaver, or a muskrat. This phenology spot has much less plant life than my spot in Centennial Woods in Burlington. The spot by the river is open, and exposed to urban development. There are no trees by the river, as compared to the abundance of Oaks and Birches I notice at my other Phenology spot. Here, the wind blows freely, and there is no protection from nature. The sediment is very rocky, unlike the soft soil that surrounds my place in Centennial Woods. Although each place is greatly different from one another, each holds a special place in my heart.

The World as Events: Poem

 

 

The leaves; yellow and brown

Have fallen to the ground.

The stream’s voice is quiet and slow,

Much like the speed of its flow.

My journey has led me to this place,

in which nature has shown me its grace.

Preparation for winter begins,

as Mother Nature begins once again grins.

The World as Events

Changes seen in my phenology spot include an increase in bare trees, more silence, and a slower water flow because of an increase of fallen leaves in the stream. Not much has changed since my previous visit, but the weather is starting to get colder, and animals are beginning to prepare for the winter. I was able o notice some squirrels gathering acorns from nearby trees, they are beginning to stock up for the near cold season.