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Michael's Place

Hello March!

Posted: March 4th, 2018 by mlangham

A whole heck of a lot has changed in my spot since the month that I was last there. The snow is mostly gone, but there’s still a dusting in some places, and Vermont’s next season is already in full swing… Mud Season! The frost leaving the ground and the melt runoff has led to muddy trails that are covered in human and dog footprints, oh boy! The trees are still there, but this time, the maples could be tapped. There wasn’t much evidence of animals in my spot, but there was a noticeably higher level of water running down the brook. It’s cooled down a little bit from the warmer temperatures we had earlier this week, but it’s still above freezing out during the day, so that’s got whatever snow that’s left melting. This would be perfect weather for sugaring if the maples were only tapped! The natural community in my spot is very typical of that of the Champlain Valley. There’s mostly smaller hardwood trees, but there’s a mix of softwoods too. It’s pretty wet soil right now, but the landform definitely made it so that farming and agricultural uses were, and are, still very possible. I wasn’t able to identify many plant species, but there’s some young growth beech, which makes sense because the sunlight is largely blocked by the forest canopy. According to BioFinder, I discovered that Centennial Woods is a high priority site, which makes sense because it’s one of the few truly wooded sites in the city. I didn’t really think of that before seeing the BioFinder analysis. Vermont’s a really rural area, but there are parts of Vermont that don’t have a lot of immediate access to the outdoors, with Burlington being one of them. That’s why places like Centennial Woods aren’t just important to the health of the natural environment, but also the health and wellbeing of people, especially people that might not have access to other areas.

Here’s a peek at my spot as of 3/4/18!!!!

Centennial Woods… Winter Edition!

Posted: February 3rd, 2018 by mlangham

A lot has changed since I last visited my spot in Centennial Woods last December. It’s now a lot easier to see who else has been visiting my spot, and it’s actually quite surprising how many things have been through there. There were tons of human tracks going through on the path, and almost as many dog tracks running around the sides and through the woods. There was also a lot of cottontail rabbit tracks that cut across the trail, and it looked like the dogs might have been going crazy chasing the scent and tracks through the snow. Some of the tracks that I saw were these:


I also saw a tree that looked like it’s been gnawed on by a porcupine, but I didn’t see any tracks, here’s the tree:

I found some buds forming on some trees, I saw a sugar maple bud, and what I think was a boxelder bud. Unfortunately, my camera had gotten too cold at this point to take a good picture of the boxelder bud, but I got a really nice picture of the sugar maple bud:

And here’s my attempt at drawing it:

A lot’s changed since last December, like the temperature. It’s a lot colder than it was when I last visited, and the path has turned into more of a sheet of ice than a path. The trees in December had a few leaves that were stragglers and didn’t want to leave their tree, but now all the trees are bare. There’s a solid sheet of ice across the brook now, whereas in February it was bubbling on through. There wasn’t really any snow in December either, but now there’s a solid inch of dusting that makes it pretty easy to identify who’s been through. And here’s a look at just how frozen it is:

Oh Sweet, Sweet Fall

Posted: December 6th, 2017 by mlangham

My spot in Centennial Woods has shown me a lot about the way the forest functions, and more particularly, how the urban forest functions. My spot serves as an intersection for foot, and paw traffic, on the trail systems that traverse through Centennial Woods. However, in the past the forest of Centennial Woods has served as much more than that. Before the Europeans came, the land was primarily forested, but when the Europeans came the land was used primarily as farmland. There is still evidence of this, as there are stone walls still intact in some places. As the Vermont economy shifted from agriculture, Centennial Woods was let go to return to a forested form. Now it serves as a great place for people to get outside and enjoy nature in an urban setting. It also is a great classroom for students to utilize in order to learn more about the natural world that surrounds them.

Devil’s Hill Map!!!

Posted: November 26th, 2017 by mlangham

Devil’s Hill!!!

Posted: November 26th, 2017 by mlangham

Devil’s Hill is a place that almost everyone knows. In Peacham, it’s where you go when you want to hike and not drive very far. Many people visit Devil’s Hill throughout the year, but the amount of visitors peaks in the late summer and early fall, when the foliage starts to pop and dramatic yellows, reds, and oranges cover the trees throughout the woods. Once the summit is reached, the woods seem to open up and allow a view to the west that reaches as far as Camel’s Hump. It’s quite a special place, as most of the views are views of forest and swamp and other mountains: there’s really no view of much human activity, other than some cabins on a small pond off to the east. It’s really quite a special place, there’s evidence that shows people have been hiking on Devil’s Hill for a long time. There’s an exposed face of rock that has been carved into by many people, and the oldest carving visible was someone with the initials MPL from 1932. There’s evidence of more recent activity, too. There’s spots where campfires have been lit, and several beer cans are strewn throughout the site, some are actually quite old. All kinds of wildlife populate the area surrounding Devil’s Hill, some of the most notable include white tailed deer, moose, black bear, coyote, and ruffed grouse.

The phenology of centennial woods when compared to Devil’s Hill has some similarities, but mostly there are differences. The savage magnificence and frontier like feeling one gets from observing the view from atop Devil’s Hill is quite different from the tame and quiet feeling of being underneath the canopy of my spot in Centennial woods. There is evidence of a good time had by many in both spots though, as beer cans are usually easily found whenever I take a stroll through both places. The wind never usually moves through centennial woods at great speed, but it is quite common to experience a cold and wild wind whenever one finds themself atop Devil’s Hill. When I find myself at my spot in Centennial woods, I can observe many kinds of decidious and coniferous trees, but on top of Devil’s Hill, I only find coniferous trees. I haven’t seen any eastern hemlock trees at my spot in Centennial woods, but I see primarily eastern hemlock at my spot on Devil’s Hill. The other species of coniferous tree that I see when I go to Devil’s Hill is the eastern white pine. Snow covers the summit of Devil’s Hill as early as late October, and right now the summit has a solid layer of snow. I don’t expect my spot in Centennial woods to have snow for at least another couple of weeks, as being so close to the lake seems to have an effect on the amount of snow Centennial Woods gets.



Oh, Fall! (2.0)

Posted: November 5th, 2017 by mlangham

With fall almost over, a lot’s changed in my spot. The leaves that were two months ago green with life cover the forest floor. I primarily see oak and maple leaves. The green jewel weed that was near the brook is now just waiting for a solid killing frost before it’s presence disappears from the landscape for the winter. The most substantial change in the landscape is the cover of the leaves- they literally cover everything that’s on the forest floor, I’d definitetly hate to drop something here!

Oh woods, how you make me smile,

especially you, centennial woods,

you lurk, almost in the shadows, of Burlington, and many have no idea of your existence,

but I know you, I know your brook, I know your bridge,

I feel your energy as the seasons change,

I know you, centennial woods

Oh, Fall!

Posted: October 22nd, 2017 by mlangham

My place in Centennial Woods has changed with the seasons. The tall oaks and maples that were once covered in leaves of green now have very few, if any, orange, red, and yellow leaves. Recently fallen leaves cover the ground throughout the spot and if the sun hits them just right, the orange and yellow look as if they’ve almost been set on fire- they’re that fantastic. The bushes that were growing near the river are starting to change from green to brown, and the jewel weed is losing its’ jewel. It won’t be long until we get a frost and it’s gone for the year. Wildlife in my spot is hard to detect, but I did manage to see and observe what I believe to have been a pileated woodpecker pecking away at a dead oak. I also saw some deer tracks in the sand by the brook, so it looks like I’m not the only species of large mammal in the area! I also saw a wooly bear caterpillar, which I picked up and observed in my hand for a little while, but other than that, all is quiet (or so it appears) in my spot!

My spot, in Summary Form

Posted: October 1st, 2017 by mlangham

The forest that surround my spot in Centennial Woods is comprised mainly of young to middle aged trees. There’s a lone black cherry, several Eastern White Pine trees, a few Eastern Hemlock, and a Northern Red Oak. The vegetation is very minimal- most of the forest floor is covered in pine needles and leaves that have fallen from this year and past years. The way to my spot is pretty simple. All that you need to do to get there is follow the trail into Centennial Woods, by the Police Department, and go a little past the bridge. The intersection of where the trail branches off up the hill is my spot. I can look down into a marsh type area from where the brook runs through, but I usually sit near the trees a little higher up and look up. The leaves are starting to change colors and some are starting to fall. It’s a bit of an understatement to say that it’s a cool place. I liked the fact that it’s a well traveled spot, but that makes it so there are a lot of things people fail to take the time to notice. Sometimes it’s the most noticed things that have the least amount known about them

Hello world!

Posted: October 1st, 2017 by mlangham

Welcome to UVM Blogs. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Home Sweet Home

Posted: October 1st, 2017 by mlangham


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