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Ryan's Centennial Woods Phenology Blog

Final Phenology Post

Posted: May 7th, 2018 by rfcarr

Over the past two semesters I have had the amazing opportunity to watch centennial woods take a complete loop through each season. Many changes occur in the animals and plants present. Although I have continued to come to my spot and act as if it was my home, there is no way I feel apart of the location itself. It just does not work that way for me. Whether we want to be or not, I think humans affect nature no matter how hard they try not to. For example, animals do not know we do not mean any harm. We have our own home and we should not claim the home of the animals that live there. I would feel more connected to my place if animals would come up to me and act normal. Its not that I felt out of place, it just felt disrespectful to think that I am connected to the land. The centennial woods area has always been integrating the environment and culture. The area was first used as a tool of survival for harvesting food and wood. Humans also began using the area as a farm land to grow crops and keep livestock. Today it has transformed into a recreational area for everyone to use. UVM owns this property and works extremely hard to preserve the natural area. This is a great habitat for animals in Burlington and it is a great area for people to come get out into nature. It has been really cool watching the seasons change and figuring out the relationship between people and the environment. Sorry for all the late posts, I still continuously visited my area, but I completely forget there was a blog for it as well. I definitely plan on coming back to my spot next year.

April Makeup Post

Posted: May 7th, 2018 by rfcarr

Today I went to centennial woods with the goal of finding an amphibian and I was very successful. My main strategy was to find a nice wet area along the stream that could potentially be the habitat of frogs and salamander. I only saw one small wood frog, but was unable to catch it and observe it up close. I saw it sitting in some wet leaves and it was pretty well hidden. He jumped away when I reached my hand toward him. I haven’t noticed any specific flower pop out of the ground, but large patches of ferns and clovers have flourished. In terms of landscape ecology, centennial woods is right in the middle of the relationship between society and the environment. Centennial woods is a marked off natural area, but sits directly between residential areas and a college university. It has complete open access to visitors all day. The nearest edge to my location is the main road entrance. It is probably only 100 steps from the edge to my phenology spot. The cars can be loud and affect certain species. A forest interior species that thrives in centennial woods is the warbler.

Spring Break Makeup Post

Posted: May 7th, 2018 by rfcarr

Before I left to go back to my home in New Jersey, I chose to visit the Burlington Waterfront and observe the birds and woody plants that surround the area. I first noticed patches of hackberry, eastern white pine, paper birch, and green ash trees along the water front just next to the ECHO center. They are all native to Vermont and have been growing at the water front for decades. A few birds were spotted including a herring gull, American robin, bluejay, a song sparrow. They all sung beautiful hymns and never stopped chirping back and forth at each other. The natural history of the waterfront has been ever changing since Champlain Sea dried up and eventually evolved into Lake Champlain. Humans have recently made a large impact on the land use of the water front. Where there was was a booming timber industry, there is now a large park and area set off for public recreation. An example of new recreation would be the skatepark that has recently been constructed. 

Makeup March Post:

Posted: May 7th, 2018 by rfcarr

As I walked down the path to my phenology blog location, I walked through a few different natural communities that all meet at the base of the stream. I passed by a mix of hardwoods and then different conifer stand. A few other communities present is a small wetland at the base of the stream that formed from erosion, time, and rain flow. It is very muddy down in this area and has always had the most water in it while the stream is running. Some of the species that are present are birches, pines, cedars, oaks, and along with many plant species like fern clovers and basswood. The phenology of my location hasn’t changed much since my visit in February. The ground remained extremely hard from the cold weather. A layer of snow covers the ground and stream which makes the river flow more quietly and slowly. Biofinder showed that centennial woods is not a rare natural community, but it was labeled with uncommon species present. Biofinder also showed that the area is mostly classified as a conifer forest.

Exploring Centennial in the New Semester

Posted: February 6th, 2018 by rfcarr

When I walked down to the edge of centennial woods, I was surprised at how much snow was on the ground. I did not realize how much snow had fallen last night. The trees and bushes were covered in a layer of what looked to be like icing. I could see the footprints of many dog walkers and hikers. As I made my way to my location, I could hear the snow crunching underneath my feet. Every time I walked under a patch of trees, I would be hit with falling snow. Going to centennial woods in the winter is definitely my favorite. Using my new tracking techniques, I was able to find and follow the tracks of a rabbit. It seemed to be running through the trees at a quick pass. After I made it to the small stream, I couldn’t follow the tracks anymore, but noticed how high the water was. There was also a layer of slushy ice over some parts of the rocky stream. As for trees, I was able to see striving eastern white pines looking better than ever, with the top of their branches covered in needles. I was also able to see a handful of sugar maple, black cherry, paper birch, and eastern hemlocks.


December Visit: Human History

Posted: December 9th, 2017 by rfcarr

The last visit at centennial woods today was very peaceful. I sit on top of a boulder that I now call mine. The stream flows slowly and gently past me as I take in everything one last time before break. Just like my previous visit, no birds or animals were out and about. The leaves were now all gone and the only green left was from the needles left on the tops of the conifers. I will say that most of the lower branches have all of their needles gone. As I sit in all five layers, I decide to get up and walk upstream. The ground was very muddy and soft as I walked along the stream. I saw a few open fields and many cool plant species that were not in my true selected spot. One that was very vibrant and eye-catching was the red twig dogwood. I had to search about the species, since I had never seen or heard of it before. It turns out to be a deciduous shrub that is great for yard work and can be identified by it’s bright red twigs.

After visiting my phenology area multiple times, I have started to learn and find out about the human land history of centennial woods. To start the Abenaki were known to live in this area along the Winooski River, so we can assume that they had settles in parts of Centennial woods Pre-Europeon Era. In class and labs we have talked about UVM studies that have also discovered old tools made by indigenous tribes. After Europeans arrived and the Abenaki began to die out, the woods were most likely used for military training. In the 1800s the woods were privately owned and used mainly for agriculture. Then in the early 1900s, a man named Fred Fiske attended UVM, then bought out Centennial Woods for increased farming purposes. The majority of the area turned into farmland, which explains the old fencing and stone walls. Paper Birches and White Pines are some of the main species growing in the once open fields and pastures. Today, the woods are used mainly for the community and UVM research. On a nice day, people will be walking their dogs or going for a run.

Indigenous Settlements–> Military Training–> Private Farms–> More Farming–> Research and Community Recreation

Manasquan Inlet (Thanksgiving Break Post)

Posted: November 27th, 2017 by rfcarr

My new location outside of Burlington is located in Manasquan, New Jersey.  I have been visiting this spot for as long as I can remember. It was my favorite place to be when I was a kid and it is still my favorite place to be now. Even though I can admit thatI have visited more than  a handful of cooler places,  the feeling I get when I walk out onto the Manasquan Jetty cannot compare to anything else. I compare being out on the jetty to hiking up to the top of a tall mountain that you would call home. The day I went to visit my favorite place it could not have been more beautiful out. The breeze was calm, the sun was out, the waves were gently crashing on shore, and there was no one around. I could not believe that I was the only person out on the jetty, considering sometimes I would see fifty people out there. As I sat and relaxed on a large rock of the jetty, I saw a seagull sitting near me eating a fish. It was the closest I have ever been to one without it noticing I was there, or maybe it was just busy with its lunch.

The ecology and phenology of centennial woods and Manasquan inlet are both similar and opposite. They are opposite in the fact that they are two totally different environments, however, they are both used often by citizens within the community. Centennial woods is in a heavily forested area in Vermont and the Manasquan inlet is on the beach in New Jersey. Obviously the animals and people that visit and live at these places are going to be totally different. The phenology of both places dramatically change from season to season, but in different ways. At centennial woods, the change can be seen in the color of leaves and type of weather, while at the Manasquan inlet, the only real change is in the amount of people that are there. In the summer the inlet is crazy packed, while in the winter you can be the only person there, like me on this fine day. The biggest similarity between the two places is the human land use of each spot. They both provide a great recreational area for the people within the community.

November Event Map/Visit Description

Posted: November 8th, 2017 by rfcarr

Unlike my past visits, I arrived to Centennial Woods wearing more than two layers of clothes. It has been extremely cold and wet the past few days, however the weather has not been the only thing to change. I noticed that all of the animals in my area have disappeared. The most noticeable were the birds because it was much quieter than previous visits. By this time of November, most of the leaves lie dead and brown on the ground, with a few still hanging on. All of the conifers have lost the needles of their bottom branches, but still have dense patches of needles at the peak. Another change I saw was in the water levels of the stream. Today, the stream’s width had grown by around 5 feet on each side and the velocity of the water was much greater. There were also many more pools of water sitting around the large boulder I usually sit to relax on. I think this is due to the rain, bringing more runoff into the stream. 

Second Visit w/ Bird’s Eye View (10/23/17)

Posted: October 23rd, 2017 by rfcarr

As the sun went down, the scene became very peaceful in Centennial Woods. The temperatures were shockingly comfortable given it will be November next week. I sat mounted on top of my boulder, taking in everything that surrounded me. The leaves had started to change, but the trees remain mostly green with hints of yellowish brown and reddish orange. The ground looked a lot different, with large piles of dead leaves and needles, coming mostly from the bottom branches of the trees. The top of the trees still had a solid amount of leaves remaining. Most of the grass and ferns coming off the ground had died. Overall it felt a lot more open and much easier to see deeper into the woods beyond. The area I chose remains extremely quiet with a faint sound of running water. While the minutes went by, birds slowly start chirping back and forth at each other. It was so calm that I fell asleep on my rock for twenty minutes before sprinting to class. October in Centennial Woods is extremely rejuvenating. 

First Visit After the Finding

Posted: October 2nd, 2017 by rfcarr

I sit on top of a boulder swarmed in vegetation. Everywhere I look I see things I hadn’t seen before. I am at ease listening to the quiet flow of the stream in front of me. The chirp of a bird tunes in every once in a while. I examine the stream, seeing a population of small fish. Water spiders also sit on top of the water waiting for prey. Two chipmunks scurry by, while two squirrels come flying down a tree fighting over something. To my left I sit under a 35 foot American Elm tree, surrounded by a large patch of grass, ferns, poison ivy, honey locust, and barberry. Past the stream, up on a small but steep hill, lies trees such as Eastern White Pine, Eastern Hemlock, Green Ash, Sugar and Norway Maple, American Beech, and Black Cherry. A lot of these trees have started to lose their branches, however the change in leaf color is not vibrant. It is still mostly a sea of green all around me. (Pictures are sideways)

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