Centinneal Water Spot

A UVM blog for NR1

November 12, 2019
by bcook


1:40 pm, 20 degrees Fahrenheit

Today, the centennial woods was all full of snow! The brook spot seems to be doing well though; much of the vegetation described in the last post is still existent. The low growing plants are still getting more and more brown, as they have been over the seasons. At this point there’s next to no green left, the only green left is on the plant identified before as Allegheny Blackberry. All the grass I talked about earlier is now under a couple inches of snow, so it will probably die pretty quickly.

View of the brook
View opposite the brook

Two side notes regarding vegetation: first, the plant I identified as Chinese Crab Apple probably isn’t that. Having taken a more in-depth look at the book Naturally Curious, I found the red-cherried plant is probably Highbush Cranberry. Second, I had not accounted the moss or lichen growing on the trees on the sugar maples in the area.

Sugar maple with moss and lichen growing on it. (Looks like there is a fungal growth too?)

Regarding organisms other than plant life, the fish were no longer in sight. I had, in past posts, failed to account for what could be thriving at my spot besides fish. Many insects start their larval stages in bodies of water, so I should have been more aware of that in my previous visits. Naturally Curious touches on a dragonfly called the Common Green Darner, which I may have expected to see earlier in the year because dragonflies lay their eggs in bodies of water. It would also explain the presence of fish, if there was an insect trying to use the brook to lay eggs.

The brook is important to centennial, because it provides a water source for plants to grow, and provides a habitat for a more diverse community within the woods. We’ve seen this with the presence of grass which likes high amounts of water, and fish, and the possible breeding grounds for certain insects. A more diverse living community is usually good for an all around balance of the area.

The plants, insects, and fish which live in the spot now have adapted over time to thrive as best they can given Vermont’s conditions. For example, Highbush Cranberry keeps it’s berries through the winter so that birds can get to them when they come back for the warmer seasons, and for an emergency food resource during winter (Holland). When the warmer season comes back, these same plants and other organisms will probably be there.

Today’s notes
Notes for 11/1 submission
Notes for 10/24 submission

November 5, 2019
by bcook


12:00 pm, 53 degrees Fahrenheit

As discussed before, it is important to know the spot I chose is divvied by a wooden dock trail. What I mean is, the trail people take to get through my spot is made of wooden planks. When one enters my spot from Catamount Drive, they will see that the brook flows by on the right, while the left is taken up by low growing plants and some trees scattered throughout. A rough sketch of the place can be found here:

Part 1: Vegetation

On the left

One major change recently in terms of vegetation is that all but one of the Sugar Maples on this side have lost all their leaves, which are shriveling slowly on the ground. Most of the trees which take up this area are sugar maples (Acer saccharum). I could tell the one tree with leaves left was close to losing them. Another tree in the area is called Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus), which also still had some leaves left.

Sugar Maple

There’s a chest-high plant with fuzz on top which takes up most of the spot, called Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), is taking it’s time to change color. Like last time, a lot of the plants of this type are still green. Yet quite a few of them are changing to yellow, or completely shriveled and dead. There’s more of a spectrum from green to dead than there was last time, but a surprising amount is still green.

Canada goldenrod

Another low growing plant which is also taking it’s time changing color is a plant with wide leaves in clusters, called Allegheny blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis). The Canada goldenrod seems to be out-competing it; there’s only a few growths.

Allegheny Blackberry

On the right

From upstream to downstream as you come into my spot, you come across a tree with red berries, which may be Chinese crab apple (Malus spectabilis). Past it is another sugar maple, and then a couple more Canada goldenrods. Across the brook is a triangular peninsula, which the brook goes around. On top of the peninsula is another sugar maple, and some grass called Orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata), which appears mostly yellowed and almost dead.

Chinese Crab apple
Orchard grass


Part 2: Other notes

In the brook are little brook minnows (C. inconstans). They tend to hang out in corners of the brook where flow is minimal.

Brook minnow

Most of the miscellaneous notes I took addressed the right side, closer to the brook. Between the sugar maple and the fuzzy plants, there’s a gap with human footprints and shiny liquid, which could be gasoline. This is a disturbing observation I have made since first coming to the spot. As far as other observations about the soil, it looks exactly the same; smooth throughout except where the brook flows, which is mostly small stones. The topography hasn’t changed despite the rain.

October 24, 2019
by bcook

Intro! Thursday 10/24

A quick intro

To get to my spot, you first have to go to the bike rack on Catamount Drive, which marks the entrance to Centennial woods. About 50 feet into the woods, you’ll come to the first clearing. From that clearing, take a left. It will lead you onto a wooden bridge , and down a hill which goes to yet another clearing. From that clearing, look for more wooden planks, which should be directly in front of you. Walk that wooden path until you come to a flowing stream of water. You’ll know you’re in the right place when the river starts bending away from you as you face it, standing on the wood path.

This area is defined by the curve of the river, as described above. The last few times I went, the river had a quiet, soothing rippling sound to it, which was louder when the rain had fallen recently. If I close my eyes and focus on the sound of the flow, every other thought in my head fades away, and I feel free. The low-growing plants there also provide a very scenic view. Beyond the river bend are wires, which travel high over a cleared trail. On that clearing, there are no trees, but there are many low growing plants, just like the ones near the river.

To see the trail, look here:

Notes 10/3, 2:00 pm

Leaves have started falling in trees surrounding the area, but there is little color change for the plants by the river. There’s an orange flag at the turn of the river, which isn’t flowing too much. It’s about 40 degrees fahrenheit.

Notes 10/13, 4:00 pm

It’s about 54 degrees fahrenheit. Many more leaves have fallen from the trees than last time, and for my spot, there’s a lot more color on the plants which have bigger leaves. There’s more of a flow; it’s rained recently.

Notes 10/23, 5:30 pm

It’s about 54 degrees fahrenheit. Almost all the leaaves from surrounding trees are gone, but the plants surrounding the river remain slightly colored but not majorly changed. Again, the river has a nice flow to it. The orange flag is gone.

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