Friday, June 3, 2011

LANDS 2011 Blog: Week 1

Welcome to the LANDS 2011 blog! We have a great crew this year; we are composed of 9 students, many from Vermont but one hailing from South Carolina and one international student coming from Kenya.

We are all excited for what lies ahead.

Wednesday, June 1st 2011

We had our first day of the LANDS program on Wednesday. Most of the day was spent doing orientation activities (figuring out our pacing), playing ice breaker games, and getting to know the natural areas of Burlington. We took a walk to Centennial Woods where we had an introduction to GPS, a lesson in navigation, and began to identify some non-native invasive plant species. We all participated in a challenge that put these skills to the test. We started at a specific location in the forest then had to navigate through Centennial Woods back to our starting point using a compass, our GPS unit and our logic. It was a fun and exciting premiere of a great summer to come.

Thursday, June 2nd 2011
Thursday was a very exciting day for everyone as we trucked out to Jeffersonville to visit John Hayden at The Farm Between. The LANDS program is interested in incorporating sustainable agriculture into the cons-

ervation curriculum, as managing our working landscape will be just as important as conserving our wild spaces in the future. Hopefully, sustainable agriculture will become a permanent part of the LANDS program for years to come.

We spent the morning getting to know John and his mission then went on a thorough tour of his sustainable agriculture operation. He spoke to us about his philosophy and we were able to ask

him questions about his farming practices. He runs an inspiring farm built on the idea that small is beautiful, the notion that diversity is critical, and a passion for the natural world and the living organism that is a farm. John and his wife Nancy have been working their farm for 20 years, working towards local food sustainability in and around his community. He has created many innovative and cutting edge practices that help him to fertilize soil without synthetic chemicals and maintain his farm as a cyclical community in which the animals benefit the soil, which benefits the food, which benefits the people. His farm is an outstanding example of what human creativity and innovation can achieve, and how much food we can produce in a small area with minimal technology.

After a great introduction to his farming plots--and many animal friends--, we sat down for lunch before getting to work. After lunch we helped weed the greenhouses and vegetable plots, stabilize tomato plants, put down cardboard mulch, and crimped cover crop on next year’s vegetable plots. It was an informative, fun and engaging day at the farm.

Friday, June 3rd 2011

This was the most labor intensive day during our first few days here at LANDS. We spent our day at the Forest Service property in Burlington. Our work encompassed a wide variety of tasks: hand weeding, tearing down fences, pruning, and basically sprucing up the property. We were also joined by Prof. Dean Wang who was there to lend a helping hand and instruction of protocol. By 11am I could tell from the faces of most of us that hunger and thirst were creeping in and much needed. Leah, one of our LANDS le-

aders, signaled a break with a high pitched whistle and we did not hesitate to heed her call. We spent our lunch time eating out in the sun and getting to know one another. Work progressed onward after lunch until about 3pm. We headed back to the GreenHouse (our summer headquarters) where weekly jobs were assigned.

We head into the weekend with a 10-minute presentation that each of us has to prepare. The presentation will be focused on informing the rest of the group on non-native invasive species. Till next week; keep it locked!!

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