History Behind Centennial Woods

As we see today, Centennial woods is used for numerous things whether its hiking, studying, and can be utilized as a classroom sometimes. It is a wonderful forest on campus that has a wide array of plants and animals. However, it was not always used for the same purposes by humans as time moved forward. The sandy soil takes us back about 10,000 years ago to when this area was a sandy shoreline of Champlain Sea. The delta the deposited this sand then became the Winooski river where the Abenaki tribe would inhabit. Pre-european settlement, it can be assumed that this tribe lived somewhere in or near the Centennial woods area and used this land to hunt and gather. Next, evidence shows that this land was bought and owned by┬áC. Baxter Est., and H. Stevens, Hickok Est. These men most likely teared down the forest to use the land for agriculture, like most Vermont forests during this time. This can be explained by some barbed wire and stone walls found on the premises. The different tree growths also support this theory due to their age. Although we may think that this area is old, it is not considered an old growth forest at all. Compared to how long trees live without being cut down or getting a disease, the trees that are in Centennial woods are very young. The forest started to grow back int the late 1860s after farms were no longer being used and maintained. This area was then officially designated a UVM natural area in 1974 and has been much more respected every since! Every being on this earth goes through a journey during its existence. This is the story of Centennial woods’ journey. I am glad it is at a healthy place now in its adventure and I hope people continue to guide it into an amazing future.

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