The first week of May has brought on many new changes to my phenology site. Considering the last time I was here there was still a light dusting of snow on the ground and now the flowers are starting to bloom, green grass is growing, and the trees are starting to get their leaves back. Spring is truly happening at my place. The chirping of birds can be heard all around you and the flowing of water in the brook gives my place a peaceful feeling.
Nature and Culture
My phenology location within centennial woods has a had small past regarding culture. When European settlers came to Vermont, the cleared this land and used it for farming. Because of this the natural occurrences of the land changed from what it once was. Centennial woods is now home to many hardwoods, and the eastern white pines are a good indicator of newer tree growth.
Apart of Place
Thinking back on my phenology location I do feel as though I am apart of it. I experienced many changes at my location, from fall to winter, from winter to spring. Seeing all of these changes connects you to that small place. Even though my time with this phenology blog is over, I will still return to this location and observe the natural changes that occur.
Returning to Centennial Woods after a long period of time I hoped to find a new spring type look. Unfortunately, spring time has been delayed this year. The weather has been unusually cold and so a blanket of snow still covers the ground where I stand on the Centennial Brooks edge. I look in and around the water for signs of amphibians, yet find none. Comparing to Mary Hollands Naturally Curious as a guide, I begin to understand that the cold weather is impacting the spring time reoccurrence of amphibians. As well as the lack of amphibian sightings, if flowers had begun to bloom, they are now crushed by the freshly fallen snow. I am sadden that normal spring time processes have yet to begin. Hopefully when I return again, spring will really have sprung.
The location of my Phenology site sits right on an edge effect. Located right on the Centennial Brook, giving my location its unique edge effect. As for interior forest species, my location may include birds such as wood thrush, black-throated green warbler, and more.
Over spring break I visited the Ancient Bristlecones located in the White Mountains of California. These twisted trees exceed 4000 years old making them one of the oldest trees in the world. Once located on an inland sea, the soil consists of dolomite. This dolomite is a harsh soil that these bristlecones have adapted to, giving them almost no surrounding competition. Each year the bristlecone trees grow a new layer of bark and depending on the season the color of the bark is either light or dark. While spending time here at my location I saw one species of bird that I recognized, the red-tailed hawk. A very common bird species to this area was out searching for food. I hope to return to this amazing location once school ends to explore more of these trees.
Returning back to my Phenology location, I discovered the snow that was once there is now melted and gone. The stream my location is located next to was also completed void of ice and flowing freely. Now that the snow was gone, it revealed the previously fallen leaves from last fall along with ferns. The ground was also much softer then when I was in the Centennial woods last semester. Using Wetland, Woodland, Wildland as a guide I decided that my location was classified as a Wetland more specifically a Forested Wetland. I decided this because of the Red Maple and White Pine trees located surrounding my location. Looking at BioFinder, its amazing to see a high priority wooded area located in a city environment.
As I was exploring my former phenology location I heard in the distance the relaxing sound of flowing water. I decided to walk from my former location to what is now my new phenology location located on the Centennial Brook. To get to this location you must walk a minute into the Centennial Woods until you see a large Eastern White Pine on your left. From there you head in a southern direction towards the Centennial Brook and end up at my new location. As I stood and listened to the flowing water I decided this was the location for me. Once I settled on the location I began to explore. At first I walked around scouring the ground for animal tracks. It snowed a light dusting last night making it great for animal tracks. After a minute I found what appears to be either a Snowshoe Hare or a Cottontail Rabbit. These animals tracks are both gallopers and have similar shape. I am having a hard time identifying which one it is due to the poor quality of the track. After finding these tracks I began to look at the trees surround me. The first species I identified was a Sugar Maple tree. It was distinguishable by its opposite branching and brown buds. The second twig I came across was much harder to identify and I may still even be wrong. After examination I believe it to be a Striped Maple due to its color and prominent stripes on the twig. After these explorations I am glad that I chose this new location to be my phenology blog headquarters!
As fall semester comes to a close, I begin to reflect on my time here at my phenology location. Seeing the drastic changes that have occurred since my first visit back in September have encouraged my to keep exploring and learning about this location. Since my last visit back in November, I noticed that the trees have become more bare and their leaf remains are on the ground. Yet this is a subtle difference. I am sure that when I return to my location in Mid-January there will be a layer of snow covering these leaves. In the snow I hope to find tracks from nearby animals. As for now I take a seat on the log located in the middle of my location, I take a deep breath and listen. I listen to the wind the rustles the trees. I listen to a few birds chirping before they leave for winter. I listen to people in the distance exploring the woods. As I stand up to leave I say goodbye to my phenology location for now, knowing that when I return it will be a whole new place.
Though hard to imagine, but the natural area which is Centennial Woods was once cleared and used for farming. If you take a deeper look at the trees you notice that most are at the same stage of growth and development. This a sign that long ago this area was logged and used as farm land. For example my location contains eastern white pine which indicated that the tree growth in Centennial is newer. More evidence comes from the hardwood trees that live in Centennial. Once Centennial had stopped being used for farming trees began to sprout. In current age you can explore the trails located within the 70 acres of land owned by the University of Vermont and still see remains of fences from the farming that took place here long ago.