Archive for December, 2016

My last visit took me back to a slightly snow covered area. It had become the crisp cool habitat that settles into woods this time of year, before real snow hits and after the last leaves of Autumn have fallen. Being here really let me step back and reflect on the semester, taking a break from worrying about finals. The phenology site was supposed to let use connect with the land and feel a sense of place. To be honest I really didn’t know what that meant, however being in the this place in the woods for the past few months did give me something. Going to college was going to a whole new place, in a new city, where I knew no one and nothing. Settling in takes time and going to the site for the last time I realized that I did know it. I knew how to get there, how many people would be on the trials, what animals might be around and the different trees in the area. Unfortunately I forgot how the cold effects cellphone battery, so there are no photos. Enjoy the interpretative drawing I have made below.


Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Centennial Woods is made up of 70 acres of diverse habitat, this includes mixed hardwoods, conifer stands along with streams, fields and wetland area. Located within Burlington it is right next to the UVM campus, being on of the most visited of UVM natural areas. Used for academic study, students in Environmental Studies, Botany, Zoology, Forestry, Recreation Management, and Education use this areas vast array of trails to look at the natural ecosystem and landscape features found here.

Looking into the history of Centennial Woods shows a complex history of different uses, through the time periods. Going back about 10,000 years the sandy soil that is found throughout the area can be traced back to the Champlain Sea. It was deposited from the delta of what would become the Winooski River. As the Abenaki were living by and along the Winooski River it can be assumed that they were in Centennial Woods pre-European settlement. The land was then  owned by C. Baxter Est., H. Stevens, Hickok Est. who most likely used the land for agricultural purposes. This would explain the barbed wire and stonewalls as well as similar aged trees. Although now the forest is one of the oldest in the area it still isn’t a old growth forest. The oldest parts of the forest, mostly the oldest pines, most likely started growing around the 1860’s after farms started to be abandoned. The land was officially designated a UVM Natural Area in April 1974.


From the Natural Areas, University of Vermont a resolution of the Board of Trustees Marks the areas that became natural areas in 1974

Map of Centennial Woods from

Map of Centennial Woods from

An understanding of the natural world and what’s in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment.

-David Attenborough



Natural Areas, University of Vermont: a resolution of the Board of Trustees [PDF].University of Vermont Natural Areas. University of Vermont Environmental Program,

The Changing Landscapes of Centennial Woods Natural Area: A Field Guide [PDF]. University of Vermont Natural Areas. University of Vermont Environmental Program,

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