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!


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


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.

My Interpretation Drawing

Some of the changes I have noticed since previous visits, have been an increase of leaf matter on the ground, due to the changing of the seasons. During this visit, I was lucky enough to see a pileated woodpecker, and track its sound. Unfortunately, I could not snag a picture. The stream flows slow still, and the water level remains the same.


Identifying species in my phenology project, I found honeysuckle and buckthorn! It was interesting to see both of these invasive species in such abundance. There were many more species in this area, but these two were the most bountiful.