In that latest Nor’easter some big trees in our yard came down under the weight of wet snow and high winds. Root structures long in place seemed to give up. Towering woods succumbed to gravity, making no sound until impact with the ground. In other instances, trunks snapped, unleashing a domino effect, adding to the violence of that day. A giant pine hit the house. We were inside at the time. That fright brought a decision to take down possible dangers in future storms, including an enduring presence and trusted climbing companion- the Hemlock.*
*Hemlocks in North America are suffering from a blight due to foreign invaders, the Woolly Adelgid. A sea of poppy-seed sized bugs feast on needles, lay eggs, and feed on the sap. On the East Coast all Hemlocks are at risk. As is often the case, threat to the species is especially felt by loss of a single specimen we have contact with. The tree in our yard stood over seventy feet tall. I know because when the working end of my rope was slung over a top branch and doubled on the trip down, it rested flush with the floor of the forest.
“A vast new study finds there are 70 percent fewer wild animals sharing the earth with us than there were in 1970. Read that again. And again.”
Courtesy: Bill McKibben via Tim Stevenson
Over this past Summer I have noticed more and more squirrels visiting our feeders showing up with nasty/raw wounds and punctures right above or behind their shoulders where you might expect a target shooter/sniper to aim and fire a B-B or pellet gun site to do the most damage. There are an increasing numbers of these squirrels now along with an amputee, one blinded in one eye, and one shot near an ear that is deformed with paralysis so this particular squirrel has a lop ear making him look like Yoda (Yes we call him Yoda). I know they are attacked or even eaten once in a while by other wild animals no matter how willy or fight aggressively among themselves, but this would only explain some amount of pervasive suffering here we see these days.
Come to BEEC to explore, discover, imagine, and play!
Nature Explorers Summer Camp is for the young person who enjoys the natural world. Our goal is to foster children’s love of nature in a fun, safe and supportive environment. Children spend each day outdoors exploring the forests, meadows, and waters of BEEC’s 60 acres. Children return year after year, excited to visit special places such as Grandmother Tree, Mossy Rocks, and Frog Pond.
At 11 a.m. on Saturday April 16th, 2022 there will be a Memorial Tree Planting for Helene Henry at Prospect Hill Cemetery, South Main Street, Brattleboro.
Helene was known for her passion, commitment, and steadfast dedication to enhancing Brattleboro’s green spaces. She strongly advocated for trees being a part of any landscape, if she had her say. She believed that trees were the answer.
Remember way back when we used to have snow? Wasn’t that a fun time?
I’d really appreciate a good, old-fashioned snow day sometime soon. One of those days when we get a foot or more of (not heavy and wet) snow and everything has to close down. Everyone gets a day off, schools close, and we hear the sound of plowing, shoveling and snow blowing.
We got the predicted rain last night. Sometime after midnight, in the darkest hours of the night, the rain began to pour. It was hard not to notice. Even the cat was intrigued, opening the curtains to look out despite the fact that it was before dawn.
Early Friday, the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for parts of New England. Tropical Storm Henri will likely develop into a hurricane before making landfall on the northeastern U.S. coast this weekend, bringing strong winds and heavy rain.
The weather forecast for the remainder of this week includes dangerously high heat and humidity. Town of Brattleboro urges everyone to drink plenty of water, wear light clothing, and stay out of the heat as much as possible.
People who need some cool air can visit the Senior Center at the Gibson Aiken Center (207 Main Street), Brooks Memorial Library (224 Main Street), the Central Fire Station (103 Elliot Street), or the West Brattleboro Fire Station (16 South Street).
Unless you’ve really been living in deep media seclusion, you probably already know the planet is in big trouble. The planet’s troubles, expressed as record heat waves, epic wildfires, prolonged droughts, biblical rainstorms, and erratic weather patterns, have led to all kinds of disruption here below. Mother Nature isn’t just angry — she’s in crisis. Which isn’t surprising since humans have been systematically trying to kill her off pretty much since the dawn of mankind. Clearly she can’t take it anymore.
But elaborate metaphors aside, I’ve been worrying more than usual about the state of the environment and the decline of the natural realm, from the changing climate to the alarming loss of wildlife around the world. Although it’s easy to forget these things living in Vermont, we do not live in a bubble.
When the world is too much with us I turn to the birds. Most of us have been in need of some sort of refuge these past few years and I have found the observation of the bird population to be an activity that has helped to clear my head and get a better perspective on the world.
I am not what might be called a birder. I do not count species and I do not make birding treks to look for rare species. Quite simply, I have put up a suet feeder and a hummingbird feeder in my yard so that I can watch the activity from my deck.
At first I wondered if feeding birds year round was a bad thing for birds. My research has shown me that there are pro’s and con’s but that, overall, birds are not usually harmed by having a handout on a regular basis.
Here’s a new interactive climate map from the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:
They describe it as” A novel tool for flexible spatial and temporal analyses of much of the observed and projected climate change information underpinning the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report, including regional synthesis for Climatic Impact-Drivers (CIDs).”
Some news from the Windham County Humane Society:
” Many of us in Windham County know the awesome work done by local wildlife rehabilitator, Patti Smith. Patti has worked for decades with Dr. Ron Svec (WCHS’s newest board member!) of the VT-NH Veterinary Clinic when wildlife needed medical care. When Dr. Svec recently retired, Patti called up the shelter with what she thought was a big ask – would we be willing to allow vets to use our surgery space for wildlife?
The answer was a resounding YES! Former board member and veterinarian Dr. Susan Kelly was also up for the challenge. So when an opossum was injured by a dog, Dr. Kelly gave us a call. Momma possum had four joeys in her pouch. The babies were healthy but mom had a nasty injury 2/3 of the way down her tail. Baby possums need the entire tail because they sometimes hang by their tail. Adults use their tail to gather brush but don’t hang by their tails.
It’s an ill wind that blows no good… Just kidding. As most of us are probably aware, there’s been a lot of smoke in the air recently, although what zephyr it blew in on I have no idea. We noticed it last night around sunset, and by the time we went to bed, we could see this strange fog enveloping the area, detectable even in the dark. The trees seemed really distant, we could only see one star, and when a car drove by, there was complete white-out and all the trees disappeared. Although the National Weather Service forecast was calling it “haze,” it seemed pretty smoky to me.
This morning, it cleared off, but after noon, it rolled back in like gangbusters. I was surprised to discover that not only can you see the smoke, you can smell and taste it too. I even noticed my eyes burning which is normal if you’re in a smoky environment, but frankly, you just don’t expect to be in a smoky environment as a result of a fire 2500 miles away.
Cutting to the chase, it’s worth noting that for this afternoon at least, out air quality puts us in an Orange zone as indicated on the EPA air quality web page; this means “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. If you cross the river to NH or drive over to NY, the adjacent areas there are Red zones — which is simply “unheathy air.” You can see the regions highlighted on the map at the link below.
Planting trees, sowing justice, growing community
350VT’s statewide Rewild Vermont project builds on synergies between food justice, climate action, and ecological restoration, and we’re excited to dig in locally! Fill out this google form to reserve trees to be planted this spring, either as an individual or as an organization.
I think we all needed this snowfall. There’s something calming about a big blanket of snow that keeps people inside, vehicles off the road, and so on.
It purifies. Think how happy Dorothy and friends were to have Glinda cover them in snowy flakes. It took away the witch’s spell.
Organizational Meeting – Elect Chair, Vice-Chair and Clerk
2020 AVCC Tiny Grant Discussion with Lynn Levine – Sign Content – River Stone Preserve
Invasive species videos
Tropical Storm Isaias is pounding the Mid-Atlantic as I type this, and is heading our way. And although it is centered over Maryland right now, we’re getting hit with the outer bands of rain already. This storm stretches from Virginia to Canada at the moment.
Originally it was tracking to the east of us, then directly over us. Unfortunately for this area, the storm track has shifted west and the center is aiming at Albany. That puts us in the “worst” quadrant of the storm – the 12-3 o’clock positions. The heaviest rain and winds are usually in this section of a storm like this.
Coronavirus. Protests. Police. Elections. Masks. There is a lot to be thinking about right now.
Add that pesky climate emergency back on the list:
“The world has only six months in which to change the course of the climate crisis and prevent a post-lockdown rebound in greenhouse gas emissions that would overwhelm efforts to stave off climate catastrophe, one of the world’s foremost energy experts has warned.
In addition to the baby foxes this spring, we were treated to a robin’s nest outside of our dining room window. An enterprising pair of robins built a really great nest in the rhododendron bush, and three blue eggs were sat upon by mom.
I got a bit of video every day, from egg to feathered baby robins leaving the nest.