Monday, July 14, 2008

Mix of old and new

Our week started with working indoors and gradually transitioned into working outdoors in the rain to doing forest inventorying. We had an opportunity to work in collaboration with VYCC crew and explore the Little Hogback Community Forest.


After a long weekend we were back full of energy and tales of adventures of our weekends. Today we worked indoors on Tunbridge project and continued to work on where we left on Thursday. Biota/ Natural History group was assigned the task of formatting document structure for Tunbridge project, Public Resource team was assigned to design map template for all maps and Historical/ Cultural/ Agricultural Soils group was assigned the task of editing the document. While the crew worked indoors on maps and write-ups, the Historical/ Cultural/ Agricultural Soils group made visit to the Map Room, Special Collections, and the Periodicals at the Bailey Howe Library at the University of Vermont to use historical resources.


We continued to work on our Tunbridge project. Different groups worked on maps, interpretation of maps, online research, and additional write-ups. Around noon, the lands crew gathered around the table to talk about interesting things they found in modified website of Land Trust Alliance. Highlights of this modified website were about LTA being responsible for providing guidance to the collaborative effort of Natureserve and National Geographic to develop a new website called “Landscope America” that will allow people to explore nature from their desktop in the most striking and useful ways, conservation defense, interpretive toolbars and more. Today the Historical/ Cultural/ Agricultural Soils team had an opportunity to converse via phone with Euclid Farnham, town historian of Tunbridge. He had interesting tales about the Whitneys and the history of Whitney Hill. In the afternoon, the lands crew met up with Kevin Case, the Acting director of Northeast Region for Land Trust Alliance. He presented to the crew a slideshow on Land Trusts in New England and New York State and land trusts at national level. He also talked about accreditation, and both external and internal challenges that Land trusts face. He also emphasized on the importance of early monitoring of easements by Land Trusts and selection of lands for conservation by Land Trusts.


Finally after two days of work indoors, the crew was excited to work outdoors and meet with Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. We were ready to hit the road in the morning with our hardhat, rain gear and lunch. We headed towards Niquette Bay State Park located in the northern shore of Mallet’s Bay in Colchester, Vermont where we met up with VYCC crew. The VYCC non-residential crew comprised of two crew leaders and eight members who were high school students. They had been working on building trails in this park from the beginning of this week and were directed by Jessica who works with the state of Vermont on trail building and applying grants to build trails. After a quick introduction we broke up into two groups and came up with mix of both groups. One group worked on making another turnpike in front of the one that had already been built by the VYCC crew. The other groups carried lumbar into the woods for building trails on mucky areas. After lunch in a big circle, we participated in WORD session of VYCC in which we all read Lorax by Dr. Seuss and discussed about it.


This morning we had an opportunity to meet with Cecilia Danks, professor of environmental policy at the University of Vermont and one of the 16 shareholders of Little Hogback Community Forest (LHCF). Located in Monkton, Vermont this wooded knoll was founded by Deb Brighton who envisioned forest ownership and management not just by an individual or family but by a larger group from the community that involved members coming from varying income levels. We were also joined by Jared Nunnery who talked to us about role of forests in taking in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in different parts of the tree and forest floor. He trained us how to measure coarse woody debris or dead trees fallen on forest floor. Measurements of coarse woody debris will then be included in the model which will help to measure amount of carbon that is present in this community forest. We also had an opportunity to meet up with Brendan who talked to us about the role Vermont Family Forest plays in this community forest and how shareholders get timber from this community forest. After lunch, we split into groups of three and went to assigned plots to do coarse woody debris inventorying. On our way back, the sight of Hinesburg Farmer's Market made us make one stop before we hit our parking garage.


Without wasting any time we headed for the Little Hogback Community forest to do more forest inventory. This time we had chance to work using prism and diameter tape. In tree inventory, wedge prism is used to calculate the basal area of a stand and diameter tape allows one to take diameter at breast height which gives the measurement of diameter of tree trunk. Today we worked in groups of three and went to assigned plots. We took the measurements of in trees and every other borderline tree and identified the tree species and also noted down whether they were live trees with full crown, or declining trees or dead standing trees. We came across various tree species such as butternut, black cherry, chestnut oak, sweet birch and shagbark hickory and herbaceous Indian pipe in the understory. After finishing inventorying plots, we gathered in circle to write our reflection for this week on our perspectives on managing forest for carbon.

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