Through the use of Biofinder, I discovered that my phenological place has really no ecological significance in the eyes of the layers available on the program. For whatever reason, the areas all around this place are classified as areas containing rare and uncommon species but not my patch of woods. This is exceptionally odd because the surrounding area is mainly open grass areas while my place is in one of the only forested patches in the immediate area. I found the lack of any importance or significance to be quite interesting and perhaps telling of something that I do not know.
As the snow is beginning to melt the soil is becoming very wet. I am sure as the temperatures begin to rise the vegetation will begin to come back from dormancy. But, for now, there have not been many significant changes in the plant life since the dead of winter. But, it is clear that the area is primed and ready for spring to come and for the vegetation to once again take hold of the place!
My phenology space is quite clearly a wetland. Although it is not currently in the state of a bog, swamp or marsh, the vegetation matches up well and there is a lot of potential for this to occur. Because the place is directly on Lake Champlain and sits on a constructed land mass that extends into the water, the soil is very saturated with water. Because of this, there are many ferns and trees that prefer wet and disturbed soils like ashes and paper birches. But, the soil is still dry enough for a homeless camp to be set up on it. Also, the majority of the place is at a lower elevation by about 10 feet surrounded by a raised path. This lower section is primed to become a full-blown wetland.
My blog place is dominated by green ash trees with very obvious paper birches scattered throughout. The paper birches are expected because, knowing the site’s history, the heavily disturbed soil is conducive to paper birch growth. I took a photo of a twig that I had a tough time identifying. After a bit of research, I think that it may be a hazel alder but this would be pushing the northern boundary of its range so I am still not positive.
It is clear that there are a few animals present in my place that are quite active. There was clear evidence of red fox activity throughout my place. I found these tracks especially interesting because they seemed to primarily stay on the path made for dog walking. Also, there were a considerable amount of cottontail rabbit tracks. But, these may have been gray squirrel tracks, I am unsure. These crossed between the fox tracks quite often but while the fox was likely to venture out into the open field, the rabbit was more likely to stay in the tree cover or along the metal retention wall. Finally, I may have found a wing mark from an unknown bird. But, I am not positive of this and it may have been a mark from a red fox’s floofy tail because there were tracks relatively close.
As I walked my place for the last time this semester, I noticed how beautiful it was even when it looked so barren. Despite the roaring wind coming off of the lake, there was a bit of respite found within the trees. There were a few berries remaining on some bushes and leaves on very young trees. Something that I noticed was that all but one of the paper birch trees that I noticed in my place were fallen over. Also, there was an enormous cottonwood tree that I could see was being eaten away by the lapping lake slowly but surely. Finally, I noticed that the metal barrier making up the exterior of the land mass was constantly beaten by waves and it was beginning to bend under the weight of the Earth.
During the years of the booming petroleum shipping industry in Burlington, my place was made by placing barriers in the water and filling the space in between the barriers with fill. This new land was then used to house additional petroleum tanks. Eventually, in 1998, as the waterfront was beginning to be revitalized, clean fill was placed in my place to make a buffer between any residual petroleum and the new dog park that was built across the bike path.
“History.” BurlingtonVT.gov, Community and Economic Development Office, www.burlingtonvt.gov/CEDO/History.
The first map shows the relative area of the park itself, the presence of both wooded areas and agricultural fields should be noted. The next map shows the surroundings, including the nearest town, Kennett Square. In both maps, my place is marked with a grey pin (it is in the bottom middle of the second map).
In Southeast Pennsylvania in the mid 19th century a farmer wakes up with the sun and heads to work in the fields. He looks out over the rolling fields of corn and takes a deep breath of the cool fall air; harvest season is here so he prepares for the long days of work. Today, as dawn breaks, there may be a few early morning park-goers. They may hear the early morning sounds of the first birds of the day as they walk through the new agricultural fields to the patch of woods that has now overgrown the farm that once stood here.
In Burlington, Vermont, my place used to be under the water. The most human activity that it most likely received was from people fishing off of the shore of the lake. But, there clearly was a mass of land placed here and the vegetation quickly took hold. Today, there is a much closer bond that has formed between people and the new land. Similarly to my home place, there are most likely walkers who greet the area early in the morning. But, the vegetation that people and their pets may see here differs from the types seen in Pennsylvania.