Friday, July 22, 2011

Weeks 6 & 7

Last week (week 6), we worked on a project with the US Forest Service mapping wetlands within the Green Mountain National Forest. It was full of bushwacking, wet boots, and plenty of herps! Overall, the wet boots were worth the chance to be in such unique ecosystems. We were lucky enough to have Jim Andrews, Vermont’s well-known herpetologist, come to educate us about what sort of creatures use the wetlands as habitat. Early in the week, finding a wetland was quite the task, involving weaving through the forest hoping to stumble upon saturated soils. As the week went on, it became much easier to find these spots. We learned to pay attention to the slope of the land, the proximity to water, and the way the plant communities change as you near a wetland.

This week (week 7) we finished our wetlands project and began a new project inventorying and assessing campsites in designated wilderness areas. Under the US Forest Service, we have been locating campsites and documenting their level of impact. So far, we have been mapping along the Appalachian/Long Trail near the Big Branch and Peru Peak Wilderness. This new project has been a pleasure, giving us the opportunity to be on trails and take in scenic views. No more bushwacking! We have also been stumbling upon some interesting items campers have left behind, including an entire tent! As the summer draws to an end, we are all looking forward to our final presentations when we will be presenting everything we have been working so hard to produce!

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