The Chair

Nicknamed “The Chair” by locals, my second phenology location resides off of Wantagh State Parkway behind some backyards in Wantagh, New York. This place is a slightly wooded area with an old drainage ditch resembling a large chair (hence the nickname) as the center. Being that there is a drainage ditch, there is concrete throughout location making for an interesting terrain. One reason I chose this place to compare to my location in Centennial Woods is because of its proximity to a major highway and the fact that it is virtually a part of the backyards in the neighborhood. Being that Centennial Woods is a protected natural area, I speculated there were be vast differences between it and The Chair because the Chair is exposed to the stresses of residing in a modern urbanized society. Additionally, many visitors to The Chair treat it like a trash room. This fact combined with the high amount of concrete in the area makes The Chair a viable location to observe how humans impact their environment.

Beyond the interesting observations that may come from comparing a place such as the Chair to Centennial Woods, I chose The Chair because of its importance to me. Although my friends and I only recently discovered it, the Chair has became a place of comfort and home for us as we spent countless nights hanging out here throughout the past year. We visited here virtually every weekend of senior year in high school and multiple times a week during the summer so I spent the last year observing phenological changes here (although I did not realize it at the time).

Path leading to The Chair.

View from entrance to The Chair.

Concrete lining ground with Wantagh State Parkway in the background.

When comparing the vegetation between my site in Centennial and the Chair there are not many similarities. In terms of composition, the two sites only had Norway Maple and Northern Red OakĀ  in common. Apart from the Norway Maple and Red Oak, the only other species I was able to identify was a Red Maple as most of the vegetation in the area are shrubs that appear to be invasive. Another difference (that I was very surprised to find seeing as how my Centennial location was relatively desolate of leaf bearing trees) is that a lot of plants haveĀ  retained most of their leaves at The Chair. Even more surprising is that many of them still haven’t broken down their chlorophyll, meaning they are still green. Although I found this observation initially surprising, upon reflection it makes sense when accounting for Long Island’s more temperate climate. Additional differences can be drawn when comparing the structure/age of the trees. Most of the trees at the Chair appear to more mature then those in Centennial as they are larger with thicker trunks and denser crowns (this last one being somewhat hard to compare at this stage of the year). Additionally, many of the trees at the Chair have been warped and now grow and various angles while the trees in Centennial generally grow in a typical fashion. The limited space and its location in an urbanized area leads to competition for resources/space, accounting for the strange growing patters at the Chair. Since Centennial Woods is an open forest, the tress have more room to grow and more available resources.

 

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