Final Entry

•May 2, 2017 • Leave a Comment

As this is my final entry, I’m going to write about East Woods as a site as a whole, including natural and cultural components. Then I’ll compare East Woods and Redstone Quarry in terms of their value to Burlington and how a connection formed to each one independently.

First off, a little bit about the phenological changes at my site. Flowers have finally bloomed! There are fields of trout lilies and many trees, such as the hobblebush, have sprouted as well. The stream was running strong, likely due to the recent rains. I sadly did not spot any birds, but I could hear chickadees among other songbirds in the canopy. I searched for some salamanders and frogs and I caught brief glimpses of frightened frogs leaping into the water next to where I walked. Insect activity was starting to go into full gear with busy ants moving up and down rotting logs, and wood lice underneath. Few trees had fully leafed out, and there were a few, such as beech, that had yet for their buds to open. It was excellent to see the green returning to the forest after a cold winter.

Now a bit of a summary and a analysis of East Woods. East Woods, which lies just off of Swift St right behind Klinger’s bakery, is a valuable ecosystem, specifically for the riparian forest benefits it provides to the Potash Brook watershed. There is a very clear difference between the brook in the forest, and the brook where it runs through the suburbs. In the forest, the brook runs shallow and clear, with strong banks and a diverse macro-invertebrate and amphibian community. I have yet to spot any animal life in the developed area of Potash Brook. It runs narrow and with steep banks in this area as well. Why is this? The green ash, birches, and pines of East Woods keep the brook clear of pollutants and sediment runoff, as well as maintaining a strong bank that suffers very little erosion. The pine-birch upland forest and green ash swamp also provide habitat for a wide range of birds and mammals. I have seen countless birds (a little too far away to identify accurately) and many tracks from fishers, squirrels, and rabbits. Overall, East Woods provides a valuable ecosystem for the Burlington natural community. In terms of cultural importance, I have seen countless people hiking, walking their dogs, and taking pictures. East Woods is an outdoor recreation area with several trails and this is super beneficial for the community to have. Outdoor recreation improves community mental health and creates a deeper connection with the natural world. East Woods not only is a critical habitat and provides ecosystem services, but is also an important site for the community, providing further access to a beautiful forest to hike.

I was fortunate enough to feel a strong connection to each of my sites, albeit in different ways. At Redstone Quarry, I had a sweeping panorama over the entire lake and the mountains behind. I didn’t necessarily feel too in touch with the Quarry itself because you couldn’t find a spot where there was no development in sight. I would say that I felt part of Redstone Quarry because I was able to find a spot that blends into the landscape at first glance but is really quite special to observe from. I found it a nearby and excellent place to visit and de-stress for some time. In East Woods, I felt a different type of connection. I felt more immersed in nature when I reached my spot as there way no human development in sight or sound. I was able to truly feel a part of an untouched landscape in a way that I simply could not at the Quarry. I would spend my afternoon sitting against a tree precariously perched on a clifftop listening to the birds and the sound of the brook rushing by. Both spaces are amazing for a sit spot and I am confident that I will be returning to them following the conclusion of the project.

Here are some of the pictures that I took on my last visit.


Spring Awakening

•April 15, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Not a ton of changes at the site so far, only a lack of snow shows that winter is no longer here. Since most of the trees are Eastern White Pines, there is little change from season to season amongst the foliage. However, the American Beech trees are beginning to sprout from their long, pointy, red buds. I’m sure that in a week, all the deciduous trees will be well on their way to a Springtime bloom. I overturned several logs down near the brook but didn’t catch a glimpse of an amphibian quite yet. I will be returning within the week to check again and post any updates. I sketched a picture of a yellow spotted salamander in the hope that I will be able to see them soon.

Interior forest habitat is protected inner woods with a large area of edge habitat around it. Edge habitat is the 100 or so yard zone from the very edge of a forest with a different habitat, such as a field. This change can be abrupt, with old growth forest directly next to field, which is indicative of development, or gradually, with the forest getting thicker as you go in deeper. East Woods is the former, with tall pines directly bordering the well-known asphalt habitat. I have not seen any species that are exclusively interior habitat-dwellers; however, that does not preclude them from being there. I have found evidence of many woodland species that I am sure take advantage of the shelter from predators found in interior habitat, such as squirrels, rabbits, fishers, and mice.

Moose Hill, Massachusetts

•March 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Just a quick drive from my home, Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is a part of the Mass Audubon Society. Set aside specifically for birds originally, Moose Hill is open for visitors with 20 miles of trail and a clifftop overlook. Established in 1916, it is the oldest property of the Mass Audubon Society. Unfortunately, there was not heavy bird activity this early in the season and aside from a few crow calls, I did not have any memorable bird encounters. In terms of ecosystems, Moose Hill is mostly deciduous oak forest, some cedar bluffs, and even a maple swamp. Several fields lay scattered among the woodland with houses for protected field birds. Filled with colorful flowers and swaying tall grass in the Spring and Summer, they lied quiet and still with a thin layer of snow atop. The deciduous trees have not yet begun to bud, whilst evergreens continue to be the dominant trees of the season.

The following pictures are from the Mass Audubon website, due to a lack of camera access over Spring Break.

Natural Communities in East Woods

•March 10, 2017 • Leave a Comment

East Woods has had a few changes since the last visit. The most prevalent is that Potash Brook has thawed out almost completely, and is flowing through the terrain. The second is that some tree twigs appear to be budding. Hopefully leaves and flowers will start to sprout soon.

When analyzed on Biofinder, East Woods appears to either have little research on its ecology, or there are simply no significant ecological locations. No rare or uncommon species or communities can be found in East Woods. Nearby; however, in Red Rocks park, there are some vernal pools. I walked over to investigate but the areas where they would form seem to still be filled with ice and snow.

The natural community of East Woods appears to be White Pine-Red Oak forest in early stages of succession. There is not a large presence of large Red Oaks yet however some saplings can be found among the Eastern White Pines.

Deciduous Twigs in East Woods

•February 6, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I noticed two main kinds of small deciduous trees in East Woods. The first, which was everywhere and easily identifiable from the twigs and remaining leaves was beech trees. The other I have not been able to identify despite the identification guide. The closest one on the guide is horse chestnut, but it doesn’t seem to match that closely. Next time I return to my site I will collect more data from those trees to see if I can narrow it down.

The beech was easy to ID from the divergent twigs with oblong pointed buds.

The other tree I simply have no idea what it is at this time.

Unfortunately my drawing skills are pretty sad. Here is my best attempt at drawing the beech twig with labelled parts.

Tracking in East Woods

•February 6, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Some exciting wildlife tracks in East Woods! In addition to many many maaaaaannny dog tracks, there were several squirrel trails and… potential fisher tracks! I’ll describe below each track, how I was able to determine the animal, and what it did.

Dog: I guess East Woods is a popular dog trail because there are tons of tracks right next to the trail. The obvious give away for the dog tracks is the 4 toes with claws. How I knew it wasn’t a fox or coyote was that it was always next to the human trail and when it went off trail, its path was erratic without order.

Squirrel: There were a handful of medium galloper tracks scattered near the trail. The prints were too small to be a rabbit but too large to be a mouse or vole. Another giveaway that they were squirrel was the movement pattern. The tracks would lead to a tree and disappear or would appear from a tree. Squirrels are the only gallopers that climb trees. The squirrel tracks were mostly just moving from tree to tree.

Fisher: I was really excited when I identified this track because fishers aren’t terribly common from my experience. I have only ever seen one once in the wild. I recognized the tracks as bounder tracks from the distinct grouping of tracks. I first noticed these tracks as different because they were on top of a log, which I knew dogs don’t really do. The size of the tracks on the log indicate the only bounder it could be was a fisher. The tracks went across two logs and back across one and then I lost the trail.

East Woods Embedded Map and Directions

•February 6, 2017 • Leave a Comment

My new phenology site is situated on small cliff overlooking Potash Brook deep in East Woods. To get there, you take about an hour walk south of campus, past Rice Memorial High School and the state correctional facility. The actual trailhead is behind Klinger’s Bakery and leads down to the brookside. The path winds along the brook before turning uphill and looping around the hill summit. My site is 20 meters off the trail where I get a beautiful panorama of Potash Brook from above.

Change in Site

•February 6, 2017 • Leave a Comment

My phenology site has been relocated to East Woods Natural Area. Please find posts and updates in the category labelled East Woods Phenology Site.

Final Slideshow

•December 10, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Today, I visited my site for the last time this semester. I was able to enjoyed some nice ice formations along the cliff face. I created a slideshow video (with music) to display the natural beauty of Redstone Quarry. Please enjoy.


L’Histoire de Redstone Quarry

•December 10, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Redstone was a commonly used and popular building material in 19th century Burlington due to its elegant appearance and robust construction. Another benefit was that there just happened to be a small redstone quarry, Redstone Quarry, in Burly. The University of Vermont history department states about the Quarry, “The Redstone Quarry is located in a suburban neighborhood in the city of Burlington. Today the quarry site is located in a 3-acre natural area owned by the University of Vermont. “Monkton Quartzite or ‘redstone’…was quarried there for over 100 years and used as building material and crushed gravel. Many of the older buildings found on the University of Vermont Campus and in downtown Burlington were constructed with large blocks of this reddish brown stone.” ( The Quarry was bought in 1958 by the University for use in geology classes.

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