Entry V, December 9, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized on December 9, 2017 by rrobledo

Land Use History

Today, Centennial Woods serves many ecosystem services to the people of Burlington and UVM. The forest provides stress relief, space for recreation, education opportunities, space to explore nature and the natural soil reduces urban stormwater runoff. This land was used for many other purposes in the past. The land was a farm owned by the Ainsworth family before they sold it to UVM in 1904. (“Three Ecosystems”). Barbed wire remains from the old farm. There is a clear distinction between new and old growth trees. Paper Birches grow on what was once open fields. The woods were used by the Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys in the 1760s for training. (Mamrak). UVM classes have also discovered evidence of Native American settlements and tools here including spearheads. This suggests that the woods were inhabited thousands of years ago.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this project because I got to build a personal relationship with a piece of land. In class we talked about human interaction with nature and we studied specific places in lab. This blog is different because it is a place that we personally choose and we are the only ones to explore it. I liked my place because I felt that I was the only one who was aware of the place in the moment. I felt like my place welcomed me whenever I visited and my company was enjoyed.

 

Works Cited

“Three Ecosystems and Their Organisms.” Woodland, Wildland, and Wetland Sites. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2017.

Mamrak, Andrew. “Wild Burlington: Bunker in Centennial Woods.” Wild Burlington: Bunker in Centennial Woods. N.p., 25 Oct. 2012. Web. 07 Dec. 2017.

Entry IV November 24, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized on November 26, 2017 by rrobledo

My place away from campus is Barre Town Forest or Graniteville in Barre, Vermont. I first found this place when my father took me here to play disc golf with his friends in August. My first impression of the place was of summer fun, excitement and father son time. When I visited the place my heart was filled with a feeling of sportsmanship and love of the outdoors.

The forest was a mining area back in the golden days of Barre’s granite industry. The land has been left to recover from the time when the space was used for profit. Suggestions of the land use history of this area can be seen everywhere. Small mountains of granite waste can be seen piled high in the distance. Nature has a will of its own. This can be observed in the trees that have found a home atop the bare piles of stone. There are several old quarries chiseled into the earth. Now they are odd frozen ponds of unknown depth. They have rectangular shape and are surrounded by rocky cliffs. Who knows what secrets or forgotten machinery lay at the stony bottom. There are also flats of scarred earth left from the mining operations. Strange areas of flat stone remain among the trees. My dad brought me here once again and he brought my sisters along as well. I felt happy as I walked through the woods with my family. There were no leaves on the trees and there were light patches of snow in some areas. It was slightly cold when we arrived but the temperature dropped quickly as day light came to a close.

Written in the style of Aldo Leopold.

 

My new place varies greatly from my original place. I couldn’t identify any trees because they have shed their leaves in preparation for the oncoming winter. The one tree I could identify was paper birch, a predominant tree in the forest. They are very shade intolerant and live up to 140 years. These trees indicate that the forest is relatively young. Paper birches can only grow where there is little shade, therefore they must have started growing when there were few trees around them which had to be within 140 years at most. I noticed there was little diversity of the forest itself. I saw mostly basic woodland with similar tree composition, scattered stone piles and abandoned quarries. Most of the forest was in the understory re-initiation stage with medium to large trees and some undergrowth. Some areas were in the stem exclusion stage and others were grassy. I observed no flowers, wetlands, wildlife or streams. Although it is likely that I saw no flowers due to the time of year. The few conifers I saw were young.

My place in Burlington has a much more varied forest structure. Most of the forest is in the complex stage with many generations of trees at various stages of growth. There are also areas of understory re-initiation, stem exclusion, and grasslands with wildflowers. There are old groves of large conifer trees. There is a stream and a wetland system. Centennial Woods is a more complex and developed ecosystem. This forest is much older than the Graniteville Forest where the woods are slowing taking back the landscape.

Written in the style of Mary Holland

 

 

This is a satellite image of the forest

 

Take note that almost every picture has paper birches in it.

 

These are two abandoned quarries left to be filled with water. Now they are stagnant ponds.

 

These are two pictures takes near the entrance. In the first picture, one can see tall mounds of rock piled in the background.

 

These pictures were taken of a mound up-close. This area is in understory re-initiation stage, as is most of the forest.

 

The area to the left of the mound is in the stem exclusion stage. There are many paper birches and young trees here.

Entry III, November 4

Posted in Uncategorized on November 4, 2017 by rrobledo

I have not been to my place in a long while. I was away from campus for a week so I couldn’t take time to go there. On my way to the stream I saw several trees felled by the wind storm. One particularly large one blocked the path. I noticed the shift to fall happening here. Much of the lushness and greenery has dulled and faded. I heard less bird calls and more crows. The sky was a dense uniform grey. The forest is quieter than I remember it. The leaves have passed peak foliage. I noticed a chipmunk near the wall, perhaps he or she is preparing for winter. I see birds flying south. I realize now that the wetland area has many phragmites. These are invasive wetland plants that store more water than cattails. Sometimes they can dry out wetlands.

 

I wrote a poem while thinking about the change that winter will bring to this area:

 

Vivacity of the forest; birds, beasts and bugs, be wary,

For Winter’s cold breath of malice draws near.

Flocks of crows, capable of murder patrol the sombre skies.

The forest is under their reign now.

 

A chipmunk scurries around in the leaf litter.

Perhaps she is gathering nuts and acorns for the winter,

So she can be strong and care for her young in the spring.

 

After many moons under ice, snow and frozen ground,

Spring comes like a fair maiden bearing fruit and bread

For the weary traveler.

The forest draws breath once again.

 

This cycle has continued from the time when the sky was strange

With odd stars and twisted constellations.

And the stream water, running sweeter than honeymilk,

Does it flow knowing that it will freeze once more?

 

This is a bird’s eye view of the location

 

This is my event map

  1. I explore the wetlands and identify phragmites.
  2. A fallen tree obstructs the path.
  3. My friends and I come across a class observing flowers.
  4. I run into friends. I finish the poem here.
  5. I hang out with friends by the wall. I start the poem here.

 

This is the tree blocking the path that leads to my location.

 

These pictures were taken of the grassy area before the stream to the left of the path.

 

This picture was taken of the wetland area to the right of the path.

 

These pictures were taken of the path from the grassy area.

 

These pictures were taken at the pine grove near the wall. One can see the trees mostly bare, the wetland, and the wall itself.

 

These pictures were taken from the bridge while I was writing the poem.

Entry II October 10, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized on October 10, 2017 by rrobledo

As one approaches the pine grove from the opposite shore, the path crosses dense flowers, weeds, herbs, ferns, grasses and a few walnut trees. Lining the shore is shrubbery that leans over the water, mostly Buckthorn. I see a good number of water striders on the surface of the stream. There is a wetlands ecosystem facing east where the stream winds through the grassland. The marsh is characterized by pockets of mud among the tall grasses, open space, weeds and cattails and other wetland vegetation.

Along the opposite shoreline there are a few walnut trees. Past this there are light grasses and herbs. Beyond this is a large grove of Eastern White Pine. The trees sit upon a hill which rises right over the stream. Half way up the hill there is an old wall with intense and artful graffiti. Sitting on the wall feels like the hill forms a great lecture hall that hearkens to the stream. I can hear squirrels rustling through the fallen leaves.

 

 

These pictures show the wetland system and the stream from the bridge.

 

 

These pictures show vegetation surrounding the spot. 

 

 

 

This is a Walnut tree standing before the pine grove.

 

This is the trail going through the grasses to the stream. 

This is a fly on the shore opposite of the grasslands. 

 

This is the Buckthorn shrubbery that leans over the water. 

 

 

These pictures are taken of marsh vegetation from the wetlands. 

(The grassland and bridge crossing over the stream is dead ahead from here).

 

These pictures were taken from atop the wall of the pine grove. 

 

 

These pictures were taken of the wall from the pine grove.

Entry I October 1, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized on October 2, 2017 by rrobledo

My spot is a bend in a stream that runs through Centennial Woods. If you take the main trail through Centennial, you will come across an area with herbs, shrubbery and flowers. There is a wetland system off to the right. Ahead is a bridge leading across the stream, dappled with sparse shade from Buckthorn and other shrubs that surround the stream. Across the bridge, the trail leads to grove of mostly Eastern White Pine, and Red Maples but also Black Cherry and Striped Maple. The most common woody plant in the area is Buckthorn.

I was on my way to the grove of Eastern White Pine and Red Maple because this was the area that I originally had in mind. As I passed this spot, I was struck by the beauty and the peace that I felt here. I chose it because I love how cute the space is and how much it makes me happy. I also figured it would be interesting to observe how the life-will of the forest leans toward the stream.

 

This is a sketch of my spot off the top of my head. This is merely the impression that I have of it, I haven’t been there in a week.

 

This image is centered on my place.

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