November 10th Trip to Redstone Quarry

By visiting this location multiple times, I have begun to feel a connection to Redstone Quarry by understanding the sense of place it has. Like the definition of sense of place that was used in class mentioned, I began to feel this connection after spending time there and I was able to form this connection because of its location within nature. I feel a connection with the quarry on a smaller scale in terms of just the place itself out of the context of any larger areas it may be a part of because I generally enjoy spending time outside and in nature. However, that connection is not the only reason why the Redstone Quarry has a sense of place to it for me, it also has to do with its geographic location within New England. It reminds me a lot of my hometown and spending time in the woods or camping with my dad and siblings since we always spent a lot of time in nature when I was growing up. My hometown also has a lot of natural areas and trails that are similar so I feel like that similarity is part of the reason why I feel a connection to it. However, it is clear by going there that this space has been severely impacted by human activity and it would not have had those same characteristics that it has today if I were to visit the quarry 100 years ago. Since it had been used for mining in the past, it is likely that the area had been deforested previously and the ecosystem had been disrupted to make way for human development. Its transition into a natural area with many different forms of wildlife and plants gives it this sense of place from its ability to recover from disturbance and revert back to the way it had been as much as possible before human intervention. 

I noticed many notable phenological changes during this trip, most notably, the transition from fall into winter. The second time I visited the weather was sunny and significantly warmer than this trip where it was dark and cloudy and barely warmer than 30 degrees. While there was some evidence of leaves falling off the trees the last time I went, there were hardly any leaves left at all this time. I also noticed more details about the quarry because there were fewer leaves obscuring my vision, such as the weathering on some of the trees and the abundance of the cattails. Although I had seen both of these before it became evident to me that they were more prevalent than I thought. I also realized that the pond that I initially thought was just located on the right side of the area actually ran along almost the entire length of the rockface, but I had not been able to see most of it before because of how dense the leaf coverage had been before. I also noted that there were far fewer animals there, most of the birds had probably migrated south and I only saw a few still flying around the area, and the weather was certainly too cold for the insects that I had seen there last time.

Red oak tree with dead leaves clinging to the branches

One phenomenon pointed out in the November section of Naturally Curious that was present at the quarry were the leaves of American beech and oak trees turning brown and dying, but not falling off the trees like other deciduous ones at this time of year. I was able to identify a few different red oak trees, and they all still had their leaves attached to the branches despite it being quite late in the season.

Small crab apple I found on the ground that had fallen off of its tree

I also took note of a dead tree that was providing habitat to some of the few remaining birds that had not migrated, or as Naturally Curious defined it, a snag. There were also numerous trees and other vegetation growing from the base of the dead tree. This tree is an example of a dead organism still being able to play a positive role for the other organisms of an ecosystem.

Dead tree providing shelter and other uses for the organisms in the ecosystem

There were some other aspects of the changing seasons that I took note of during my visit that can be seen in the photos below, or things that I had not noticed from my previous trips.

Thin sheet of ice on top of the pond
A large bird’s nest on top of a tree
Evidence of human land-use in the area from these scraps of roofing from a house
Plant with fuzzy buds growing from the top

Field notes from this trip:

~ by Sarah Cain on November 12, 2019.

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