This week was all about exploring the Calkins property in South Burlington and getting a feel for what kind of information we wanted to provide the town. On Monday we started out bright and early birding on the Calkins property with Noah Perlut, an associate professor at the University of New England. Having Noah listening and watching birds with us was a huge help in gaining some birding skills and assessing the wildlife on the property.
That afternoon we had Bradley Materick, Land Stewardship Specialist from the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC), walk the trails at Calkins with us. Bradley gave us all some great recommendations on managing the trails at Calkins and making them more accessible to its users.
As an added bonus to the day, we discovered a small Milk Snake on the trail who was very cooperative while we took turns holding him. The rest of the day we split into small teams put together to asses different components of the property including trails, wildlife, wetlands and rare and invasive plants.
Tuesday morning was for the plants. We met at Calkins with Bob Zaino, assistant ecologist with the Natural Heritage program. Bob enlightened us to some new herbaceous species on the forest floor and took us through some flower and sedge identification. We also looked at some of the natural communities present on our site from wetland to woodland. We spent the rest of the day in our small teams doing inventory and mapping at Calkins with our newly acquired knowledge and recommendations from our guests in mind.
Wendnesday was jam packed with Calkins work in our small teams. We really began to dive into the project and began making connections with our data and the city of South Burlington's needs. Steve Libby, professor at UVM's Rubenstien School, talked with us about his work with non-profit organizations and land conservation on Thursday morning and more Calkins work was done in the field and in the office in the afternoon.
Friday was our most physically challenging but most exciting day at LANDS. We got an early start and went to the Green Mountain National Forest in Goshen, Vermont to work on a restoration project with a vareity of professors and researchers focused on restoring the American Chestnut population to its native range. For anyone who unfamilar with Chestnut blight, the fungus was first introduced in 1904 and spread quickly though its host population, the American Chestnut killing off much of the species. It was a pleasure to work with such enthusiatic people and we wish them the best.
We are all excited to continue our work in Land Conservation next week in the Green Mountian National Forest and hope you will continue to follow our work!