March: Comes In like a Lion and Out like a Lamb

March has arrived and I couldn’t be happy! Not only because spring break is right around the corner but also because the season of spring is upon us! Earlier this week I visited my phenology spot with a group of friends to hammock, just like we used to in the early months of our time at UVM. The first thing that greeted us to the pines was the graveyard of pine cones that littered the wet ground.

The natural community of my phenology spot does have some major human disturbance but still can be categorized as a forest with a moderate climate area. My spot is relatively flat and does not have altering climate or communities due to elevation. The soil of the natural community has a very prominent O layer consisting of beds of pine needles, pine cones, and some leaf litter. I assume the soil has an acidic pH due to the collection of pines in the area because pine needles themselves are acidic and when they fall they have an effect on soil chemical properties. The soil was well drained and muddy upon my visit to the pines. The area does not have much slope aspect meaning there will not be strong changes in micro climate in the area. It is very windy in the pines, making it a great spot for gently swinging in your hammock.

The ground is no longer dry or covered in snow in the pines as it has been on my previous visits throughout the semester. The snow had melted away when I visited and the ground was wet, forming mud and making discarded needles stick to the soles of my shoes. There were also sadly no squirrels to be seen this time. In fact, the pine seemed void of life besides my friends and I who occupied the trees.

When using biofinder I focused primarily on biological factors and discovered that some rare animal species must inhabitant or cross through my phenology spot. I wonder what these animal species are. I’ll have to be sure to keep an eye open for them next time when I visit the pines. Hopefully, for my sake it will be warmer by then.

Winter has Arrived

The Start of a New Year

It is great to be back to my old phenology spot and to witness all the changes that have come over it since I left the spot in December. Now the Pines are covered in snow and the leaves have the decisions trees have since fallen off, leaving bare twigs behind. Smaller plants are now either covered in snow, deceased, or dormant until the next season. 

When I visited the Pines in search of any signs of lingering wildlife I was not too hopeful. But as I stepped into the deep blankets of freshly fallen snow I was pleasantly surprised to see I was surrounded by oddly shaped tracks. The tracks were not perfect by any means. They nearly looked like four individual holes spaced closely together. The two tracks in the front significantly bigger than the two tracks in the back.


I concluded that it must be a small mammal, probably a bounder or a galloper because the tracks were very spaced out from one another and each individual track represented all four feet when the small mammal landed in the snow. I followed the one set of tracks that lead me to the base of a Norway maple and I was very happy when I looked up from the tracks on the snow covered ground and spotted the animal that had just recently made them.

A grey squirrel was quickly climbing up the deciduous tree as it caught sight of me watching its progress. If I had not been lucky and spotted the squirrel on its journey when I did I know I would not have been able to accurately identify the tracks I had found.

After my encounter with the galloping grey squirrel I went along and picked some twigs off of deciduous trees which were now bare. After sketching them in my own perspective I identified three twigs I had picked as belonging to a horse chestnut, Norway maple, and white oak.

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 Friday

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

The Trees of the Redstone Pines

A Day in the Woods

New Discovery

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.


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