The dominant woody species found here are silver maples and other maple varieties. One won’t find any pines in this part of the Intervale trails, and will notice the lack of a midstory. There is a stark difference from the tall canopy to the very low growing ground species. All of the plants on the Calkin trail serve as a riparian buffer for the Winooski River, which is very important for the protection of the Intervale farm fields, as well as a for the health of the river.
On my visit today I said hello to a family of ducks and a lone Mr. toad, who proved quite difficult to catch. I also saw evidence in the sand of a mammal that had visited my spot not too long before I. (this mysterious mammal was most likely a very friendly lab or golden retriever 😉 )
I fell in love with the idea of the Intervale when I visited the Community Center with my Environmental Studies lab, as they strive to make the world a better place through the production of and accessibility to better food. Their mission statement states:
“Our mission is to strengthen community food systems. Founded in 1988, the Intervale Center manages a 360-acre campus of farmland, trails and open space along the Winooski River in Burlington, VT. Our influence radiates out from this beloved place as we work across Vermont to enhance farm viability and land sustainability, and more broadly as we serve as a model for food and farming organizations throughout the world.”
There’s a loop of trails on the property that follows the Winooski River, called Calkins Loop. this wild and wooded area appears to be rather untouched by humans, but that is not the case. The woodland is in the process of recovering from being used as an illegal junkyard from the mid 1940’s until the late 1970’s. And if you look closely enough, you can spot remnants of vintage cars and shopping carts underneath the bright green vegetation, and the artifacts will remain there as a reminder of the past.
What is the Intervale Center, and how do I get there??
keep reading to find out!
To get to the Intervale, walk to the University Green, cross the street and head north on Prospect Street, which will eventually turn into Intervale Road. When you find yourself descending down a pretty steep hill, your’e almost there! You’ll see both the Garnder’s Supply Company and the Intervale Community Farm Center on your right. head onto the Intervale property, walk west towards the Winooski river and you’ll find a trail head. Follow the Calkin Loop for about 50ft, and you should find yourself on the sandy bank of the Winooski River, surrounded by Silver Maples, with the train bridge behind you and a curve in the river infront of you. Welcome to my phenology place 🙂