Phenology Blog

A UVM blog

February 4, 2019
by Tracy Norris

Happy New Year!

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!


Have a great day!


December 8, 2018
by Tracy Norris

One Semester Down

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.

Happy Holidays, See you next year!



November 26, 2018
by Tracy Norris

Happy Thanksgiving!

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!

Who knows where I will be traveling next!!


November 6, 2018
by Tracy Norris

November is here!

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,

undisturbed within the pines, oaks, and maples.



October 22, 2018
by Tracy Norris

Two Weeks In..

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!

Until next time, Tracy


October 8, 2018
by Tracy Norris

Ready, Set, Go!

Welcome to Centennial Brook! For the next few months I will be examining Centennial Brook as my Phenology Place. I chose this place in particular, due to the beautiful scenery. I visited this spot before and truly felt connected to the land. I am excited to see the change of the landscape every week, and search for smaller changes, not easily seen by the common eye. Listening to the Brook flow on today’s visit really allowed me to escape reality and stop everything else around me. This past weekend was busy and I had a lot of homework stressing me out. Sitting by the Brook slowed my mind down, created a bubble around me that could not be intruded upon, I was isolated from my troubles. This spot is located on the second bridge of Centennial Brook. Upon arriving, on the right is the Brook, forming a “V”. As I looked past the Brook, there is an open plain with tall grasses. The plain is surrounded by White Pines and some Sugar Maples. As I sat by the “V”, I looked down and noticed wild strawberry growing among the moist grasses, even wild grape entangled in a Boxelder a couple yards away.

Until next time Centennial Brook!



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