Until Fall

In what ways do nature and culture intertwine at your place?

Do you consider yourself a part of your place? Why or why not? If so, how?

Lone rock is a protected place that people clearly have a deep love and respect for. The area is guarded by politics as people aim to preserve the cedar bluffs and keep them from becoming overly developed. As I have spent so much time here throughout the semester, and made such an effort to get out here I do feel that it is a very special spot to me. Even on the nicest days, when north beach is crowded with college students, lone rock, only a stones through away is practically vacant. I wouldn’t describe the area as so secluded and wild that it deters people, but to many its beauty is sort of overlooked and unknown. For such an incredible place, I find it odd that it hasn’t been as absorbed into the Burlington college environment as many places around here are. I’m not sure why this place is able to preserve so much of its natural wildness and purity, but I do believe the people who come through here have a respect for its sanctuary like status. I ran to lone rock today and even though the water was frigid even dove into it, because it was so unbelievably clear and inviting. I am glad that people haven’t become greedy with this beautiful place. To often a place like this becomes commercialized, but the paths to lone rock are quite inconspicuous and there is only one house presiding over the entrance, almost as if it is their backyard. I feel that a lot of wild-ish places like this have the same cultural intertwinement. People who go looking for it will find it and become tied to it whether they are hikers, dog walkers, climbers or just explorers, but at the same time you could be rooted in Burlington for many years and never know it existed.

One primary intersection with culture is the small school that brings children out into the woods by lone rock and teaches them various crafts. I think that this program definitely connects to the stereotypical Burlington hippie alternative attitude. I do find it so valuable that people want to get  there children outside in a less structured environment exploring things that could likely become passions as they grow. Even so, I know from a different perspective as an outsider looking in, I can imagine people from where I’m from thinking of that program as sort of “hippie dippy”.

I am excited to come back to lone rock at the end of the summer and see what sort of changes this spot undergoes both socially and naturally throughout the coming months.


Lone Rock Springtime Migrations

As Vermonts “springtime ” came into action I was beginning to get excited for the migration of amphibians to their vernal pools. Vermont is known to have a great amount of spotted salamanders and spring peepers. While my phrenology spot specifically isn’t the ideal location for a migration of amphibians as it lacks vernal pools, the area closer to the path is very muddy and wet which definitely had some potential for amphibians coming out of there hibernation. I looked under rocks and around the swampier wetland sections of the trail but wasn’t able to discover any reptiles. Also seeing as the spring has been so cold and frequently snowy I was unable to find any budding trees or flowers.

The two most prominent edges of my phrenology site are the rather abrupt edge where the cedar bluff begins. This edge transitions from a more woody wetland area to shrubs and grasses swell as drier soils before the cedar stand. This edge is probably made up of shrubs and grasses because as the area gets progressively closer to the bluff there is more wind as well as less rich soil, making it uninhabitable by most of the native tree species which make up the other part of the stand. Another edge is the gradual edge created by the walking path which isn’t to severe a buffer. The wildlife comes right to the edge of the path in most parts and doesn’t seem to disrupted by its placement. I haven’t seen many forest interior species here except signs of woodpeckers, such as the hole drilled in a tree pictured in one of my earlier posts.

Blue spotted salamander would probably be spotted here is I had seen any reptiles as they are known to inhabit this area



Lone Rock (originally posted to wrong site)


Due to the warm weather I felt inspired to  change my phrenology spot to Lone Rock Point so that I could ride my bike out to the natural area, and make more of an excursion out of my assignment. Lone Rock is clearly a representation of the Limestone Bluff Cedar Pine Forest natural community. This was made most obvious by the striking windblown cedar trees which twisted around the cliffs of Lone Rock. Another indicator of this being a Cedar-Pine Forest was the calcareous rocks around the cliffs and shoreline, because this community occurs around limestone and dolomite. Cedar trees also grow in areas where the soil has a high organic content and is very dry. As I walked down the path at Lone Rock, I noticed that the soil more inland was very moist and dark, none of the cedar trees grew here. Rather, out on the cliffs where the soil was sand like, and dry even though it had recently rained, the cedar trees flourished. Since I changed sights, I do not have much to compare blog to, but I would assume that prior to this week, the area was probably a lot more snow covered and icy. Since most of the trees here outside of the cedar bluffs are white and red pines, with some eastern hemlock, hickory and oak trees, there has not been much change in the trees since February. Since there has been a great deal of snow melt since then, some of the shrubs and understudy have been effected, as they are now exposed. The soil is also water logged and sort of swampy leading up to Lone Rock in the actual forest.

From using Biofinder, I discovered that this is an area protected by the local government. They prioritize having forest blocks and connectivity blocks as well as protecting the riparian areas here.

Tower Hill Trails


My phenology blog spot over break was the trails next to Tower Hill Garden, a natural area close to Worcester Mass. This spot was a lot different than my phenology spot here in Burlington. Lone rock point is a very unique ecosystem produced from the limestone soil and proximity to a large body of water. Here the trees are more prototypical of New England. Rather than cedar bluffs, there were maples, hemlock trees, and some white pines. The soil here seemed a lot more rich and moist than that of Lone Rock where the soil around the cliffs was rather sand like, this soil seemed able to retain more water. Also there were brooks running through the woods. The small woody plants in the area looked a little bit broken or still under snow. Due to the recent storm, lots of these plants were buried or snapped.

I immediately noticed that I could hear lots of birds in this area, but was only able to spot one. I believe what I saw was an American tree sparrow because it went from a low brach to hopping around on the ground making the prototypical see-weep call. I included a picture of type of bird I think that I saw.

The Tower Hill Botanical gardens and trail network takes up about 132 acres of land and was initially set up as conservation land in 1986. Prior to that, this area was a cattle farm. The land was bought by the Worcester County Horticulture Society with the intent to enrich the community with a greater knowledge and appreciation of horticulture. It was to be used to teach about sustainability and stewardship. The gardens have expanded so much and include a variety of themes. There is also an entire section of architectual and artistic displays made of live plants-my phone died before I came upon these, but they were very fascinating and reminded me of the biophilic designs we learned about in NR lab.


Fresh Tracks at Centennial Woods

Location: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/44.5102379,-73.3596827/centennial+woods+burlington+vt/@44.4858587,-73.2127943,10174m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m8!4m7!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cca7a4064285555:0xa16586518a8db548!2m2!1d-73.1845861!2d44.47781

I woke up early this morning to visit my new phenology spot before math today. Shuffling out of Harris Mills and down Spear Street at 7am was surprisingly relaxing. I had switched spots because I thought having a closer location would be a lot easier in the winter, but I quickly remembered how much I enjoyed my long walks and really spending time at my location. The woods looked beautiful this morning. Fresh snow coated the forest floor and all the trees. This fresh powder made it extremely easy to spot animal tracks from last night. I quickly spotted the tracks of what seemed to be a snowshoe hare hopping across the path and down into the woods. I also spotted the tracks of  two diagonal walkers, one of which was likely a domestic dog and the other a type of fox. Some of the deciduous trees I was able to identify were sugar maples, white oaks, ginkoes, American beech, red oaks as well as some thorns like black locusts. My sketch is of the bud of a Sugar maple tree.