Posted by Sarah Fletcher, a junior at UVM studying Environmental Studies
What: I was meandering around Centennial Woods when I spotted a funky looking mushroom clinging to a tree. I thought to myself, “Wow, this is the perfect thing for me to write about on the Wild Burlington blog.” As I was hastily making my way over to the mushrooms, I kicked something solid and sturdy. I looked down and discovered a concrete block set into the ground. An eroded plaque atop the block reads: “CITY OF BURL G.B. 40 Elev. At ___ Above Sea _____.” As you can see, much of the plaque is missing so I couldn’t make out the number but I guess that the last word is “level.” This marker lies in a mostly deciduous forest east of the main entrance to CW and north of the Sheraton Parking lot.
After doing some investigating, I ended up in the Map room of UVM’s library. There, I met with local map guru, Bill Gill. I asked him if he knew about these old markers in Centennial. He said no but that he does know a good deal of information about sea level elevation and topography so we sat down at a computer to look at some GIS mapping software. Using this program, Bill put together the image below to illustrate the topography of Centennial Woods. We honed in on Centennial Woods to look at this topographic overlay with a contour interval of two feet. Bill, being extremely proficient at GIS, picked out some key points to focus on. The point nearest the bottom of the image below is the start of the stream that runs through CW. Bill guessed that this is where the highest point is in CW at 308 feet above sea level. The uppermost point on the map at 206 feet above sea level indicates the lowest elevation downstream in CW while the middle point at 280 feet above sea level is a good reference point for the center of the woods.
Where: Centennial Woods