UVM’s Natural Areas Benefit from LANDS Internship Program
- By Becky Cushing
Few people have ever heard of Concord Woods Natural Area, a 100-acre tract of mature forest owned by UVM and located in the Northeast Kingdom about two and a half hours from main campus. The property doesn’t make it onto Google maps, and you won’t find it in your Vermont Atlas and Gazeteer. In fact, until this summer, UVM’s only maps of the property were hand drawn, relying on logging roads and approximate compass bearings.
Enter the 2013 LANDS interns, a group of ten undergraduates (half of them Rubenstein School students) who spent two full weeks working in three of UVM’s Natural Areas, including little known Concord Woods.
Remember the first half of the summer, when it rained? The LANDS crew was out in the field (or forest, in this case) searching for old corner posts and property boundaries, identifying and mapping invasive plants, and conducting trail assessments. (Visit the LANDS blog for a firsthand account and photos of their work in Concord Woods Natural Area.)
For each project site – Concord Woods and two other UVM Natural Areas, East Woods and Pease Mountain Natural Area – the crew spent several days on the ground with GPS units, notebooks, and cameras to document what they found. They lugged field equipment (e.g. shovels, Natural Areas signs, and a 40-pound rock bar) while bushwhacking through hobblebush and crossing torrents of water caused by the frequent downpours. After completing several days in the field, they returned to campus to create maps and put together reports for each site.
Here's a sampling of what they accomplished:
- At Concord Woods Natural Area, the LANDS crew created property maps, blazed property boundaries, and installed signs.
- At East Woods Natural Area, they identified and mapped invasive plants and developed management recommendations for removal.
- At Pease Mountain Natural Area, they completed a trail assessment that will be used this fall to repair and re-route muddy and degrading sections of trail.
All told, LANDS interns completed crucial work and moved many Natural Areas projects forward. In the upcoming months, work-study students and undergraduates in the NR 285/ENVS 295 Applied Natural Areas Conservation and Stewardship course will refine and implement some of the recommendations developed by LANDS. They’ll also work on new projects, including the recognition and celebration of the UVM Natural Areas’ 40th anniversary, a milestone that will occur next year. Stay tuned for updates.