Friday, August 2, 2013

So Long and Thanks for All the Ticks

By Juliane Menezes and Sylvia Kinosian

Bianca, we'll miss you!
The time has come for the LANDS "CR00" to say goodbye - LANDS program 2013 is now 100% complete!  The 9th week was all about finishing general tasks, editing and wrapping up all the reports, organizing gear, and making Bianca shine!  The STP reports were getting finished up with maps, photos and final formatting. On Wednesday evening, we threw a barbecue parteeeyyy at Red Rocks Park.  Swimming, kayaking, playing volleyball and frisbee, and eating burgers/ veggie burgers was what we needed to continue the rest of our last busy week. 

We spent Thursday preparing for and giving our final presentation. We created a powerpoint did a practice run through of the presentation early in the afternoon to get ready for the final evening. We were a little nervous to present to an audience, but our practice payed off and we rocked it! Our audience really seemed to enjoy the show - and so did we! Reflecting on our hard work over the summer was very rewarding. We all have a lot to be proud of! 

Friday was all about finalizing our experience, giving thanks and saying goodbyes for a few of us. Jacob is going back to the famous Central Michigan University; Liz back to NY; Julie to Madison, Wisconson and Maria is going back to Brazil. Have a nice trip Maria! We hope that LANDS internship had closed your year in U.S with a “golden key.” Now, LANDS, you deserve some vacation! Enjoy the rest of the summer before classes start again. Ride your bikes, go swimming, get some rest, and HAVE FUN! 

"Pease" Out!

Gomo Town Forest Johnson, VT

Kristian Moore
Michael Storace
This week Michael Storace and Kristian Moore hit the road early for Johnson Vermont. Meeting our small team project (STP) sponsor, Lois Frey and the Johnson Conservation Commission at the Municipal building in the village of Johnson. After getting a quick rundown of Gomo Town Forest's natural and cultural history we followed Eric Nuse, the previous county game warden and walking encyclopedia, up the treacherous Codding Hollow Road and into Gomo Town Forest.
Gomo Town Forest is a 141 acre parcel of land located in the northwestern corner of Johnson, VT. It is bordered by the north and south by Vermont State land and borders the town of Waterville to the west.  Bisecting Gomo Town Forest is Codding Hollow Road, a class four road no longer maintained by the town or passable by street vehicles. ATV traffic is the only traffic that uses this road, and unfortunately has begun to radiate off the road and into surrounding fields and forest. 
There is another trail that winds it's way through the southern section of the property, and a logging path that follows the eastern border north to the border of VT state land and Gomo Town Forest. 
Our main objective for this project was to map all trails and their condition, map the location of cultural artifacts, and connect the Gomo property to the Long Trail, all while finding the best way to increase the number of visitors to this unique piece of land and the beautiful ridge line trail to Laraway Mountain (above photo).
Old Doodlebug truck, the last vehicle to regularly make the trip up Codding Hollow Road and to the Gomo Farm.  

Kristian and Mike enjoying the view from Laraway Lookout. 
We followed old logging roads and bushwhacked our way to the Long Trail from Gomo Town Forest. At the Laraway lookout two of Kristian's friends from high school appeared. They were on day 21 of their South - North through hike of the LT. After a nice unexpected visit we continued our hike to Codding Hollow Road and completed the 5 mile loop trail we proposed to the Johnson Conservation Commission.  


LaPlatte River Marsh: Invasives Nightmare!

By Juliane Menezes and Sylvia Kinosian

Our favorite natural area

Julie and Sylvia went to Shelburne Bay, only a few minutes south of Burlington, to start working in the LaPlatte River Marsh Natural Area. Mollie Klepack, who works with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), showed us around the area and told us about a few projects that have previously been done in the area to remove the invasives. In a few weeks, a large scale invasvies removal effort will begin, implemented by Restart Forestry. This private consulting company has been hired by TNC and funded by a special grant to do some much needed removal of the invasive infestation. Our project was unique among the other STPs in that TNC asked to create our own monitoring protocol for invasive species monitoring. We decided to use a random plot sampling method to estimate the percent cover of the invasives present; the centers of each one of our 20 plots were marked with GPS waypoints as well as rebar stakes so finding them again will be very easy to find during future monitoring efforts.

Simplicity and ease of use was one of our top priories when creating our monitoring protocol because it will be used by TNC interns and volunteers to collect data after the removal effort; future data will be compared to the baseline data that we collected and used to measure the effectiveness of the chemical and mechanical procedures used on the invasives.
A most beautiful of maps. Oh ArcGIS, how we will miss you.
Over the 8 weeks working with LANDS, we have never seen a place dominated by invasive species like this section of the LaPlatte! We spent most of our time in the field bushwhacking a dense population of honeysuckles and dogwoods. We were basically swimming in a sea of honeysuckle! Hopefully the removal effort be a a success and someday soon the LaPlatte Rive Marsh will be a lovely, invasive free natural area for all to enjoy.

Honeysuckle ocean
In addition to our field work, we had the company of Joshua Brown: writer, photographer, and professor at UVM. He decided to include us, LANDS, in his article for the UVM website. Now we can say that we are Forestry superstars! 
"Hmm, indeed, this Lonicera sp. had got to go" - Sylvia and Julie, Stars of Forestry
Photo Credit: Joshua Brown