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I stepped back into the woods and a familiar feeling came over me.  I had not been to Centennial Woods in what seemed like years but, in reality it had been only two months.  Everything seemed so familiar but, much had changed, aside from the obvious snowfall and fallen leaves, it was quieter than before.  A lull had overtaken the scenery, there was no longer the sound of a lazy stream going anywhere.  It was as if the animals were tucked in with the arrival of the blanket of snow.  But this quiet was fabricated.  There were several tracks that clued me in to recent activity in the woods.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this first picture you can see the tracks of a cotton tail rabbit.  This little guy seemed to be on his way to find somewhere warm to settle down.

 

Pictured here is the bud of a sugar maple.  Identifiable by its pointed brown buds.

Other deciduous tree species I was able to identify were, American Beech, Norway and Red Maple, and Basswood

 

December 9: Land Use History

Centennial Woods is an urban forest, it is because of this that I expected it’s land use history to be very involved with human development.  As I researched, I came upon information which confirmed my theory.  The land on which Centennial Woods sits was once owned by five other people: Baxter (1891), Ainsworth (1904), Hickok (1908), Kirby (1938), and Unsworth (1968).  The area was also documented as being occupied by Native Americans and Euro-Americans.  This land was once used for farming purposes before being turned into the natural area we know today.  It is interesting to me that this land so close to the developed area of Burlington has been able to successfully go through so much change and growth.  Once the land ownership changed hands to the University of Vermont the forest was really allowed to thrive.  The school protected the land and let the forest continue to grow.

 

Citations:

http://researchguides.uvm.edu/centennialwoods/history

http://www.uvm.edu/~uvmsc/Centennial%20Woods/Changing_Landscapes_Centennial_Woods002.pdf

The leaves have almost completely disappeared from the deciduous trees.  The dry path has also become muddy, tracks are able to be left.  I expect that soon the land will be either covered in snow or be frozen over.  I also expect that the little stream rolling through my location will slow, or completely stop flowing.

Light green and brown this land is grown.

But I believe it is soon to die, covered by

the cold to come.  It is lonely here although

there is evidence that others have been here,

I do not see them.  I have not seen them.  The

wind whips me and I sense that I am no longer alone.

A scuttling here, a rustle there, and a bird asks if anybody

is close in the distance.  No response.  There is life around

but it seems distant and disconnected by a shivering shadow.

It darkens everything.  But there is hope, with the slowing

of the surroundings, everything seems familiar.  This has all

happened before.  And with the slowness and eventual stop

comes a spring, a quickening and brightening.  Becoming

alive again, thawing out, the shadow is pushed away by the heat

from the sun, bringing warmth and life with it.

My location has undergone several environmental changes since my previous visits.  The entire forest seems quieter, most animals have started to settle down and prepare for the winter.  Some trees have begun to lose their leaves, painting the ground orange, brown, yellow, and red.  I could occasionally hear birds chirping somewhere close, however did not see anything.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Indian+Brook+Reservoir/@44.5310703,-73.0969297,123m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x4cca76c2ce192a31:0x32d04627f530e459!8m2!3d44.5352117!4d-73.0980114

  

For my thanksgiving phenology location I chose a local natural area about 10 minutes away from my house called Indian Brook Reservoir.

As I sit on this bench, I wait and listen to all of the world move around me.  The wind pushing the waves to the shore line, slowly eroding away the rock face.  I hear them both whispering to me.  The wind crawling through my hair into my ears.  The waves beckoning me to move toward the reservoir.  I step closer and sit on a rock.  It supports me as I rest upon its flat top.  Many people have passed here, this location is populated by people who wish to feel more connected to nature.  A heavier wind passes by and pushes everything away, leaves and small branches fall and fly willy-nilly.  I feel its strength whip my skin, turning it cold.  I try to shelter myself from the cold in my jacket, and then had a realization.  The winter weather encroaching on this land where I had previously believed to be inhabited by humans was in fact owned by the weather.  It has total control of the landscape and its inhabitants, able to change the world in an instant.  It holds everything in its hands.

I noticed that the species distribution between the two locations were eerily similar.  The locations being of similar climate made this a sound conclusion.  The similarities between the phenology spots made me feel like I had not really left school in the way.   Both my locations are sites for frequent human interaction.  The spots have trails for people to walk along and explore the wildlife that inhabits the area.  However the one I visited in my hometown surrounds a large reservoir.  The area has a strange presence of human interaction.  The dam and trail areas would not be present had there not been any disturbance from the human inhabitants.  The feeling here is an almost looming shadow of something that may create a new beautiful landscape or destroy an established one.  The feeling is different at centennial woods.  While much of the trails in the forest are also man made, there is no great structure that seems to scream “humans have been here”.  These sites have helped me to view nature in different ways.  Since the locations have so many similarities it caused me to focus on the minute differences.  Things like the dam and stone farm outlines from past settlers, long abandoned.  These differences made centennial woods feel serene and peaceful, unlike the looming feeling from the shadows I felt in Indian Brook.

October 2: Introduction

I was drawn to Centennial Woods because of its close proximity to me and because I was already somewhat familiar with the area.  It is a diverse community of flora and fauna and I wanted to explore it further.  I most often walk there and will usually stay there for anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour.

Some common flora I saw in this are were: White Oak, American Beech, Buckthorne, Red, Sugar and Norway Maple, and Basswood.

Some of the common fauna I saw were: Water Beetles, I heard a Pileated Woodpecker, and a Garter Snake.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=16dXLb4EilYW1SNpGGMs-79Fj6jg&hl=en&ll=44.47673663388155%2C-73.18664209346957&z=20

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