Course Syllabus

Use the section below to find due dates for assignments, readings for each weak (readings are listed on the day they are due), and lots of supplemental resources. Click the icon to the right for a printable version of the syllabus:

Pre-class | July 6, 2018

Because the class is an intensive, there are a few assignments and readings that you’ll need to do by Friday, July 6 in order to be prepared for the class.

Assignments: 

  • Tourist Test: please read the instructions. Do this before doing any of the readings, bring to class on Monday, July 9
  • Tree species profile: Due by email 4pm on July 6
    • Sign up for your trees to profile here

Read the following by July 9, 2018: 

  • Wetland Woodland Wildland (pp 1-28, 36-43, 58-81)
  • Reading the Forested Landscape by Tom Wessels (Introduction + Ch 1-7)

Help identifying trees

Day 1 | July 9, 2018

Intro to Class + Hazards + Bedrock Geology

Our first day we’ll spend covering the different frameworks that we’ll use for the class, reviewing the syllabus, and going over the assignments for the course. We’ll head out into the field to look at bedrock in a couple of different places in the islands. We’ll visit a cave and see lots of fossils!! And of course we’ll talk about hazards of being in the field (like mosquitos, poison ivy, and ticks). I strongly suggest wearing a light long-sleeve layer and pants to keep away mosquitoes.

Location: We will meet at CCV in Winooski and then head to + Chazy Reef + Lamoille Cave (see map below for field sites)

Read for today:

  • Natural History of Vermont Mountains by Nancy Bazilchuk (PDF)

Handouts:

Assignments Due Today:

  • Tourist Test
  • Tree Species Profile (You will choose 2 species from this list to write profiles on; you will be presenting on one of them)

Other resources: As general references in natural history, the following are wonderful resources

Day 2 | July 10, 2018

Soils + Hydrology

We’ll look today at the stuff pasted down on top of the bedrock: till, sands, silts, and clays.

Location: CCV Winooski, Casavant, East Woods,

Presentations for today:

  • Quaking aspen
  • Silver maple
  • Red oak

Read for today:

  • Read “The Laurentide Ice Sheet and its Significance (PDF)
  • Ch 9 in Written in Stone by Chet Raymo (PDF)

Handouts:

Online Resources

Week 3 | July 11, 2018

Trees + Natural Communities

Okay – so what grows on top of all those rocks and sands and silts and clays? And how do we identify them? Today we’ll focus on trees and how they serve as indicators of disturbances, soils, and water.

Location: LaPlatte River + Shelburne Bay

Presentations for today:

  • Red cedar
  • Hemlock
  • Sycamore
  • White cedar

Read for today:

  • None

Help identifying trees

Handouts:

Day 4 | July 12, 2018

Natural Communities

Take all those trees and lump them together again and again and again and you’ve got yourself a natural community!

Location: My Neighbors’ Woods (Richmond)

Presentations for today:

  • Sugar maple
  • White ash
  • Beech
  • White pine

Read for today:

  • Skim My Neighbor’s Woods (PDF)

Resources

  • VCGI (Natural Communities mapping program)
  • Slow Water Movement + ANR mapping of natural communities (link)

Day 5 | July 13, 2018

Humans + Disturbance

Our last day together is here already!! We’ll look at human disturbances to tease out how humans influence natural landscapes and what plants thrive in these types of conditions. We’ll test out our landscape interpretation skills

Location: Centennial Woods on Patchen Rd (map)

Tree Species Presentations: 

  • Norway maple
  • Red maple
  • White oak

Due Today:

Read for today:

  •  1-24 in Time and Change in Vermont by Harold Meeks (PDF)

Suggested Readings about Abenaki and early history

  • Voice of the Dawn: An autohistory of the Abenaki Nation by Frederick Wiseman
  • The Original Vermonters by Haviland & Power
  • The Story of Vermont: A natural and cultural history by Klyza & Trombulak
  • Changes in the Land by William Cronon
  • New England Forests Through Time by David Foster

Post-Class | July 20, 2018

Trees + Uplands

Well that just flew by. Okay – now it’s time to make this (even more) relevant. Your final write-up will be a site analysis of a site near and dear to your heart (and back door). Read the handout for the type of area you should select and what your write up should include.

Due July 20:

  • Site Analysis

Examples (these are from previous classes; the site analysis assignment may have been different from the one you will be completing so use as a rough guide):

“Wherever he goes, this winter, I will follow him. I will share the fear, and the exaltation, and the boredom, of the hunting life. I will follow him till my predatory human shape no longer darkens in terror the shaken kaleidoscope of colour that stains the deep fovea of his brilliant eye. My pagan head shall sink into the winter land, and there be purified.”

From The Peregrine by JA Baker

Course Details

Who: Naturalists and educators (K-12). There are no prerequisite skills required for the course. Participants should expect some light hiking, off trail exploration, and canoeing.

When: July 18-22, 2022, 8:30am-4:30pm

Where: Burlington, VT with field trips to nearby natural areas

Cost: $650, includes lunch, transportation, and books.
Optional: $375 for graduate credits (3) through Castleton. Financial aid may be available.

Program Overview

During this 5-day intensive, you’ll learn to tease out the rich stories written in the fabric of Vermont’s unique landscape. It’s a story written in stone walls, old apple trees, sprawling oak trees, and valleys carved into sandy banks. Using a mix of field trips, hands-on science activities, and lectures, you’ll learn the tools and develop the capacity to weave together the stories in your own backyard (and schoolyard) and the confidence to share these skills with your students.

If you are taking the course for graduate credit, you will also need to register through Castleton: link.

Nuts and Bolts for the Course

If you’re looking for registration details, including dates, price, etc. and information on the course format, daily schedule and other nuts and bolts, check out the course overview page

Syllabus for the course

Use the sections below to find due dates for assignments, readings for each weak (readings are listed on the day they are due), and lots of supplemental resources. Please note that there are several required assignments for participants earning graduate credit that are optional for all other participants.

Pre-class

Because the class is an intensive, there are a few assignments and readings that you’ll need to do in preparation for our first class.

Assignments:

  • Tourist Test: please read the instructions. Do this before doing any of the readings, bring to our first day of class
  • Tree species profile (due by Day 1)
    • Sign up for your trees to profile here

Read the following by Monday: 

  • Wetland Woodland Wildland (pp 1-28, 36-43, 58-81)
  • Optional: Reading the Forested Landscape by Tom Wessels (Introduction + Ch 1-7)
  • Browse the Course Content folder.

Help identifying trees

Intro to Class + Hazards + Bedrock Geology
July 18, 2022

We’ll dive right in on our first day, exploring the basics of natural history and outline the bedrock story of Vermont. We’ll head out into the field to look at bedrock in a couple of different places, including a cave!! And of course we’ll talk about hazards of being in the field (like mosquitoes, poison ivy, and ticks). We strongly suggest wearing a light long-sleeve layer and pants to keep away mosquitoes.

Location: We will meet at the St Mark’s Youth Center (1271 North Ave) and then head to our field sites (Salmon Hole in Burlington and then the Lamoille Cave – see map below for field sites)

Lecture:

Read for today:

  • Natural History of Vermont Mountains by Nancy Bazilchuk (PDF)

Handouts:

Assignments Due Today:

Other resources: As general references in natural history, the following are wonderful resources

Glaciers & Soils
July 19, 2022

No story of Vermont is complete without exploring the impact of the most recent glacial period. We’ll explore the last 100,000 years of change in Vermont’s Landcape and look out how yesterdays events influences today’s soils. Our field trip to Shelburne Bay and LaPlatte Nature Area will highlight evidence left behind by the glaciers.

Location: Shelburne Bay, LaPlatte Nature Area

Lectures: Bedrock Story & Glaciers

Presentations (description) for today:

  • Acer negundo
  • Pinus strobus
  • Juniperus virginia
  • Rhamnus cathartica
  • Thuja occidentalis
  • Tsuga canadensis

Read for today:

  • Read The Laurentide Ice Sheet and its Significance (PDF)
  • Ch 9 in Written in Stone by Chet Raymo (PDF)

Online Resources

Soils, Sediments, & Erosion
July 20, 2022

In the last 10,000 years since the glaciers retreated, the sediments they left behind have been transformed and moved around by time, water, and wind. We’ll look at topography and soils and the role they play in shaping plant communities.

Location: East Woods

Lectures:

Presentations (description) for today:

  • Betula alleghaniensis
  • Betula papyrifera
  • Fagus grandifolia
  • Fraxinus americana
  • Quercus rubra

Resources:

Help identifying trees

Handouts:

Natural Communities
July 21, 2022

Natural communities represent the confluence of disturbance, climate, soil, bedrock, and water. We’ll highlight trees as indicator species and look at patterns in assemblages of plants as we explore the natural community concept.

Location: Wheeler Natural Area
Lectures: 

Presentations (description) for today:

  • Acer saccharum
  • Rhus typhina
  • Robinia pseudoacacia
  • Tilia americana

Read for today:

  • Skim Wetland Woodland Wildland and bring your copy
  • Skim My Neighbor’s Woods (PDF)

Resources

  • VCGI (Natural Communities mapping program)

Humans + Disturbance
July 22, 2022

Our last day together is here already!! We’ll look at human disturbances to tease out how humans influence natural landscapes and what plants thrive in these types of conditions. We’ll test out our landscape interpretation skills by going to a mystery site and trying to tease out the natural history using our observation skills.

Location: Centennial Woods

Lecture: 

Read for today:

  • 1-24 in Time and Change in Vermont by Harold Meeks (PDF)

Suggested Readings about Abenaki and early history

  • Voice of the Dawn: An autohistory of the Abenaki Nation by Frederick Wiseman
  • The Original Vermonters by Haviland & Power
  • The Story of Vermont: A natural and cultural history by Klyza & Trombulak
  • Changes in the Land by William Cronon
  • New England Forests Through Time by David Foster

Post-class

For those taking the course for graduate credit, you will need to complete the Site Analysis assignment by the Sunday following the last day of class (July 31, 2022). You can find a full description of the Site Analysis assignment here.

Assignments

All participants will be responsible for presenting on a tree species (details) on days 2, 3, or 4. You can sign up for your species here. You may also find the Tourist Test illuminating, but it is not required.

For those completing the course for graduate credit, you’ll be responsible for the tree presentation as well as the following assignments:

Resources

Lectures

Assignments

Resources