Phinal Phenology

After spending a year attending my phenology spot, I have become fairly well acquainted with my location. I’ve witnessed the green leaves turn bright orange, brown, then fall to the ground. I witnessed the leaf litter slowly get covered in snow and stories appear in the form of animal tracks. I witnessed the snowmelt and new life form on the ends of branches while stems of new plants break through the floor. But no matter how much time I’ve spent there and how familiar I am with the processes I’ve observed, I am still an intruder. Even when I see other people utilizing the space, I get the sense that our presence is an unwanted one and mother nature simply wishes to reclaim the land we mat down and build benches and rope courses on.

4/27/19 Phenology

My visit to my phenology spot during earth week was not as exciting as I had hoped it would be. I had imagined green beginning to sprout everywhere and flowers cropping up left and right. While there are some noticeable bud growths on trees and a few shrubs are beginning to grow leaves and there is now patches of grass growing through the leaf litter, there aren’t any colorful wildflowers bringing the area to life. Below I have attached some of the photos I took while at my spot as well as a drawing of one of the shrubs that was growing leaves.

3/18/19 South Carolina

For my spring break, I went on vacation to St. Helena Island, South Carolina. I had never spent an extended period of time in the south and was not at familiar with the local flora that I encountered. St. Helena is a very swampy area home to trees with massive drooping canopies and tentacle like branches. Upon doing some research, I discovered that these trees are more than likely live oaks. While the exact species of tree was very difficult for me to find, I was also able to recognize a few more oak and maple species. The trees that took me the least amount of time to recognize are the palm trees that lined major roads and grew close to the sandy beaches.

While the flora of South Carolina was drastically different than that of Burlington, though the fauna was more familiar. The particular island I stayed on was home to more deer than I had ever seen, there were patches of them every fifty yards or so. Near watery areas, terrapin crossing signs could be seen on the sides of roads and pelicans sat at the ends of docks.

3/7/19 Wetland, Woodland, Wildland

After spending half a year visiting my phenology spot nearly biweekly, I still have difficulty classifying it as a wetland or woodland. Sure at first glance it appears to be like any other forest, however, within this wooded area is that small drainage pond. This provides a habitat for aquatic and amphibian species during certain times of the year as well as some wetland plants. My phenology spot is a hybrid of the two ecosystems, as there is both a wetland and woodland in the area. Should one be prefaced over the other, I would argue that my phenology spot is a woodland however. This is due to the fact that the pond is not in the middle of the woods, but lies between the woods and the parking lot, and is therefore not a central part of my phenology spot as a whole. My spot is also too small and impacted by humans to be considered a wildland.

During the middle months of the first semester, I witnessed my phenology spot transition from thick green woods, to a beautiful array of orange and yellow leaves covering the trees and floor, to a snowscape of leafless trees and matted down brush. However, since the first snowfall that stuck and since the trees lost their last leaves, I haven’t been able to notice any of the phenological changes that have occurred, if any have at all. Once the temperature starts to rise again, I imagine these changes will be much more apparent.

2/4/19 Winter Phenology


I’ve decided to return to my phenology spot from the fall, as it is a fairly short walk from my dorm and a relatively unknown location. I noticed on this return visit that the understory seems much more sparse and open. This is undoubtedly due to the heavy snowfall this area has seen in the last few (many) months. While there are many visible tracks at my location, they appear to belong primarily to smaller animals, as I couldn’t find any deer tracks. Among the tracks I followed were squirrels, rabbits, dogs, raccoons, and muskrats. However take these identifications with a grain of salt, as you can never be completely sure. Some of the twigs I managed to identify were sugar maple, and red oak.

I had some issues making the photos I took into viewable files, so instead I attached links to the PDF files.

IMG_0329 IMG_0349 IMG_0342 0347 0352


12/8/18 Human use

While I couldn’t find any records of human use of my phenology site, the remnants of human use of the area are clear. The forest floor has been cleared of debris, and trees have been cut down, though both appear to have happened many years ago. In the middle of my phenology spot is a large dirt clearing that was been matted down by years of people tramping around. In this clearing is also a manmade wooden bench built onto a cut down tree. A clear remnant of humans on the area is the remains of a high ropes obstacle course, made of wooden blocks, metal wires, and a tire, all hanging from high up on a tree. Now the area is used as a cut through to the golf course and a small natural hangout spot for students.

11/26/18 Rhode Island Phenology

The Phenology spot I visited over break was Wilbur Woods in Little Compton RI, 30 min from my house. Attached below are some pictures of the area as well as a google map showing the location.


(Photos by Kyle Webb, 2018)

Wilbur Woods is a medium sized wooded area of Little Compton RI. It is home primarily to Oaks, red in particular. There are very few coniferous trees in this forest, but the ones that are present are Atlantic white cedar and eastern white pine. Also present are various beech species as well as the occasional birch. The forest floor is almost completely cleared in the main walking area. This area is home to many pathways around the woods as well as a stream and a small pond. There was a disappointing lack of wildlife during my visit aside from a few squirrels, though it was the coldest day of the week so it is not all that surprising, or maybe the man and his two dogs I met on one of the paths scared them off. However, I did notice the presence of deer tracks along some of the paths and my friend and I heard the unmistakable sound of a woodpecker chipping away at a distant tree.

This phenology spot shares some similarities to my spot here on campus. For example, both spots are hosts primarily to deciduous trees and both have cleared forest floors. Both sites have very clear human impacts and attractions. Much like the main clearing in my UVM site that has turned over logs and a constructed bench to sit on, Wilbur woods is home to multiple small fireplace areas with stone benches. There is also a few bridges that cross over the stem at various points. However, Wilbur Woods is a much larger area, and is therefore home to a wider variety and higher populations of wildlife. Also dissimilar are the compositions of the forests themselves. Wilbur woods is dominated primarily by Oaks and beeches, while my spot here at UVM is composed mostly of maple trees and some oaks. Also, Wilbur woods’ trees have retained more of their leaves than my UVM spot. This is likely because Rhode Island has received significantly less snow and rain than Vermont has as well as have a higher daily temperature by close to ten degrees.

11/5/18 Phenology Blog and Poem

This weeks visit to my phenology spot wasn’t too different from last weeks, only much grayer and wetter. The constant rain over the last few weeks has worked to remove most of the leaves from the deciduous trees, leaving sparse branches of mostly brown leaves. The conifers, though they are few, stand tall with all their pines. There were still no signs of any animal other than squirrels and chipmunks. I’m not one for poetry, however I feel that because I took pictures during my last visit, something new is warranted, so I’ve prepared a haiku:

Mud paths mark the way.

Leaves fall with the wind and rain.

Nothing but rodents.

11/5/18 Phenology Event Map

(Drawn by Kyle Webb, 2018)

10/22/18 Phenology

(Drawn by Kyle Webb, 2018)

When I revisited my phenology site, I noticed that the trees colors were getting darker and the branches looked much more bare. As the temperature continues to drop, the bright oranges and yellows I observed the first trip were mostly gone and replaced by bleak browns, and the large dirt clearing was almost covered in fallen leaves. There were no signs of any wildlife other than squirrels and the occasional chipmunk, and the amount of trash had sadly increased.

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