Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Welcome to the LANDS 2012 Blog!

By Darren Schibler
June 8, 2012

            Meet the 2012 LANDS crew!  We’ll be posting our adventures on this blog throughout the summer, so check back weekly to get the scoop on the coolest conservation kids in the state!

From left to right: Andrew McDonagh, Leah Mital-Skiff, Stephanie Falzone, Kristie Warack, Ally Miller, Kelsey Peterson, Teresa DiTore, Darren Schibler, Sam Gersie, Emily Brodsky
            Our first week really flew by, even as our last member, Dylan Marcus, flew in from a semester studying abroad in Australia.  Unfortunately, he missed some general orientation sessions, as well as a seminar about land trusts and conservation easements on Tuesday with Steve Libby, co-director of the Vermont River Conservancy and a staff member of the GreenHouse Residential Learning Community, which will serve as our headquarters for the summer.

However, Dylan was able to join us on Wednesday for a walk at Gleason Brook in Camel’s Hump State Park with Liz Thompson, co-author of Wetland, Woodland, Wildland, the go-to guide on natural communities in Vermont.  Liz introduced us to some aspects of Vermont’s hardwood forest communities, including its geologic history, soil characteristics, and a few common plant species.

Doesn't Andrew look lovely with that Canada Violet? 
Before Liz and Dylan showed up, we had a bit of training navigating around the Gleason Brook area setting without GPS units, which we had also practiced using earlier in the week.  All of that came in handy on Thursday when we teamed up with Donia Prince and Molly Klepack (2011 LANDS crewmember!) from The Nature Conservancy to inventory invasive species like buckthorn and honeysuckle in the LaPlatte River Nature Preserve using iMap software, TNC’s user-friendly mapping program.

We wrapped up the week by returning to the U.S. Forest Service station on Spear St. to finish the landscape improvements we started on Tuesday, which involved clearing the experimental field and preparing the closed-system tubs for Prof. Deane Wang’s new research on the impacts of increased soil temperature due to global warming on plant growth.  It was some good, hard, dirty work, and we discovered Sam’s secret fetish for lawnmowing!

That’s all for now--we’ll be camping out in the Rochester, VT area later this week, so stay tuned for news on that adventure! 

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