May 2024 Precipitation Report

A dry month for a change with 3.32″ measured compared to the NOAA normal of 3.64 inches. Much of the month was even dryer until the last 6 days when just over half of the month’s total fell. For the calendar year still well above average with 24.32″ measured compared to the NOAA average of 17.81 inches. All numbers from my location in the S.E. corner of Brattleboro and can very considerably from location to another.

Gary


April Precipitation Report

Monthly precipitation of 5.04” compared to a NOAA normal of 3.85”. A couple larger storms in the first half brought most of the moisture with a much dryer second half of April. For the calendar year the total is 21.00” compared to the NOAA average of 14.3” or 148% of normal. All numbers are from my location in the S.E. corner of Brattleboro and can vary from one location to another. My snow total for the season is 40.4” compared to my yearly average of 62.8”.


Brattleboro Winter Weather Advisory Beginning April 2

The National Weather Service is forecasting a prolonged storm beginning Tuesday, April 2, and continuing into Thursday. The storm will initially bring rain before transitioning to snow Tuesday night through Wednesday, where it will potentially turn back to sleet and rain.

The shift to snow will occur first in higher elevations followed by the valleys. The Weather Service is predicting heavy snowfall in higher elevations and moderate amounts in the valleys. The accumulation of wet, heavy snow could lead to downed trees and power lines, which may cause power outages.


So, About That Winter

Now that Spring is here, we can talk freely. We didn’t seem to get very much snow this winter. Felt pretty warm, too. Is the end of snow near?

This is very much like the weather used to be in the mid-Atlantic. When I was in DC in the late 80’s and early 90’s, it would get cold, but there was barely any snow. A half an inch would surprise people and shut things down. We got much more slush, and that would freeze into ruts because there wasn’t a good plow system in place.


Connecticut River Joint Commissions Receives Grant from State of Vermont

The Connecticut River Joint Commissions (CRJC) is pleased to announce that it has received a $35,000 grant through the State of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation. This grant funds CRJC’s work program for November 2023 to October 2024. Additional funding is provided by New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

These funds will allow the CRJC to continue its emphasis on the grassroots, locally focused work of its five local river subcommittees and the broader implementation of its river management plan. The CRJC focuses on the key issues facing the Connecticut River watershed of Vermont and New Hampshire and plays the vital bi-state role of convening, catalyzing, and leading dialogue on these regional issues.


Eighty Six Rings

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.


Wild Animals Disappearing

“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


Stop the Squirrel Pot Shots Please

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.


BEEC Nature Explorers Summer Camp Has Openings

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.  


Memorial Planting To Honor Helene Henry

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.


I Want A Snow Day

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.


Autumnal Rites

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.


Batten Down the Hatches

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.


Brattleboro Heat Wave Advisory

 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). 


Dealing Rationally With Environmental Apocalypse

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.


The World Is Too Much With Us

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.


IPCC Interactive Climate Map + New Report

Here’s a new interactive climate map from the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:

https://interactive-atlas.ipcc.ch

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).”


Wildlife Rescues at WCHS

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.


Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

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.


Plant Trees with 350Vermont this Spring!

Rewild Brattleboro
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.