• A-Z
  • Directory
  • myUVM
  • Loading search...

Max Hooper's Phenology Blog – Centennial Woods

May Phenology

Posted: May 3rd, 2018 by mdhooper

My phenology site has still not changed too much yet, likely due to the weather only now starting to be consistently warm. However, trees are beginning to bud and understory ferns and small woody plants are starting to bud and return greenery to the area. I have not noticed any new signs of animal life, but more birds, such as warblers, are out in the trees in the area.

At my place, nature and culture intertwine due to the place being on the side of one of the trails in Centennial Woods. This intertwinement is due to the area being used by locals as an area to escape the street for walks in the forest nearby.

I consider myself to be a distant part of the place. This is because while I do visit the area as part of my phenology blog and on other occasions, I am not there as often as the wildlife that is always there. I think that to be a part of the place, I would have to visit much more often and for longer periods to the point where I can really visualize the place in extreme detail when I am not there.

April 16

Posted: April 14th, 2018 by mdhooper

Although I did not notice any signs of amphibians in my place, there may have been some in the surrounding area. This is because my place is on the elevated bank of Centennial Brook and the area between my place and the brook seem to be good habitat. There are not any spring flowers yet, probably due to the low temperatures we have had lately. None of the trees were flowering either, the buds appearing to be in the same state as they were on my last visit.

From a landscape ecology perspective, the closest edge is the edge between elevated, dry land, and the marshy area on the bank of Centennial Brook. The edge effect here is that more amphibious plants and animals live in the marshy area, and do not grow in the forested hillside. In addition, there is more wind and direct sunlight to understory-type plants, such as ferns, in the Marshy area, so these types of small plants grow larger in the marshy area than in my phenology place on the forested hillside. My place provides habitat for interior tree species, but not interior animal species as Centennial Woods is not large enough to support interior animal species food and range needs.

New Phenology Place

Posted: March 15th, 2018 by mdhooper

My new phenology place is in Garnsey Park. This 150 acre park was once part of a family farm and is now owned by the town of Clifton Park. Because of this prior land use, the area is primarily rolling meadows with a forested ridgeline and border. It is open to the public for use as a walking area with nature trails.

In addition, it is a Bluebird habitat and has bluebird house boxes throughout the park. I picked a place to observe that had some of these blue bird boxes, and while I did not see any go in or come out of them while I was there, I was able to hear the bluebirds in the forested area on the one side of the trail.

The woody plants at this site include Eastern white pine and maple trees. These trees are all relatively young due to the nature of the area being formerly clearcut for crop production.

This is the link to the google map of the location, I had trouble actually embedding the map in this post.



March 5

Posted: February 28th, 2018 by mdhooper

Task 1: I would classify my natural community as an upland northern hardwood forest. This is because water flows through as streams and the soils are always moist. In addition, the primary tree types in the area, such as maples and birches, are the hardwoods most associated with an upland northern hardwood forest. In addition, my natural community is at a high enough elevation above Lake Champlain so that the soil is not sand and clay, which is the type of soil that upland northern hardwood forests do not do well in.

Task 2: Since my last visit to my place, the snow and ice has melted, but new plants have not started to grow yet as it has still been cold. Due to the snow and ice melting, the soil has become muddy in places, but the are is well drained with no puddles present.

Task 3: I discovered that in my area, there are rare species present and the rare natural community of White Pine-Red Oak-Black Oak Forest. In addition, it borders on a wetland.

First Visit of Second Semester

Posted: January 31st, 2018 by mdhooper

Since the fall, phenological changes have happened at my phenology place. There is now ice and snow covering the whole area and all of the remaining leaves have fallen from the trees. This makes the volume of foot traffic in the area much more evident as it is extremely difficult to distinguish single footprints in the snow.

The primary animal tracks that I found were made by dogs that people often walk in Centennial Woods. However, there was evidence of woodpecker activity in the form of splinters of wood surrounding a tree with holes about 15 feet up its trunk. There was also evidence of small burrowing animals in the form of a burrow entrance with soil and debris from inside the burrow around the entrance.

I was able to identify a few deciduous tree species from their winter twigs at my spot. These species are red maple and white oak.


Human History of Centennial Woods

Posted: December 6th, 2017 by mdhooper

To the somewhat trained eye, it is obvious when visiting my phenology spot that it is not part of an old growth forest. This is because the trees are fairly young and many of the species present there, such as red maple, are species with fairly short lifetimes. Due to the young age of the woods, it can be inferred that there was human activity in the area in the last century or so that prevented the growth of large trees and created the fields in the area.

Courtesy of UVM Special Collections
This map shows the city of Burlington in 1890, and who owned specific plots of land. According to the map, Centennial Woods was owned by the Ainsworth family, Hickok Est., H. Stevens, and C. Baxter Est.. However, the map does not reveal what they used their land for. Although I did not find out how these people used the land, it would be logical to assume that tracts of land that large were either parts of country estates or used for agriculture. Another clue to how the land was used is the barbed wire that can be found through out the area. This is according to the Centennial Woods field guide since I did not find any in my area. The field guide says that the barbed wire can be found with trees growing through it, which explains why it wasn’t taken and used somewhere else. This suggests that the land was formerly a pasture for animal agriculture, which was most likely sheep and/or cows.
Another indicator of the land having been previously cleared is the presence of white pine. This indicates where the forest is still in the early-ish stages of it’s re-development. This is because white pine is an early successional species that often grows in pastures once they have become inactive. Using this knowledge, I am assuming that my spot in Centennial Woods used to be mostly agriculture.


Hopkins, G. M. Map of the city of Burlington, Vermont: from official records, private plans and actual surveys. Philadelphia, Pa.: G.M. Hopkins, 1890.

http://cdi.uvm.edu/collections/item/Burlington_Hopkins_1890 (accessed December 02, 2017)

The Changing Landscapes of Centennial Woods Natural Area: A Field Guide [PDF]. University of Vermont Natural Areas. University of Vermont Environmental Program, http://www.uvm.edu/~uvmsc/Centennial%20Woods/Changing_Landscapes_Centennial_Woods002.pdf.

Thanksgiving Phenology

Posted: November 29th, 2017 by mdhooper

Google Map Location. https://www.google.com/maps/place/42°48’04.1%22N+73°54’22.5%22W/@42.801146,-73.9084448,652m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m6!3m5!1s0x0:0x0!7e2!8m2!3d42.8011458!4d-73.9062528

Leopold Style: This location is in Schenectady, New York’s Central Park. This location is on the northern end of the park about halfway through the disc golf course. Because of this locations close proximity to the disc golf course, many people use the area. This has resulted in there being very little ground cover plant life. Instead, the area is covered in pine needles from the large pine trees in the area. People for the most part respect the area because it is a big part of many disc golfers lives since it is by far the best course in the area. This is good because while human impact in the area is obvious due to the high volume of human use, the area is clean and pleasant to be in and enjoy. On this particular day that I went to the spot, I was with my friends from home who I disc golf with during the warmer months. We had not played in the area in colder months before, and we noticed that the few deciduous trees in the area had lost their leaves and there was less human and animal activity visible due to the cold weather.

Wright Style: My new place at home is similar to my place in Burlington because they are both used heavily by humans for recreation. However, they are used for different purposes. My area in Burlington is a walking area and my new place is used as a disc golf course in the wooded area of a park in a more urban area than the Burlington location. Both locations feel like areas that are accessible to people who like to be out in nature close to home rather than far away. This is because they both have obvious signs of human impacts due to extensive trail networks going through areas with large trees and minimal ground cover plants and they are small areas that one would go to for only a few hours at most. Aesthetically, both areas also feel airy due to the spacing between the trees and the lack of a significant amount of understory plants. Both places have also been similarly changed since the last time I went to them by the change in season. This is because the trees with leaves in both places have lost their leaves and there has been a decrease in animal activity. However, the areas are different because the new place has primarily coniferous trees and the Burlington place has primarily deciduous trees.


Third Visit to My Place (Event Map, Picture Gallery, and Noted Changes)

Posted: November 5th, 2017 by mdhooper

Event Map

 If the event map is not legible, the events are as follows from the top left across to the top right, then to the bottom right, and finally right to left across the bottom, ending at the bottom left.

1)First, a bird that I was unable to identify saw me and flew off the ground, cheeping wildly.

2)Then, I heard birds cheeping back and forth, but was unable see them.

3)Then, one of the birds flew down and landed on a sapling and continued to cheep.

4)Then I heard a dog barking in the distance.

5)And then, a squirrel ran along a log and stared at me.

6)Finally, a rabbit leapt from behind a bush as I started to leave my spot.


Since my last visit, the trees have shed even more leaves as the fall season progressed. There also seemed to be more dead and down wood on the ground due to the wind and rain event the week before. However, many of the ground cover plants still had most of their leaves and the remaining leaves were still green. This makes sense since there has not been a hard frost yet this year. I did not notice any sign of new animals using the area, however I did observe birds and a squirrel gathering food.


Second Visit To My Place

Posted: October 22nd, 2017 by mdhooper

Since my last visit, more leaves have fallen off of the oak, maple, and beech trees as fall has progressed. The leaves that are still on the trees have mostly changed color and are now many shades of red and orange. The vegetation on the ground (particularly the ostrich ferns) has also started to die back until the spring.

The most significant evidence of wildlife using my phenology place as a habitat that I observed on this visit is a dead tree with many large holes in it that were made by woodpeckers. The attached picture is of this tree.

Phenology Place Map

Posted: October 22nd, 2017 by mdhooper

Contact Us ©2010 The University of Vermont – Burlington, VT 05405 – (802) 656-3131
Skip to toolbar