Thursday, September 18, 2014

Week 4: Hugging trees with iTree and a dinner at a yurt!

Greetings from LANDS World! This week was centered around tree inventory surveys in several Vermont communities. On Monday, Elise Schadler from the Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Program joined us to complete our iTree training. We went on a tree identification scavenger hunt around campus, and the winners received decomposition notebooks and gourmet chocolate.
We spent Monday working on our tree identification skills with Elise. 

Part of the Vergennes crew examines the city zoning map and discusses the tree inventory game plan. 

Tuesday marked the first day of our camping trip. We met at the Aiken Research Lab on Spear Street bright and early, split into our crews, and departed for our communities.  The LANDS crew was divided into three teams for the communities of Bristol, Middlebury, and Vergennes. We met with our project sponsors, who welcomed and oriented us before setting off on our work. After spending the day inventorying trees, we set up camp at Eagle Park on the New Haven River in Bristol. 

Our home base for camping was Eagle Park in Bristol. 
After enjoying a scrumptious riverside meal of rice and bean burritos, we bundled up with our layers and gathered around the fire. Peanut butter cookies from Olivia and cake from Grant were treats tonight in celebration of Nick's 21st birthday. Shortly thereafter, we retreated to our tents to be lulled asleep by the sounds of the river.

What a lovely view! 

Jules and Zoe enjoy dinner and conversation along the scenic New Haven River. 

After camp was set up, the group gathered around the fire.

Happy 21st Birthday, Nick! 

Several of us explored the New Haven River and came across the Toaster, a beautiful waterfall.

Wednesday morning came quickly! In the crisp morning air of early fall we broke down camp and ate a quick breakfast of oats. Lunch preparations simultaneously happened, composed of a ‘build your own wrap’ buffet line, LANDS style. This was the fullest day of inventory, but also the most beautiful with sunny skies, a light breeze, and the feeling of autumn upon us. We started around 8:30 A.M. and surveyed our respective towns until 4:30 P.M. 

Team Middlebury enjoyed this gorgeous view during their tree inventories. 
The Vergennes team discovered the true meaning of "tree hugging": taking DBH (diameter at breast height)!

After reconvening in Bristol, Elise’s coworker, Caitlin, and her husband, Matt, treated us to a wonderful chili dinner (complete with cornbread, salad, and brownies) at their sugarbush, Little Hogback Farm. We were treated to a tour of both their yurt and their state-of-the-art sugar shack, where Matt shared his sugaring process and his aspirations to make 300 gallons of syrup this season. After returning to Eagle Park and setting up our tents in the pitch black (#challengeaccepted) the crew quickly called it a night, exhausted from the long day and in preparation for yet another early morning.

Matt of Little Hogback Farm shows us his elaborate sugar shack.

Caitlin gave us a tour of their humble abode: a beautiful, cozy yurt.
We enjoyed a chili dinner graciously prepared by Caitlin and Matt.

Thursday morning, we broke camp for the final time, following the same routine as before: breakfast, packing, lunch preparations, and loading the vans. Each team spent their third day working hard to inventory trees and accomplish as much as possible. After a morning and afternoon of work, we packed up at our home bases and returned to Burlington to complete community roles.

This week, we learned about camp life, tree identification, and urban forestry. We spent the week working hard in the field in our teams, and continued to improve this team’s chemistry. We also familiarized ourselves with these beautiful Vermont communities, and enjoyed spending time amongst them. Next week, we’re looking forward to our NR 207 retreat with Zac and Kaylynn, and to compiling our tree inventory data into management plans. Cheers!

Brought to you with love by Brian and Bonnie! Over and out.

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