Sense of Place

The displaced bridge over Centennial Brook

My relationship with Centennial woods is both academic and recreational. I have gone to my site on multiple occasions for classes, labs, and just to enjoy a forested area so close to campus. For myself, the brook in these woods has been a setting for relaxation, contemplation, and curiosity. As the seasons have changed, simply the way I can exist in this place has changed. The brook once flowed, the bridges were crossable, and there was much more foot traffic. Today, the water is frozen over, and the brook is almost unrecognizable. It has stayed beautiful throughout the transitions, but the habitat evokes very different feelings than it did in October. 

The most prominent feature of Centennial Woods in my own definition of sense of place, is the fact that it provides dozens of acres of forest right in the city of Burlington. I value these woods for the escape they provide, a glimpse of serenity in the fast paced day to day life. I have a strong sense of place here because I have always valued landscapes similar to these woods, and have always spent a great deal of time in them. I feel strongly tied to Vermont because of its natural landscape, that being a majority forested region. Knowing that these woods were once agricultural land and sheep grazing lands, I do not think I could’ve felt as connected to this location during those times.

During a period of logging, grazing, and decimation of regional and state wide forests and soils, I honestly do think I would’ve felt like what society was doing with the land benefitted me. During that time, land was valued higher when it was modified to meet the needs of production. Today, Centennial Woods is still a productive place, but in a very different way.

Centennial woods is becoming a place that is increasingly contaminated from impervious surface runoff, encroaching buildings and major roadways that increase the “edge effect”, as well as power lines and runoff ponds. These woods are slowly shrinking from a variety of human land use practices, but fortunately UVM donated the rights of the woods to the Vermont Land Trust so that they should be conserved indefinitely.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mapping and Charismatic Species

I noticed significant changes at Centennial woods during my trip to the brook today. The night before I visited the brook, there were torrential downpours and flooding across the city of Burlington. Centennial woods collects much of the runoff from the city because it is downhill, so there was significantly higher water levels. The bank of the brook had been eroded a couple feet, creating a vertical drop among the side of the brook. Most of the vegetation was browning or had begun to die off. The majority of the trees had lost their leaves, except the eastern white pine stand of course. The Oaks, Ash’s, and Maples have all lost their leaves to litter among the forest floor.The Red Maples red leaves have fallen, with the exception of a few lingering young trees with their yellow leaves. In the trees, all the cholorphil has broken down, and the presence of green leafs reside in the understory. The wood ferns, blue cohosh, and buckthorn, and various grasses along the brook represent the lingering effects of fluctuating autumn temperatures. Mapping the site based on memory was an interesting test to see what parts of my site were important to me, what I truly remembered. Then going on to the site, I realized much of what I have forgotten, but also the significance of what I did remember. The changes in falling leaves and water levels are the most prominent in my memory, but the detailed report of flora life was exposed through thinking about what species define the brook at this time of year and adding them to my map. Going forward, I think I will look to these key defining species in not only looking at they change through the oncoming winter, but how the health of them changes in general with different weather and land usage patterns.

East Brook
Birds eye map of Centennial Brook
Field notes
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hello world!

Welcome to UVM Blogs. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment