Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Week 1 - swiggity sweet!

Our first week of LANDs was nothing short of epic. Heavy on the training side, and chock full of field work made this week a blast.

A brief overview of our actives follows:
Day 1 - Introductions and overviews: we played tons of icebreaker/group development games
Day 2 - The Nature Conservancy (TNC) at the Richmond Land Trust (RLT): TNC's Emily, Chris and Wilker introduced us to 8 or 9 invasive species. We learned how to identify them, where many of them are from, ecological consequences, and proper removal technique. We then removed garlic mustard while wading through 6 foot tall ostrich ferns. Later in the day we went to Shelburne 's La Platt Nature park for some orienteering exercises in the floodplain forest.
Day 3 - After a through discussion led by UVM professor and River advocate Steve Libby of the philosophical underpinnings and historical development of property law and ownership in the U.S., the LANDs crew journeyed over to the Hinesberg town forest. There we saw a Black Bear (way cool!), and honed our orienteering skills while designing a map, compass, GPS, and soil testing skills curriculum for high school students.
Day 4 - Back into the field for invasive removal! We team up with the TNC folks once again. This time we worked near Williams Woods, a 63 acre natural area managed by TNC. Williams Woods is a clay plain forest. This forest type is very rare in Vermont today because most of it was cleared for agriculture do to its rich and productive soils. Williams Woods is one of the last remaining ecological fragments, so our work there felt extra special.
Day 5 - In order to become better stewards of the land, we need to be able to "read the landscape". Field Naturalist and UVM professor, Alicia Daniel, introduced us to the layer-cake model. This is an analytic framework which provides a holistic perspective for understanding natural communities. Together the LANDs crew explored Lone Rock Point, which boasts a fascinating example of Vermont's rare geologic history.

To sum it all up, the first week was a blast! We explored some of the natural wonders of Vermont and developed our field skills, laying the ground work for the rest of the summer!

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