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Centennial Phenology

Spring Break Phenology Area

Posted: March 16th, 2018 by ggoldhab

Marjory Stoneman Douglas Preserve

Over Spring break, I had the chance to visit the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Everglades Habitat. A tract of land that was originally pasture for cattle, but through habitat restoration was turned into a wetland and hot-spot for bird activity.

In my time visiting the place, I noticed various different plant, bird, and even insect species that had returned following the restoration of the land.  Woody plants included mostly Palms and Ferns.

Notable Avifauna

As I had stated, the area was a hotbed for bird activity. Some of the bird I had sighted included a Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Purple Gallinules, American Coots, Boat-Tailed Grackles, Limpkins, Great Blue Herons, and so on.

One of my favorite birds I had witnessed in the area was the Loggerhead Shrike. A key feature about this bird is that while it is a Passerine bird, it is known for it’s predatory behavior akin to raptors (birds of prey). They are known to prey upon Reptiles, Amphibians, Rodents, Bats, and even other birds.

Location Map

Community identification and recent changes

Posted: March 4th, 2018 by ggoldhab

My Community

Using Wetland, Woodland, and Wildland, I was able to identify the natural community my area was, that being a woodland. The hillside in Centennial Woods I have visited is surrounded by hemlocks, maples and such, as well as low growing shrubbery. Common wildlife includes crows and chipmunks (although I have seen signs of a porcupine in the area.

Recent Changes 

Although not Spring yet. Some signs of new growth have been beginning to show. Although very little signs, they indicate that Spring is around the corner. On the Biofinder, I saw that my area is a patch of woods surrounded by developed area.

Centennial Woods in Winter

Posted: February 3rd, 2018 by ggoldhab

Upon returning to my hillside in Centennial woods, I noticed many changes in regards to the Winter time. Most of the trees are now barren, the forest floor is covered in snow. and the calls of crows fill the air. When looking for signs of wildlife, I did not come across any specific tracks, but came across bark stripped from the trees. A likely sign of a porcupine in the area.


Among some of the deciduous trees I encountered, I came across sugar maples, white oaks, ginkoes, as well as some thorns like black locusts. Above is a sketch of a thorn I had found in the woods.

History of Centennial Woods

Posted: December 7th, 2017 by ggoldhab

During the time I spent on my hillside in Centennial Woods, I had gotten to learn a good amount of the history of the place.

Between 10,000 and 11,000 years ago, these woods bordered the Champlain Sea. The sandy soil can still be found beneath. Large mammals like moose and the American mastodon moved through these lands, followed by the ancestors of the native Abenaki, who settled in Vermont for the millennia following. When European Settlers arrived, they had cleared large swaths of the land’s forests.

The land there was used for Agricultural purposes, providing sustenance to the European settlements. Barbed wire and stone walls from this time can still be seen in some parts of the woods. Around the 1860s, the land was abandoned, and pines had started to grow on this land. It was not until April of 1974, when the area was designated as a UVM Natural Area.

Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

Posted: November 24th, 2017 by ggoldhab

Over Thanksgiving Break, I got to visit a site known as Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, an area of wetlands in South Florida with interesting plants and wildlife unique to the Southeastern United States.

Life of the Marsh

When most think of swamps or marshes, they tend not to think so pleasantly of what comes to mind. However, if one takes a stroll through these wetlands, they would see that there is more to them than many may think. In my own experience, everywhere I looked in the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge teemed with life. As I walked through the peat forest that was part of the refuge, I heard everything from the buzzing of insects to the faint calls of wetland birds. A rough-shouldered hawk, stood resting up top a cypress tree, damselflies darted through the air around me, a limpkin was hiding behind the trunk of a cypress. Soon after, I had walked across an open flooded marsh, teeming with various different bird species. Great egrets hunting for fish and amphibians, Morhens quietly swimming through the saw grass, Limpkins striding through the shallow water, and even cardinals perching upon some bushes. Finally, we had come to a lone watering hole. At it’s banks were Green iguanas; invasive species brought to Florida as released pets. While they seem harmless at first, they are highly problematic, eating native wetlands vegetation and snails. As we approached them, they quickly darted into the bushes. Then, off in the distance, I saw what looked like a long, dark piece of wood floating on the water’s surface, as I got closer, I realized that there floated the pride of Florida’s wetlands; the Alligator. As I looked even further, an even bigger individual had approached the one I had initially spotted, and had lunged towards the smaller one in a show of dominance. I then watched as the larger individual chased the smaller one into the reeds. It was the events of today that showed that wetlands are far more than just swampy wastelands.

Similarities in Phenology

After my experience at the refuge, I had begun to realize vast differences from the area in centennial woods that I had been observing for the past few months. My hillside in centennial woods during the early fall had the calls of birds and chipmunks scampering across the forest floor. However, signs of life begun to fade as fall kicked in and the leaves of the forest trees had started to fall. The ecology of the hillside in Centennial woods is also highly based around the climate of a boreal or coniferous forest ecosystem, with more seasonal changes in the plant life. With Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, however, it’s a vastly different story. The plant and animal life I had experienced was strikingly different and far more diverse than it was in Centennial woods. The bird life was more prominent, coinciding with a subtropical climate, there were more signs of reptile and amphibian life, and the plant life that surrounded me was wetland and marsh foliage as opposed to boreal or coniferous forests. In the place of maples and oaks stood tall, thick-trunked cypresses, and vast plains of saw grass marsh. Most strikingly of all, however, was the lack of seasonal changes in the area. Whereas Centennial woods had vas changes in the plant life, the subtropical climate of Loxahatchee allowed it to remain the same.

The Middle of Autumn

Posted: November 4th, 2017 by ggoldhab

Upon Visiting my area today, I noticed some more changes. Most of the trees have now completely lost their leaves or have had their colors changed. The forest floor is now completely covered in leaf litter. These are all signs that the middle of Autumn is upon us. These changes also trigger events. The falling leaves benefit both the undergrowth, giving it less competition for sunlight, and small invertebrates, giving them food and cover. These invertebrates also provide food for birds, mammals and possibly some amphibians.

Changes in area.

Posted: October 21st, 2017 by ggoldhab

I have seen massive changes in the vegetation of my clearing in Centennial Woods. For instance, many of the trees had lost most of their leaves, and the one’s that did have leaves had their leaves turn to a yellowish color.

The ground vegetation was now barren, and the forest floor was scattered with leaf litter – pine needles and dead leaves.

Centennial Woods Study area.

Posted: October 1st, 2017 by ggoldhab

The area of Centennial Woods I am observing is a small clearing upon a hill side.

To get there, walk along the Centennial Woods trail until you come to a small clearing on a the edge of a small hill.

Upon observing the area, I noticed that the forest floor was covered in small dead leaves and twigs; leaf litter to be precise. There were several trees on the hill side, most of them were Maple trees, the others were dead pine. As maple was the most common, the forest floor was covered in dead Maple leaves. Small patches of shrubbery also surrounded the trees.

Hello world!

Posted: September 24th, 2017 by ggoldhab

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My map

Posted: September 24th, 2017 by ggoldhab

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