The crunching of the fall leaves under gentle paws breaks the harsh silence of the late fall forest. It takes a bit of walking to finally see that the dense hardwood forest still harbors life. The woods beckon groups of people on short walks to immerse themselves in the shroud of trees. With the path obscured by a thick layer of leaves a silent trip is made into the center of the patch of trees. Through the heart of the forest runs a gentle creek, like the spine of the body of life here. But, the banks carry scars of the past. Harshly in-cut, eroded banks act as piece of evidence of the flood that tore through this little valley in past years. As you move down toward the small wetland, life is beginning to regrow were the soil was once inundated with water. Slowly but surely, ferns have been growing here, under the watchful eye of towering beech trees. But, the ferns are now shriveled and sad-looking, waiting patiently for the long winter to end so that they can grow once more, even stronger. People often walk through this park without truly seeing what it has to offer; if you look closely, one can peel back the layers of the forest and see how far this land has come from being a farm many years ago.
The phenology place that I chose in my hometown of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania is a park close to my house that I have spent excessive amounts of time in. I know this place like the back of my hand and I love it here. These photos show buck-rubs from this year and past years, some bank erosion along the creek from a flood a few years ago, the wide open hardwood forest, a few painted rocks that the township has hidden throughout the park, and a wall remaining from the farm that stood on this land long ago. This park is very conservation-centered and provides a place for the community to enjoy the natural world. The land is also farmed in certain areas with various crops. A strong sense of place is instilled in the community through many events to learn about the land, plants, and wildlife.
Vibrant, green, and lush;
The woods sing with joyous life.
A cool breeze runs through.
The beauty of death.
Summer makes quite the exit.
Change will always come.
The brisk wind cuts deep.
The bare trees shiver and wait.
This visit I noticed that my place was almost completely devoid of leaves. All of the ash, paper birch, and cottonwood trees were completely bare. The only leaves that could be found not on the path were either on vines or a single vibrantly color red oak sapling. The forest appears to be much thinner and more sparse without the leaves on the trees. This also opened up the inner ground cover more and allowed me to notice more small herbaceous and woody plants that I had not seen previously.
The leaves are just past peak foliage it appears. Most still on the trees are brilliant colors and crisp dead leaves cover the trail and shorter vegetation. The only sign of wildlife I have seen thus far has been a squirrel and the familiar sounds of songbirds. But, I did notice a marking of a dog that its inconsiderate owner left behind. It most likely came from the dog park across the bike path. This may account for the little wildlife that I have noticed.
I was having trouble embedding the map so here is a screenshot of the map of my place!
There is an outstanding amount of vegetation in my place. As far as woody plants go, there is an overwhelming number of ash trees (green ash and what appear to be other species of ash) and a few paper birches dispersed throughout. Many of these trees seem to be quite young, there are not many large, mature trees anywhere in my spot. Looking toward the ground, there are many ferns and saplings in the lower areas of the forest where the ground is quite moist.
When we first received the assignment, I knew that I wanted my site to be overlooking the water. So, I took a trip down to the waterfront and stumbled upon a gorgeous patch of woods across the bike path from the dog park. This seemed like a sign from above to choose this spot; limitless amounts of dogs, a beautiful view of the Adirondacks, and lush vegetation, what more could I ask for? I ventured in along a narrow path and found there to be tents hiding around many thick patches of plants, hopefully, the current residents do not mind me intruding every few weeks! To get to my phenology spot, you must follow the bike path from the ECHO Aquarium down past Andy A_Dog Williams Skatepark until you reach a large, fenced dog park. Across the path from this dog park is my patch of woods. But, the easiest way to reach the water is to cut through a clearing directly to the left of the forest until you reach a small dirt path that will take you around the woods along the water. The center of my place will be when the path curves to the right when you reach the corner of the patch of land. It appears that my place is on top of a man-made piece of land; there is a slope down into the vegetation from the path that circles it and the sides along the water are built up with concrete walls.