I visited my spot in Centennial Woods today for one last time before I went back home to the backwoods of New Jersey, and witnessed several interesting phenological moments. Along the Centennial Brook, impressive amounts of raccoon tracks could be found along the muddy banks, as the animal likely moved up and down the river in search of aquatic prey such as fish, amphibians or invertebrates. Continuing walking into the meadow, I witnessed a chickadee collect feathers, likely to build a nest. Overall, the meadow has gotten remarkably green in the past two weeks, and life has finally staked a claim in Centennial ahead of a long summer. Additionally, recent rains have turned the meadow area into a muddy mess, something that hadn’t even happened in the fall, likely a product of the April Showers.
At my spot, nature and culture strike harmony, working with each other in a productive and supportive manner. College students are able to enter my spot and learn about the processes of nature in a interactive manner, allowing them to grow an appreciation for the outdoors. At the same time, humans have conserved the area, keeping Centennial Woods as natural as possible, hence its designation as a natural area. In order for the Rubenstein school to be its best in environmental education, natural areas such as Centennial are integral in helping students get the hands-on education they desire.
In the scope of belonging, I do not believe myself to be apart of the environment of Centennial. All I do is walk into the area for roughly an hour or two on an infrequent basis, only stopping to take pictures and document seasonal changes. I do not eat here, I do not sleep here, I do not look for mates here, so I certainly don’t live here. I may be a small part of the landscape, but my impact here is so small that I wouldn’t consider me a part of the landscape in the grand scheme of things. Back home in Ringwood, NJ, I can go into the woods and actually take part in the environment; hunting, fishing and gathering resources are some of my favorite things to do in my home woods. In my mind, I am a part of that landscape, as I have an impact, and am in some ways tied into the food chain. This interaction is impossible in Centennial, so I cannot consider myself a part of the area.
Note: All my pictures mysteriously transform into the one above, so I can only provide this one. Not much has changed to the naked eye at my spot since the last phenology blog post, so consult those pictures if curious. Just think those pictures, just 25% greener!