Friday, June 20, 2014

Inventorying Shelburne's Trees

This past week the LANDS crew has been busy finishing up some last bits of work on Pease and completing a new project, inventorying the trees of Shelburne.

The week began similar to how the previous one ended with the crew spread out across Pease Mountain. One last time we made an attempt to mark the boundaries, this time only with flagging. Groups were able to find the corners with relative ease but we still encountered difficulties finding old blazes whilst attempting to follow the bearings on the maps we had available. After a long day bushwacking along the boundaries, we stopped at a local shop in Charlotte for smoothies and creemees.

        Creemees and Smoothies in Charlotte

                               Goodbye Pease

For the remainder of the week we worked with Elise Schadler and her intern Leslie Hendricks completing an inventory of the public trees in the town of Shelburne. We split into four teams (Maple, Oak, Ash and Beech) based on the names of the iPads we  used to collect data. After one day we had a fairly significant chunk of the town inventoried but, in an attempt to push to get as much done as possible, we made use of some of our smartphones along with the collector app to have more ways to collect data than just the iPads. With this infusion of technology to our already strong array we were able to complete almost the entire village including Shelburne beach! We found a variety of tree species and sizes within the ROW or right of way of the villages roadways including Maples, Ash, Oaks, Elms, Spruce and various others which ranged in size from over 42" diameter of the oldest Silver Maples found to less than three inches for many of the newly planted saplings. Overall it was a wonderful project with wonderful weather that accompanied us throughout and as we finish writing the report today we are excited looking forward to our presentation to the select board of Shelburne next month and of course the next projects that awaits us!

See you next week,
The LANDS Crew                                                                       Written By: Travis Hart

Tree ID Before Shelburne Inventory

Friday, June 13, 2014

Some more lovely week two photos

Brainstorming in the room with a view!

Mapping in the 'backcountry'
Add caption

Goal Setting 101
The Dustin 'look up' is getting pretty viral across Burlington

Counting Trees on Pease

getting into the swing of re-blazing
By Katherine Brainard

     What an exciting and productive second week of LANDS it has been. With our first week of training under our belts, I think it's safe to say we were ready to be out in the field. At Pease Mountain in Charlotte, Vermont, we conducted inventories of the natural communities that compose UVM's Natural Area on the mountain. We also started re-blazing and putting up signage alongside the property boundaries, a task that had not been completed for decades. Both groups had some issues with identifying the previous blazes, for which the 1998 ice storm could be to blame as many mature trees in parts of the area were felled as a result of the extreme weather event.

Mount Philo View from Pease
      It was fun to divide up the tasks as well as gain experience navigating using both GPS units and compasses. As we were bushwhacking off-trail for the majority of the tasks, it was critical that we understood our bearings and could find our location on the map at any point. The weather was not the most pleasant, with a chilly rain descending upon us for much of the week, but spirits were high nonetheless. Arriving back on campus soaking wet and smiling, we felt as hardcore as we looked.

     Today, Friday the 13th, the group is in the computer lab taking a reprieve from the elements and working on individual and collaborative tasks such as report writing, loading GPS waypoints, cleaning the van and organizing gear, writing thank you notes to our partners, and blogging about our experience. Looking forward to beautiful weather over the weekend, the interns are planning to get together to support our resident musician, Lincoln, and his band Squimley and the Woolens, check out the Burlington Farmer's Market, and hopefully do some exploring around the area.

Summit View
Until next week,
The LANDS Crew

embracing Vermont's unpredictable weather

Charlotte's Web

Finally out of the rain

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The One Where It Began

This, the official week before the World Cup starts also importantly marks our coming together as the LANDSPEOPLE.

                  We are:

 Lincoln, a spiffy bearded drummer from upstate New York!

Courtney, a lover of soils enjoying her first time in these Northern Parts from North Carolina

Nate, a former dj on a Scottish radio station from Alabama

Dustin, a bear wrestling (LNT) carpentry expert from Vermont

Ben, a barefoot walking existential biologist from Alaska

Katherine, a competitive scrabble player and intrepid leader of UVM's outing club from Pennsylvania

Jessa, a professional porch horticulturalist from Connecticut

Travis, a pick up truck driving bat enthusiast from Vermont

Gabo, a deep thinking GIS master from Peru

We are led by a wonderful team consisting of:

Emily, a wilderness metal detector, basically the Magneto of environmental consultancy

Laura, a hexacontinental discus performance artist, she is known in some circles as the Axl Rose of floral ID

and of course, the laudable master of these lands, Deane Wang

It begins, not with a whimper, but a bang.

It was daybreak. We all strode or rode over to the University of Vermont's Aiken Center for our first week of training, brimming with expectation and excitement at the chance to meet new people and discover new environments. Little did we know what would befall us. Creeping around the staircases of the building we slowly found eachother all in stages of confusion and terror as our meeting location had changed to a new room in the basement. As we sat down, a projector was lit. To our horror three figures moved out from behind the desk resting oddly on the far side of the room. They were Deane, Laura and Emily. As they appeared they began to speak, first one, and then another. We sat quivering in our seats listening to our doom being discussed aloud. After the gruesome introduction to what we believed to be the lands program, we were ordered to move outside. The bright light shrunk our pupils. The air felt grating, like sand drying inside of a runner's shorts at a beach 5k. 
          Laura spoke first. "Lets play a game..."

And we did. All kinds of fun team building games! Throughout the week we continued to 'teambuild' as well as learn more about our roles as LANDSPEOPLE. We got to hang out on the green roof of the Aiken Center, lunch together on a sunny lawn and practice our new found skills in Centennial Woods, along the Champlain thrust fault at Lone Rock, and near Camel's Hump on the Long Trail with some really gnarly specialists. These included Liz Thompson who (literally) wrote the book on Natural Communities in Vermont, Bill Gill, Master of UVM's map room, and Steve Libby from the Vermont River Conservancy! We also camped together at the Jericho Research Forest where we made pizzas (of all flavors!) together during a thunderstorm that turned off our power for a few hours. 

We are all well excited for the upcoming weeks together as surveyors, stewards, and consultants. 

Mon the Summer!


      Nate and #LANDS2014