My final visit to my site, which is more bitter than sweet, provided a great deal of phenological changes. The silver maples are budding, and the understory is transforming the ground to be more green than brown. Verdant vegetation will soon return to fully frame the trails of the Intervale, as will the songs of birds and the rustling of squirrels.
This location’s past and present are interesting blends of the human and natural world. Beginning as a dumping ground, it has transitioned to become a nationally recognized center for sustainable agriculture. This was through the hard work of the community and its restoration efforts. The environment of the Intervale was used in designing the process of agriculture there. The floodplain forest that I focused on acts as a buffer between the agricultural runoff and the Winooski River. The culture of and need for food recognizes and works with the nature of area.
Because of this interconnection, I believe all visitors to the Intervale become a part of it. The trails within the Intervale that I went to time and time again implant the human world into the natural setting of the riparian forest. These trails can be thought of as fragmentation of the forest, or a part of it. I believe since they were there from when the trees began to grow, the natural setting has adapted to include it and its human travelers as a part of its ecosystem. I may not be as notable a member of the forest as the silver maples, but I was and will be a part of it whenever I visit.