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A Brief History of the Pines

I’m very sad to see how fast the time has flown. It feels just like yesterday I was a bright-eyed first year taking her first steps onto UVM’s campus. Now I’m not so bright-eyed, can actually find my way around campus without utilizing a map, and have grown to love my phenology spot for all it’s given me and for all I’ve experienced in its presence. From hammocking, to studying for the NR-1 midterm, from sketching, to ordering pizza in the middle of the day before classes, star gazing at midnight, or sledding down small slopes on discarded seat cushions and pizza boxes, I’ve done it all in the Redstone Pines. Now very little wildlife is left to be seen, besides a few squirrels scavenging for their winter diet. Pine cones litter the floor, dropping from tree to tree as needles also are discarded and soon turn yellow on the ground. The leaves of Norway maples gone until next season. It’s sad to think this will be my last blog post of the semester.

Moving on, it was very difficult to find research on the human history of the area specifically to my phenology spot near the Redstone Pines. After some research I discovered that there are some mentions of the wooded area in some readings on the actual history of Redstone Campus, which is a more documented area of UVM history. I was not able to find any early history on my phenology spot or any history relating to Native Peoples presence in the area. Therefore, the research I have gathered pertains to the land use of Redstone campus as it pertains to UVM history. In the 1800s UVM was well known as the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College. Therefore, academics at UVM were geared towards developing improved farming practices for the state of Vermont. It turns out that the are that makes up my phenology spot was utilized as experimental grounds for a number of their agricultural experiments. For example, there was a time when cattle roamed and grazed on these grounds.

All rights reserved to United States Department of the Interior: National Park Service.

Well goodbye Redstone Pines! See you next semester!

Flashback to the first time I ever visited the Redstone Pines and jammed with my newfound friends as the sun set in the background.

Circa August 2017 UVM

 

A Day at the Beach


I just recently discovered a Red Pine at the edge of my phenology spot! I could identify the tree as a Red Pine due the pairs of needles versus the bundles of five needles which the Eastern White Pine is known for.
   

A Special Place Back Home

The place I chose for my phenology spot at home over the break was Short Beach in Stratford, CT. I live in the town of Stratford and have gone to the beach there many times. I never thought much about going to the beach until I came to UVM. I always had access to the beach growing up since I lived in a state that made up the Eastern coast of the U.S. However, now I think of people who live in states that don’t hug the shoreline and have access to the ocean. Now I have realized that I’ve taken the beach for granted. So, I decided to visit this simple place from my childhood for my phenology blog and appreciate it in all of its glory.

  

As I stepped onto the loose particles of sand that made up the shore, the blaring sound of gull cries rang in my ears. I strolled across the expanse of the beach, my converse sinking into the damp and with every step. It was high tide around 3:00 in the afternoon when I arrived. The current rolled into shore, the waves lapping at my sneakers leaving them damp and sticking with sand. I crouched in the surf to inspect the hidden treasures the waves had left behind. I shifted through broken remnants of shells, glossy snails shyly poking out of the sheets they called home, mussel carcasses, and fragmented crab claws. I collected the trinkets that caught my eye and continued along the shore line in search of new wonders. The salty sea breeze whipped my hair around my face. I was in awe of how happy and relaxed I was in this mystic place.

 

         

My new spot I found back home was very different then my spot back up in Burlington. My spot in Burlington is a small natural place that is on highly developed land with minimal vegetation and wildlife. My location at home also has very little vegetation but is a wide expanse of land that encompasses a wide variety of wildlife and activity. At my original phenology spot the vegetation is mainly made up of eastern white pine trees. However, at Short Beach there are a couple of red pines located far from shore. I was able to identify these trees by observing the needle bundles which were made up of pairs of two. There was also some small scrubby shrubs at the beach along with cacti which I could not identify. The cacti seemed to be very out of place along the sand dunes of the shore. I observed a number of gulls milling about the beach. I had to keep my younger brother from chasing a few of them off into the ocean. I was very excited to come across some deer tracks in the sand. They were very distinct and multiple lines of tracks lead off into the scrubby bushes that frame the beach. Therefore, I am pretty sure a group of deer live close by. In my phenology spot in Burlington I have come across multiple bird species like Canada geese and some type of hawk and a few small mammals such as squirrels but never anything big like a deer. The ecosystems of my two places were very different. My place at Burlington being a small wood, mainly on land while my new place was a beach mainly on the water.

 

My Happy Place

We run to the woods, anxious to see this new wonder.

None of us ever could have imagined that under,

The bricks and the cement of the university dorms,

Lays a lush, green, wooded landform.

We throw down our belongings as we reached the wood.

I began to pitch my hammock as well as I could.

Once the hammock was up and didn’t threaten to fall,

I crawled inside and felt the sunshine that beat down on us all.

G began to strum her uke, playing a lovely song,

Nate lay back in his hammock and lowly sang along.

Cat listened to her podcast, while sprawled out on the ground,

Anna snapped pictures of everyone while not making a sound.

Miles snoozed in his hammock, as he lay upside like a bat.

While Brandon was pulling pieces of bread out of his hat.

Maddie swung in her hammock enjoying the breeze,

as I gazed upward to admire the trees.

At that moment surrounded by friends in this calming space,

Without fear of difference, academics, or race,

Laying in patches of the sun’s warm embrace,

At that moment I knew I had found my happy place.

Over the course of the season the Redstone Pines have changed since I first visited the area at the very beginning of this semester. The ground is currently blanketed in pine needles however, the Eastern White Pines and Northern White Cedars that ring the area still maintain their foliage. The ground was damp and muddy upon my visit due to the previous week’s rainfall. White sap coated pine cones are everywhere and I decided to collect a few as I walked through the wood. There aren’t many creatures out and about as there were the past. Maybe they are all off preparing for the upcoming snow. A lot happens in the pines if one pays attention.

As Free as a Bird

As the seasons turn over and we have entered fall, the Redstone Pines have begun to reflect the season change. A great number of pine needles have turned brown and fallen to the wood floor. As I trek through the pines on my way to hammock as I usually do my ruby red boots would turn white with sap and crushed pine cones.

As I lay in my hammock gently swaying back and forth by the fall breeze I observe a flock of Canada geese flying in a V formation above my head. Groups of pigeons peck at the ground and dredge through the fallen pine needles at my feet. I see the silhouette of a hawk fly over the pines and the pigeons immediatly scatter.

The hawk flies on, probably taking advantage of the thermal air pockets that it depends on for its diurnal migration.

I imagine what it would be like to be a bird flying high over the Earth. Observing the life and the landscape from a bird eye’s view. I imagine it would be quite peaceful.

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