Comfort in Nature- The Very Beginning

Hello everyone! The area I have chosen for my phenology site resonated as not only one with incredible natural diversity, but also one that feels incredibly familiar, comforting, and relaxing to visit. The area I have chosen is a little ways into Centennial Woods. It has a clear view of a small creek with a diverse range of vegetation all around- plenty to take in with the naked eye on such a short venture. I knew I wanted to choose a spot with a lot of natural diversity and that stood out to me as something either familiar or comfortable- and I was able to achieve all of those things with this site. In addition, by visiting Centennial Woods for NR 1 class, and for practicing tree identification, Centennial Woods became an area I was very fascinated with. Back home there is a park I used to frequent and it too had a small creek running through it and relatively dense areas of vegetation and plenty of diversity to take in. The phenology spot I chose gave me a similar feeling of comfort and familiarity which will make me even more eager to visit my dedicated site.

If you are interested in visiting this site, you’re in luck because it isn’t difficult to get to at all! This is also something I appreciate about my site: you don’t have to travel so far or experience anything so treacherous to appreciate the relaxing qualities and natural depth this spot holds. Going to this spot will be incredibly similar to the route many of you had to travel for the first NR 1 lab in Centennial Woods. At the start of the entrance to Centennial Woods walk straight down and take a slight left (you will pass a Black Cherry tree on your right). Continue on this path and cross the man-made bridges over the smaller creek and continue up a small incline, passing the creek on your left. Go through the pine tree stand and go straight and down a small decline (do not go right). As you descend slightly, keep along the trail and keep the creek to your left. Continue this way and look off the trail to your left until you see a large fallen tree that is fairly large in diameter- it will be parallel to the creek. Past the fallen tree there will be a slight descend with clear view of the creek at the bottom. Step over the fallen tree, take a seat, and enjoy! The picture included in this post will indicate the clear opening of the creek I am referring to.

If you do a little 360° from my phenology site, you’ll probably notice that there are a lot of dead branches, fallen trees, twigs, Eastern White Pine needles, and dead leaves. Many of these fallen trees have moss accumulated primarily on the most exposed side that would be facing you as you look down. There are many ferns and small shrubs on the understory and there is a fair amount of light exposed from the canopy. Eastern White Pine, Eastern Hemlock, Sugar Maple, and Ash are the most prominent species around my phenology sight- Eastern Hemlock being the most abundant. The leaves are mostly green and yellow as you look out to the trees past the creek straight ahead (as well as the trees behind you- mostly ash and Maple). The area is not very rocky and if you travel down toward the creek you’ll notice various dead branches, twigs, needles, and pinecones under every step. There is plenty to observe at this spot in Centennial!

Taken in front of the fallen tree- you should have this view of the creek as you look straight ahead (Dye, Dorothy).