Have you or your students ever wondered what Vermont looked like 100 years ago? Were there floods, landslides, or mines in your community? Were there forests on the hillslopes of your town or were those slopes clear-cut and barren?
The Landscape Change Programis a growing, web-based collection of Vermont landscape imagery hosted at the University of Vermont. We currently hold over 1500 digital images collected from libraries, historical societies, and private collections. All images are accessible from the project web site (uvm.edu/perkins/landscape) via either text or graphical search engines. The newly redesigned web site allows anyone to contribute images to the archive along with modern re-shots of historical scenes as well descriptions of the images and of the physical landscape-change evidence they contain. We have used the site with equal success in University as well as high school classrooms. The web site includes lesson plans based on Vermont state standards. Consider using the site in your classes either as a resource or as a tool to catalyze student learning in a place-based context.
Analysis of the image database suggests that reforestation is the major physical landscape change in Vermont over the past century. Barren slopes are dotted with landslides and gullies, the result of diminished effective cohesion as tree roots rotted away or were removed after clear cutting. Floods, and the landscape change they cause, are well represented, especially the flood of record in Vermont, 1927. We have fewer images of mining and excavation but the database includes photographs of engineering geology interest including land filling, road building, and slope stabilization.
We are actively soliciting image contributions to increase the size and diversity of the archive. If you hold historic images of Vermont landscapes, please consider uploading them. We can supply scanners, computers, digital cameras, and GPS units to assist in photo collection. In some cases, our staff can do the scanning, image documentation, and uploading with you. Please contact us at the email address above if you are interested in working with the program.