Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Week 3

Here at LANDS we’ve completed the first of four weeks working with the Green Mountain National Forest. This week, we’ve already been able to rack up some impressive mileage on the trails and roads while surveying for non-native invasive species (NNIS). Please read on for more details about our work this week!

(Andrea L. hard at work filling out a data sheet on invasive species)

Monday began with a long and early ride down to the beautiful Mt. Tabor Work Center where we would be working and living for the next 4 days. I don’t think any of us could have imagined better accommodations, and are very grateful to the US Forest Service for letting us stay at Mt. Tabor this summer.

(Mt. Tabor Work Center)

Once we arrived at the work house, we met with Melissa Reichert, the Forest Manager and Planner. Melissa gave us an overview of the Dorset-Peru Landscape Assessment, an integrated resource project that will look at a wide range of resources in the area including recreation and vegetation. For these first two weeks at the GMNF, our job will be to provide information about non-native invasive species for the landscape assessment. Invasive species can severely alter ecosystems, so early detection of these threats (i.e. pinpointing small, recently established populations) as well as the subsequent rapid response to them can be a very effective method in attempting to control NNIS.

(Andrea B. removing common buckthorn)

Next, Kate Walker, the Wilderness and Trails coordinator, guided the LANDS team through the important list of NNIS’s we would be looking for in our surveys. We also met Kim Hoffman (UVM Master’s student), and Teresa Corliss (a visiting research fellow), who were able to offer helpful advice from their experiences working with the Forest Service and conducting graduate research in the field. In the afternoon, we attempted put our new NNIS knowledge and identification skills to work, but our time was cut short due to uncooperative weather. However, we were able to remove a sizable stand of garlic mustard at a trailhead before the downpour forced us back inside.

(The LANDS team working at Mt. Tabor)

After discussing our approach to the project and creating a work plan Monday evening, we attacked the trails bright and early on Tuesday morning. It was a great day to be outside, and the LANDS team scoured the trails and roads looking for non-native invasive species such as common buckthorn and garlic mustard. The road crew gets a special mention for their amazing work in logging over 60 occurrences of NNIS in one day.

The trails crews were able to catch some beautiful vistas and many were able to stop by Griffith Lake. Lydia and Andrea L. were even lucky enough to discover an historical mound of mulch dating back to the 1940s from an old logging operation!

Wednesday we continued our surveys down near Bromley Mountain. Again, it was a great day for fieldwork and we covered a lot of territory with great views from the top of the ski mountain. It also turned out to be a great day to see some wildlife, including ruffed grouse and a glimpse of a juvenile moose!

Sadly our last day, Thursday, turned out to be a rainy one. Six interns set off in the morning to work on our road surveys, while three interns remained in the office to begin prepping for the report that LANDS will submit to the GMNF at the end of our work. In the afternoon we packed up, piled in the car, and headed home for the long weekend, looking to rest and rejuvenate before our next week at GMNF.

Stay tuned for more information on our second week of work at the GMNF!

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