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Hey all!

As I went on my final journey to my phenology spot, I start to notice the real signs of spring. The trees have come alive! A large chunk of the trees in my spot have began to start budding. Trees that began budding were black cherry, paper birch, white oaks, and even sugar maples. As for the mammals I observed, I was lucky enough to see the campus snowy owl on one of the buildings in front of centennial woods. Hopefully centennial woods is the home to this gorgeous creature. At my spot however, I was able to spot a grey squirrel and a chipmunk. For the amphibians, I was able to spot a wood frog hopping near the stream at my site. As the climate began to change, green has began to scatter the ground. Some tall grasses regained some color on the other side of my stream. In addition, a patch of lilies sparkled their yellow colors right next to the stream bank. My spot felt a lot more welcoming with all of this newfound vegetation recovering from the harsh winter. Centennial Woods, for me, is the best possible place for UVM students to escape and take a moment to relax. The outdoor culture of Vermont and my phenology spot are incredibly intertwined. First off, the woods prove to be a fantastic place to learn about the ecology of Vermont. In NR 1 and NR 2, we talked about and visited centennial woods quite a bit! In addition, Centennial Woods has a well maintained path to allow anyone in the area to explore a small glimpse of the natural beauty Vermont has. I personally believe that Centennial Woods was a fantastic way for me to connect with nature. Every time I stumble onto my site, I feel like it is MY site. I know the landscape and where the trees are (and what species they are) without looking. I have become incredibly comfortable being alone in the woods doing nothing but observing. For me it was an escape from all of the stress school caused me. At this point, I would 100% say that I am part of my phenology spot for all of the reasons I have stated above. In addition, I feel like this because I frequent the spot so often that it feels like the forest welcomes me when I walk on the premise and it really is an indescribable feeling.. I just feel right when I am there, and I advise all of you to take a stroll down to my stream so you can all experience the beauty of this spot.

Thanks again for stickin’ with me throughout my phenology adventures! I hope you all have a great summer and find time to explore the wild.



Hey all and welcome back to my blog!

Upon arrival to my phenology spot in centennial woods, I was not surprised to see that the signs of spring would be hard to see. The entire forest floor was covered with a ice covered sheet of slushy snow. Sadly there was little vegetation visible on the ground. However, I looked up and was able to notice that a few paper birch began to bud their leaves. Very small and shriveled looking leaves came off of the branches but only a few. In addition to the lack of vegetation visible on the ground, there were also no signs that any amphibians were out and about when I visited. At centennial woods, there is a very good example of the edge effect in action. The hardwood forest is neighbors with the university and parking lots. The edge effect is the effect that ecosystems experience when bordering human development. It is noticeable that there is less plant diversity on the outskirts of the area because it tends to be early succession. Also there is a significantly larger amount of pollution that these plants have to deal with. This can be disruptive for certain plant species and unfit for their growth. The edge effect also divides animal populations. A prime example is all of the animal habitats neighboring our human habitat and civilization. As sad as it sounds, this weather makes me thing that the next week or two is going to be more wintery than springy ūüôĀ . I hope you all stay warm, please enjoy this sketch of a paper birch at my phenology site.


Signing off,

Ben Levy

Exploration of Red Butte, The hike of a lifetime

Welcome back to my blog spring breakers!

Over spring break, two of my friends from home and I went to Aspen Colorado for the week. Our days were mostly full of snowboarding and walking around in town. However, on Wednesday, we decided to go on a hike because it was 60 degrees out. Red Butte is a quick walk away from the house we were staying at. So when we woke up, we packed the essentials and were off. At the base of the mountain, there was plenty of vegetation and unmelted snow due to the shadow the mountain casts. After we hiked our way out of the snow, we came to a dry red path. The mountain is a clay mountain that is home to many different tree species. One species I recognized were spruce trees on the back side of the mountain. I noticed these were spruce because they were mostly in the shade and the species is shade tolerant. In addition, I did some extra research and discovered a lot of the woody plants to be junipers. While hiking up, we noticed several animal tracks and scat that was left behind. From the scat, I was able to determine that a deer had passed through. There were also cat paw prints that we assumed came from a mountain lion. At the peak of the mountain, it is a very dry, rocky area with only dark, dead-looking bushes scattered around. As for the bird species we saw, there were several that flew by including a couple Magpies, Crows, and 2 Bald Eagles. During this hike, I was given the opportunity of a life time to watch the 2 bald eagles preform their mating ritual and the famous death spiral. This was by far the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my entire life and I am incredibly lucky to have been there. The biggest difference between my site in Burlington and Red Butte, is the elevation. It is much higher in elevation in colorado so the majority of the tree species are adapted differently to the environment. It is also much hotter because the sun if closer in Colorado. In addition, the air itself is thinner and dryer than the air in Vermont. All in all, my phenology site in Colorado was by far the most exciting place i have visited this year. Please enjoy some of the gorgeous pictures that we took on the hike.

This is Ben Levy signing off and encouraging you to spend a day on top of a mountain!

Phenology post 3/5, Is that spring I smell? Nope, not yet.

Hi all, and welcome to my newest blog post!

Centennial Woods, one of the University of Vermont’s best areas features a wide variety of wild life and vegetation. The forest borders a large urban area but the forest continues to thrive. Centennial Woods is home to a mainly northern hardwood natural community. However, the diversity among species opens up the opportunity for many habitats to form. My location in specific would fall under the hemlock forest natural community. I was able to determine this as the natural community because of the varying tree species that thrive here. There are¬†tree species such as eastern hemlock, american beech, sugar maple, red oak and white pines that all live in the same area. In addition to this, the bedrock is short and shallow with well-drained soils (stream next to my site), the ideal substrate for many of these species to grow in. the steam also suggests that my area is a wetland.¬† Some of the animals that frequent my site are¬†white-tailed deer, grey squirrels, and cotton tail rabbits. These animals tend to feed off the many nutrients the trees in the area can provide. Since my last visit to Centennial Woods, there is a lot less snow than there was before. The stream next to my site has unfrozen mostly but still has chunks of ice sitting on its surface. Most noticeably, there are far more birds than there were on my last visit. The warmer weather and higher population of birds can suggest that our winter is on its way out (hopefully). As for the vegetation, no leaves (besides those of conifers) have began to grow, the deciduous trees are still bare and sad looking, but don’t worry! The leaves will hopefully be back soon! My area seems like there has been animal movement but the few patches of snow doesn’t exactly allow me to determine who the tracks belong to. If I had to guess, I would say a grey squirrel had scampered through my site. On Biofinder, I was able to determine my site is a class 2 wetland. I also discovered, according to Biofinder, that my stream is a high priority riparian wildlife connectivity meaning that it is an essential place for wildlife crossing. Something super neat that Biofinder taught me about Centennial Woods is that it is home to a large population of rare animal species deeper in the woods. Well, until the next time I get to examine the neat nature of Centennial Woods, I leave you with a small inspiring message: “Spring is natures way of saying ‘lets party!'” -Robin Williams

This is Ben Levy signing off!


Hello and welcome to my blog! This semester I have changed my location to an area in centennial woods. To get there, you walk down the main path, and when you come across a massive tree that is uprooted and turned on its side, then take a right. My spot is located directly near a gently flowing stream that is currently partially frozen. When I went to visit my spot, there had just been a fresh dusting of snow the morning before which made tracking animals hard because all of the prints were covered in fresh snow. However, there were many tracks that could have been smaller animals such as red foxes, squirrels and possibly rabbits. Although there was not a whole lot of visible track, I followed a pair of smaller tracks to a pile of scat. Based on the size of the tracks and the spherical shape and size of the scat, I would conclude that the scat belonged to a Cottontail Rabbit. As for the trees in my area, I identified them by examining their twigs. One of the twigs was a reddish/brown color that I identified to be a white oak twig. Another twig I identified had flattened yellow naked buds so I concluded the twig belonged to a Bitternut Hickory. Another twig I identified had a large end bud with loose outer scale which I concluded to be shagbark hickory. Other trees Identified in the area were black cherry, sugar maple, and paper birch. Please enjoy the pictures below of my site and all it holds!

Until next time, this is Ben Levy signing off!

<-Stream near my phenology spot


<-Cottontail Rabbit tracks leading to scat<-Cottontail Rabbit Scat

<-White Oak Twig

 <-Bitternut Hickory Twig

<-Shagbark Hickory Twig

<-Sketch of White Oak Twig


Final phenology post :,(

Hi all! Today were talking about the human history on my phenology¬† location. My phenology location began as a hardwood forest, the land was decorated in eastern white pines, northern red oaks and many other hardwood trees. The land was occupied by animals and yet to encounter many humans. However, in the late 1890’s the Fairholt estate was established by¬†Henry Holt. The land was repurposed to fit a summer home. After many years of negotiation, Holt sold 150 acres of land to¬†members of the Waubanakee Golf Club who later formed the Burlington Country Club. Building this club uprooted almost all of the remaining hardwood forest, evicting many owls and squirrels that use to inhabit the land. Then in 1998, serious renovations were made to enhance the golfers experience, resulting in more open land and perfect landscaping. My phenology spot was left un-altered because it is on the outskirts of the golf course. However, with another serious renovation, this land may be deforested resulting in the entire area to be cleared of trees and the animals that live there. As of now, the place is untouched by most humans, except for the occasional golfer that wanders in looking for his ball. But, the area itself is¬† an absolutely gorgeous place and I truly hope that it will be able to stay that way. For the last time, this is Ben Levy signing off!

Home town phenology spot

Hi all, Welcome back to another blog post, in this post I will talk about my hometown phenology spot, Foley’s Pond which is located in Highland Park IL.

As I walk into the long tree lined path to enter Foley’s pond for the first time since the summer, I immediately feel at home. The calm cool wind blows in my face and the smell of the pond grows stronger and stronger. I make it into the massive clearing to see the beautiful sun sparkling on the green water. I feel warm even though its cold out. It was like reuniting with an old friend. I sat down on the bench that overlooks the pond and began to observe my surroundings. Many birds come to join me to observe the wonders of nature. I see a hand full Grebes fly over the pond and dive to find some lunch. As I look across the pond, I notice an orange glow in the water. A group of happy orange coy surface the water and wiggle around each other. The bright glow contrasted with the dark green water makes me feel like the fish don’t belong in such murky water. But at the same time, I think to myself about how you usually find the most beautiful and unexpected things in places that you would never expect. Being back at Foley’s made me realize how much my outlook on nature has changed. I feel more connected to the earth now than ever before.


The differences and similarities of my phenology spot at home and in Vermont amazed me. Both spots were heavily impacted by humans. My spot in Vermont is neighboring a golf course. Human interaction with the environment had changed the wildlife populations without a doubt. Similarly, my hometown phenology spot is also located next to a golf course. These human impacts directly change the land and those that reside in it. At my hometown spot, there is a lot of fishing which disrupts the coy in the pond. The animals are simply living in their home and we take them out just for fun. It is important to always remember that humans were made to coexist with nature, not strip it of all its resources. In both of my spots, trees are cut down to make massive green clearings that are later developed into golf courses. This not only strips the land of its resources, but it also destroys the beauty of the spot. The animals varied in my 2 spots. Specifically, my Vermont spot doesn’t have any water in the area so all of the animals I see are terrestrial animals (squirrels, birds, chipmunks) whereas at home, there is marine and terrestrial animals (Coy, birds, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits). The majority of trees in my area are red oaks, whereas in my Vermont spot there is a lot of variety when it comes to trees. All in all, the comparison was neat to make because the ecology in Illinois and Vermont had a surprising amount of similarity.

Event map, Landscape changes, and a Poem

Hey all and welcome back to my blog! When returning back to my clearing in the forrest, I came to discover the location had flooded after the continuos rainfall. Many of the leaves in my area have fallen off of the trees creating an orange and yellow floor. The owl returned to my spot again, i’m beginning to think a nest may be near by! The vegetation has kept constant and there is still a large population of poison ivy. Im afraid I have to leave you here, but heres an inspiring poem and my event map!!


The rain falls creating a beat,

Along with the pitter patter of my feet.

The wind blows through the trees,

I look up to the sky and watch as the trees suddenly freeze.

Finally, peace and quiet, the birds are flying,

I only have to pay attention to the poison ivy, and trust me i’m trying.

The wind picks up, and i begin to shiver,

The pines begin to quiver.

A squirrel scavenges for a nut,

I scrape my hand on a tree and now have a cut.

I feel incredibly connected to the nature,

But it is as cold as a glacier.

So I must go home and retreat,

To get warm and eat!





Birds eye view and more information about my special place outdoors

Hey there fellow blog enthusiast!

Im back from another visit to my phenology spot. After visiting my clearing in the forest again, I was able to notice that fall has taken full effect. The deciduous trees such as the striped maple which leaves glowed vibrantly with a reddish orange tint. In addition, many of the box elders leaves had fallen off making the clearing look more empty than before. The poison ivy has spread to another side of the clearing. As I was examining the trees and their leaves, an owl swooped in and landed on an eastern pine branch and just sat there until I left. The only other animals I saw were squirrels and a chipmunk. Since the area is located close to a residential area and country club, I could understand why it is not the most suitable habitat for many animals. Attached to this post I have my birds eye view of my spot. Until next time, Ben Levy signing off!

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