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My Heart Within the Pines

Welcome Fall!

Posted: October 14th, 2017 by sklimek

My trip to the woods on this cloudy day resulted in a mass of perfectly-lit pictures. I met two very nice pups on a walk with their owners while I was admiring the yellows and reds colors of the foliage. The forest remains as lush as it was in summer, but is certainly dotted with more color than before.

Overhead, a gaggle of Canadian geese flew, honking as their shifted into their V-formation. Chipmunks and Gray Squirrels jumped from maple to maple in search of food for winter.

Vegetation Sketch

Posted: October 9th, 2017 by sklimek

The Old Places are Singing

Posted: October 1st, 2017 by sklimek

If you listen closely, you can hear the old places singing.

The small creaks in the fallen log as small feet pitter across.

The wind, rustling the tops of pine trees, pushing cold autumn air into the nooks of the forest.

The rusting of squirrels, searching for whatever small pieces of food that the birds left behind.

The of leaves being pushed across the landscape, dancing as they hit the ground and then are pushed back up again.

The sounds of the forest sing to me as I admire their songs.

What’s Around Centennial Woods?

Posted: October 1st, 2017 by sklimek

Link to Google Maps


Posted: September 26th, 2017 by sklimek

“Every natural object is a conductor of divinity and only by coming into contact with them… may we be filled with the Holy Ghost.”¬†-John Muir¬†

Since my first journey into the pine stands of Centennial Woods, I have begun to understand what Two Trees spoke of. What a thought it is, that we should be invited into these natural areas rather than barge in. As I walked into the woods today, I was greeted by angry chirps instead of peaceful welcomes from the birds. It seemed like only the mosquitos admired my presence. As I continue to interact with this close community, I hope to learn how to coexist and communicate with its residents.

What habitat does the pine stand provide?

Posted: September 26th, 2017 by sklimek

The pine stand is mostly dominated by vegetation, thus provides a thick cover for small mammals and birds. If you travel into the woods early enough, you can hear the chirps from the trees. Although it is difficult to see birds amongst the canopy, the presence of noise is undeniable.

Mammals like chipmunks and squirrels live in the pine stand. They typically forage amongst the floor, looking for berries and/or nuts. As the weather becomes colder, the prevalence of squirrels increase as they prepare for the winter ahead.

What Vegetation Dominates in this Area?

Posted: September 24th, 2017 by sklimek

Most of the stand is comprised of large conifers including Eastern Hemlocks and Eastern White Pines. There are some pockets of American Beech, Norway Maple, Red Maple, and Sugar Maple along the trail. On the ground, you can find small ferns and various grasses. Moss colonizes the rocks and dead trees in this area.

Why Centennial Woods?

Posted: September 24th, 2017 by sklimek

Centennial Woods is one of the most pristine and natural places near my home in Burlington. The Woods contains a very intricate system of ecosystems and array of trails for visitors to observe their surroundings. I particularly chose the Pine forest because of how the history of the landscape contributed to the modern ecological processes there. The former pine plantation on the Centennial Woods grounds caused smaller deciduous plants to grow in the understory while pines dominated the overstory. This creates a interesting dynamic of light in the forest.

I also chose Centennial Woods because of the characteristics of the geology. It is interesting to study the soil composition of conifer-dominated areas because of the acidity produced by the needles. The low pH changes what species can thrive in the stand and demonstrates the need for soil monitoring to ensure succession over time.

Morning of September 24th

Posted: September 24th, 2017 by sklimek

A leaf rests on an Eastern Hemlock branch.

The vegetative differences in the riparian and stand communities are very different.

Dead saplings provide ideal lighting and background exposure for Bokeh photography.

Human imprint on the stand is evident. Straying away from the path can lead hikers to the perfect rock-stacking spot.

Eastern White Pines tower over small deciduous trees.

Ferns run rampant across the forest floor.

Remnants of an Eastern White Pine glimmer in the morning sunlight.

The view from the Softwood trail head.

Norway Maple soaking up the last bit of summer air.

How Do I Get to The Pine Stand in Centennial Woods?

Posted: September 24th, 2017 by sklimek

1. Turn on to Main St.
2. Turn North on to East Av. (Towards UVM Police Station and Hospital Parking)
3. Turn right on to Carrigan Dr.
4. In less than a quarter mile, the destination in on your left.
5. Enter the trail through the main trailhead. Follow the course of the trail. You should pass a small brook and some clumps of softwood trees. Once you climb a small hill and reach the intersection of two paths, one going directly uphill and one following the course of the brook, continue on the brookside path until you reach a small, riparian community surrounded by tall pine trees.

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