Within the past week, it has been very rainy here in Burlington. The amount of water in Centennial Brook has increased quite a bit. On my walk to my spot, I slipped in mud in many places, as the ground is very moist. The open field is very wet and muddy as is all of the low laying land. Every day the forest is getting more and more green with life.
Nature and culture can be intertwined in a variety of ways. One being by the water within Centennial Brook. In some cases, the fiddleheads can feed people as well. The environment within Centennial Woods creates a welcoming environment. Within the past year, if I was feeling overwhelmed, I went to my phenology as a soothing place. I feel a part of Centennial Brook and Centennial Woods. Centennial Brook is a place that calms my mind and feelings, it takes me to a place without cars and groups of people. I can breathe in fresh air and listen to the birds, the water flowing, and even the wind. Overall, this past year has been a great year, with my phenology spot within Centennial Woods.
Spring is finally in full swing! Centennial Brook is surely flowing. The blossoms are blooming, the sun is shining, although some days it is raining pretty hard. There have been many changes since my last blog post of Centennial, including the birds migrating back, the trees are blooming, etc. I am unable to upload more than one photo sadly, so I can create another post with a few buds from flowers I found growing. As I observed a few different maple species, I noticed fuzzy buds starting to form some green buds within. Overall, lots of new leaves are growing on shrubs and trees. The forest is finally turning back to green as the new season is upon us.
As I looked for wildflowers in the meadow near the brook, I observed small buds what appeared to be daffodils, but I could not be sure. There were also small purple flowers growing, African violets. I do not know birds very well, but listening to the birds, I could conclude way more sounds than previous times at my phenology site. I can tell they are migrating back to Vermont.
During Spring Break of 2019, I visited Puerto Rico. This was my first time visiting, and even flying over an ocean. This experience was very impactful for me. Not only did I learn more environmental patterns, but I learned more about the Hispanic culture as well. I was there for a total of 11 days, and did so much within those days. I went to 6 beaches in total and explored the landscapes the island offered. Although this is very different from my Burlington phenology spot, I found different factors that proved differences. For instance, the climate is most definitely warmer, and more water from the surrounding oceans. I did find a couple of sparrows on la Playa Sucio in Cabo Rojo, PR. As I hiked through the desert and looked off the mountain of eroded rock, I spotted one long red beaked bird with black and white feathers. I was unable to identify it though. Some species I encountered were many little lizards and iguanas, turtles, stay cats and dogs, and some birds. I also found a hermit crab nest at Playa Sucio as well. There were many new plants that were hard for me to identify, besides palm trees. The majority of trees I saw were fruit trees, bananas, oranges, plantains, mango, passionfruit, and some papaya. Overall, I saw the island to be pretty sustainable as there were many fruits being grown to be used and sold at local markets. I also noticed at certain beaches, larger amounts of plastic than others. I found myself picking up lots of little plastic cups at Playa Santa, Guanica, PR. Different beaches held different people. At Crashboat Beach in Aquadilla, there were way more tourists than at Playa Sucio. Playa Sucio is not well-advertised, but does sit on National Wildlife Refuge Protected Land. I really took into appreciation the love for nature Puerto Ricans have. The island seemed “untamed” to me, as lots of mountains were untouched.
In conclusion, Puerto Rico as a whole is very different than Burlington, Vermont. I was so lucky to have this opportunity to immerse myself in a new lifestyle for 11 days. One main difference was the climate, soil, hydrology, and geology. I will try to attach some pictures!!
Centennial Woods as a Woodland: Sugar maples, Dark Hemlock Ravines. Part of Centennial Woods being a Wetland in low areas, water flowing through Centennial Brook. There is no dominant wetland plants present, but the water is flowing under the small bridge. There are signs of hardwoods present through Centennial, thinning out towards the Brook. Centennial Woods is also a wild land, although used mainly for recreation, many different species of wildlife are present throughout. There is no signs of fire that I have found throughout the past couple of months, but there are many signs of climate, snow in the winter, mushy mud in the spring or after a large rainfall, hard soil on hot summer days.
Since my first visit, there have been some changes within the soil. I have noticed the soil to gain nutrients through the melted snow, now soggy soil. I have also noticed a small increase in the variety of birds located along Centennial Brook. It also appeared the Brook is flowing more heavily with more volume and pressure.
Finally back I Burlington, I has never felt better. A few weeks into classes and getting adjusted back into the swing of things, but I found time to come visit Centennial Brook. I noticed quite a big change, SNOW! The way the snow lays on the edge of the Brook fascinates me. I love being able to see the surgical geology layers under the snow. The Brook was flowing today, the clouds were out, but warm temperatures in the air.
Below are some of the pictures I captured from today. While looking for tracks, I came across some deer tracks heading to the Brook. I also came across some squirrel tracks running from one tree to another. Along with searching for wildlife tracks, I also looked at the buds on some tree. I was able white oak, sugar maple, red maple, boxelder, and even glossy buckthorn. Some of the species are pictured below! -‘
Here is a sugar maple twig drawing with names of different parts.
On a side note, I found quite the python track. A whopping 14inch straddle. Quite interesting what animals call Centennial Woods home!
We are now officially done with classes!!! 1/8 DONE! This semester went by so quick, just as 2018 did as a whole. Since the beginning of the semester, I have been learning ways to determine previous land uses. Within Centennial Woods, my phenology spot is bordering an open plain. The plain is surrounded by some birch trees. As I learned in NR 001, birch trees are a sign of disturbance. I believe Centennial Woods was most likely a previous agriculture settlement.
The past couple or weeks, there have been signs of raccoons and possibly a fox. I could see the tracks within the snow. I was unable to take a picture, my phone had died. I am excited to continue this blog post the I return in January for the spring semester. Hopefully when I return there will be more snow, making the tracks easier to identify.
Break is finally here! After three cancelled flights, I am back home in Shawnee on Delaware, Pennsylvania. I picked a new phenology spot for break, on national park service land near my home. The land borders mine, giving it some known history. Attached are some pictures of this spot and where it can be located.
Near this place is a border, a border of stone walls. The stone walls create a perimeter to an agricultural field. The majority of trees are paper and yellow birch and some white and red oaks. There are signs of wildlife, including deer, bear and racoon scat in various places within a 10 yard radius. Along the edge of the stone walls, dead down trees, various old metal, tires, even an old gate with rusty barb wire attached is present. It was a damp morning when I visited, the. Leaves were soft but shriveled up for the end of fall. There were lots of leaves on the ground, not many on the limbs above me. As I look around, I take note of all of the birch trees, making me wonder if the land was previously disturbed. There are signs of previous settlement, including the tires and stone walls. The landscape was pretty open and not too much understory brush. Having no leaves on the trees opened up the forest and created my new sense of place. I was happy to be able to visit a new spot at home and take in all nature has to offer for me.
This new phenology spot has many similarities and differences. One main difference is the presence of water. In Burlington, Centennial Brook flows through the landscape. My Burlington phenology spot also has many conifers on the landscape, but in Shawnee, there is a sporadic conifer at the spot I chose. Although if you hike a half mile south, there’s forests on forests of white pines. It was crazy to see how different the landscape is compared to a half mile south. In Burlington, there was not as much sign of wildlife compared to Shawnee. The variety of tree species is a wider range in Burlington, in a smaller landscape analysis compared to Shawnee’s same size landscape analysis. There was a lot of leaves on the ground at home, compared to Burlington. In Shawnee, the landscape was less developed and less use to humans compared to wildlife. In Burlington, there was the bridge over Centennial Brook and commonly walked by humans and animals daily.
Overall, creating a new phenology spot at home allowed me to learn more about my landscape at home using what I learned in Burlington. It will be interesting to read more of the landscape as I learn more!
Since last visit there are various changes. The landscape is changing quickly, the trees, the leaves, the brook, even he trails. The leaves are all falling, covering the whole landscape with beautiful colors. The increased rainfall has increased the depth of Centennial Brook. The water is flowing faster, carrying more sediments and fallen leaves downstream. The ground is moist and muddy, leaving my footprints behind. I took notice of a decrease in wildlife, most likely due to the rain pouring out of the dark, gloomy sky. There are not as many birds singing on this gloomy day compared to my last visit with bright skies and soundly melodies in the air. The rain drops hitting the brook are just so peaceful. I can hear the intensity of the rain increase and decrease as the wind blows through the forest.
The drips and drops, The soft and hard. Raindrops fall from above.
Left and Right, the trees stand tall.
Sunny days the birds sing, the water flows.
Peaceful and elegant nature can be, just give her the time of day.
Relax and cherish the moments of the cordial wildlife,
Two weeks made a difference. Fall is here and brighter than ever! The beautiful leaves have covered landscape. I have noticed a lot more light shining through the understory in some areas. Areas housed by conifers still have some shade to them. The brook level has changed from last time, also the the temperature has dropped!
On my way to Centennial Brook, I passed a significant amount of squirrels quickly rushing to find food to bury for the winter. They know what is about to come. I could hear the leaves crumbling under my feet as I walked through the trail, approaching the bridge. I sat on the edge of the bridge and took a deep breath of the cold, bitter, and crisp air. I could feel winter coming in my lungs, I’m sure the wildlife can as well. Maybe next time there will be snow on the ground!