Friday, July 12, 2013

Week Six: July 8-12

By: Rachel Markey

Monday morning we all had an unexpected start to what we thought would be just another office day. Emily held back her plans from us and piled us into the van as it started to rain. You could say that we were all a little bit confused as to why we were going “out into the field” when not one of us was rain gear prepared. Once we pulled into the parking lot of Oakledge, it was safe to say a few of us could figure out where we were being taken that was sheltered and out of the rain.
Once we all took a seat inside the Oakledge TreeHouse, Emily read us a short story by Barbara Kingsolver. After reading, we all set down to complete a reflection on our time here at LANDS. By this time, we had just completed our 5th week, over halfway through the summer.

Back on campus, we began editing and revising the final versions of all 5 of our written reports. It took all day, and some of Tuesday to finish the revisions. After finishing, we had completed full reports for the East Woods Natural Area, the Pomainville Natural Area, the Roche property, and Concord Woods Natural Area. Now to start the next project....

Tuesday afternoon we headed out to Bolton to meet up with Kathryn Wrigley so she could introduce us to our new project. We would begin our work on the Smith parcel, a piece of land in Bolton which was purchased by the Green Mountain Club. The GMC then transferred the ownership to the State of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources so they could hold it in perpetuity for conservation. Currently, a section of the Long Trail is being rerouted through the property.

Our job was to complete natural community inventory and mapping for the property. This would help the GMC and VT ANR determine characteristics of the land. We set out into the field Tuesday afternoon, and despite having only about an hour and a half to check it out, managed to define two natural communities and get a pretty good sense of what we were dealing with.
Sam & Martine checking out soil, topography, and surficial and bedrock geology maps

And thanks to Mike, the WeatherWizard, we were able to stay dry and out of the rain during our field work.

When Wednesday rolled around we were all reading with all of gear to head out to Bolton for an entire field day. Three groups set out within the 177 acre property to assess and attempt to mark the transitions between the natural communities of the parcel. Throughout our time exploring the property, we found many cool features of the land. Such as...

Thursday we spent the whole day  in the office writing up our report for the Smith property. We compared our notes, once again, to Wetland, Woodland, Wildland and attempted to piece out the natural communities we encountered within the property.

Friday morning we all arrived ready for some weeding at the Forest Service again. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day and none of us really minded being out in the sun. It only took us about an hour and a half to complete the weeding! We attempted to start digging out an old experimental plot tank, but it was filled with rainwater and mud, so we headed back towards campus.
Back on campus, we met up with Elise Schadler, who works for RSENR and VT ANR. She wanted to find out how much we all knew about urban forestry and street trees. Split into groups of two, we set out in downtown Burlington to see how many street trees we could find, sample, and identify. Together, we came up with over 50 species of trees, and were rewarded with Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, and a crew frisbee.

After that some of us headed back to the computer lab to edit and revise the final draft of our Smith Property report. The rest of us got started on our weekly chores, and well, that’s where we're at now....

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