Brattleboro Conservation Commission hosts Source to Sea Cleanup in the West River Park on September 24

Join the Brattleboro Conservation Commission on Tuesday, September 24 from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. to clean up trash along the West River as part of the annual Source to Sea Cleanup of the Connecticut River system. Volunteers of all ages are welcome and should meet in the West River Park at the entrance of the trail to down to the West River.

Butterfly Season

Cabbage Butterfly on Zinnias

One of the consolations of the late summer season is the abundance of butterflies who flock to the open fields and gardens to enjoy the sunshine, sip the dew, and drink the nectar from the last of the summer flowers. We’ve had butterflies all summer long, but not in the numbers or variety that we have now. Earlier, Tiger Swallowtails prevailed, fluttering on their exotic yellow wings to the daisies and phlox where they made a long zig-zagging circuit of every promising flower. We saw at least one Zebra Swallowtail, bigger than its cousin the Tiger, out browsing red clover in the field next door. Silver Spotted Skippers were ubiquitous in midsummer. And later, I was happy to see a few Monarchs, with whom I have a long friendship going back to when I raised one from an egg as a child.

Oak Street Tree Removal

 On Wednesday, September 4th, the Highway Division will be working with Green Mountain Power to remove a tree near the corner of Oak St. and Chapin St. 

In preparation of an upcoming paving project, this tree was inspected by the tree warden to consider trimming. Upon inspection, it was determined that the tree is in poor health with significant rot. Due to the concern for nearby utilities, buildings, and traffic it was determined that the tree should be removed. 

Wild Blueberries on Wantastiquet in late July

It’s a good year for wild blueberries on Wantastiquet. A week ago, I picked a cup of blueberries at the lower lookout. The photo is from July 30 with downtown Brattleboro in the background. There were plenty still ripening, so there should be a modest crop of ripe blueberries about now.

To get to the lower lookout, just go straight at the sixth hairpin turn. The spur trail is a quarter mile and pretty easy to follow. The view is historic and much better than the view from the summit. The ripe berries are in the sunniest spots, so you’ll have to explore the outcrops a bit to maximize the harvest. There is no poison ivy on Wantastiquet, but do take tick precautions. Don’t forget the binoculars.

Fireflies and Starry Skies

The 4th of July brings us the stars and stripes and the sparkle of fireworks, evoking (among other things) America’s victory over Britain and “the rockets red glare.” But long after the last brilliant explosions have subsided, another kind of “fireworks” continues. These little bursts of light are significantly quieter — silent, in fact — but they can be just as impressive. I’m talking, of course, about the fireflies.

Rescheduled Japanese Knotweed Work Session to be held at West River Park on Thursday, June 6

The Conservation Commission will conduct a work session in the West River Park on Thursday, June 6 at 4:30 PM. The purpose of this work session is to manually control Japanese Knotweed along the West River in the West River Park. Conservation Commission members will be cutting Japanese Knotweed.

Participants should wear sturdy shoes and bring gloves and loppers or another garden cutting tool. Extra loppers will be available. Interested participants may arrive at any time and can find Commission members along the riverbank with the West River. The path to the riverbank is near the kiosk at the end of the parking lot.

Brattleboro Conservation Commission Seeks Community Stewards to Help Manage Japanese Knotweed at West River Park Swimming Hole

The Brattleboro Conservation Commission is kicking off a summer long effort to manage Japanese knotweed along the banks of the West River in the West River Park. Join us on Tuesday, May 28 at 4:30 PM to learn how to control this invasive as well as lend a hand in stewarding this important local resource.

Participants of all ages are welcome. Wear clothing and footwear appropriate for the weather, and bring loppers or pruners to use for removing knotweed. You will also want to have good gardening or work gloves. Volunteers should meet at the entrance of the trail down to the West River. The Conservation Commission will have extra supplies available and is willing to show participants how to identify and cut the knotweed. Water and snacks will be provided.

Windham Regional Commission Receives Funding to Launch Forest Connectivity Collaborative 

The Windham Regional Commission (WRC) is pleased to announce that it has received funding from the High Meadows Fund’s Forest Health and Integrity program, for the launch of the project entitled, “Windham Connectivity Collaborative: A scale-hopping approach to conservation planning in southeastern Vermont.”

Emily Davis is the WRC’s natural resources planner and project point person, and she says that, “the Windham Regional Commission has always been committed to sound conservation planning. But recently, we’ve wanted to more systematically unite the many smaller, local, conservation efforts under one comprehensive conservation strategy for southeastern Vermont. These groups, along with our town conservation commissions, have exhibited grassroots leadership.  They do such great work with relatively few resources, and we’re pleased to be able to support their work through capacity-building, project coordination, and strategic collaboration.”

Sugar House Tour in Guilford Saturday

Windham Regional Woodlands Association (WRWA) is sponsoring its annual Sugar House Tour on Saturday. Each year WRWA showcases a different sugaring operation. This year East Hill Farm will be hosting the tour of their traditional wood fired sugaring operation with about 1050 taps on a pipeline, of which 400 are on 3/16” gravity line and an additional 700 taps with a light vacuum. In recognition of the old ways, they set out one to two hundred buckets.

Birds and Brew featuring Dara Carleton, Wildlife Photographer

If you’re in the area, stop by McNeill’s Brewery March 6th from 5-7 pm for Birds & Brews, a Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society meeting. Come out for a beer (or soda) and some friendly chatter with area birders and naturalists. Free and open to the public and all levels of birders (including new ones). Show up anytime between 5 and 7.

Winter Tree Walk & Potluck Lunch

Saturday, March 9th at 10 a.m. Winter Tree Walk & Potluck Lunch, sponsored by Windham Regional Woodlands Association.

Bill Guenther, who recently retired as Windham County Forester, will lead a winter tree identification walk in a Halifax woodlot. Bill will show us how to use characteristics such as habitat, growth form, branching pattern, and bark to identify about 20 species of native Vermont trees. This includes a special spot from where we can view four different species of birch tree.

Slideshow Presentation on the Spring Bird Migration in Spain

Join Mary Lea, Connie Woodberry and Putney’s Bob Lawson for a photo presentation of their birding trip to southern Spain at the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society meeting on Tuesday, November 20. They observed some 150 species, including those moving from Africa to Spain and further north.

Playground Install Hacks at Crowell Park Trees


New playground apparatus set up under park’s Old Spruce Tree’s root system severely hacked away on one entire side, couldn’t this have been avoided working to preserve established root span area in combination with planning new equipment? poor planning of placement and excavation work by rec park.

The Green Leaves of Autumn

It’s already the end of October, and the leaves have just started falling. BUT, they’re almost all still green. What’s up? Is this due to global and local warming?

Bears Ears

Monument Valley, on the Arizona-Utah border, is one of the most beautiful places in the whole United States. Its magnificent mountains and beautiful buttes are unmatched in America. You will recognize it if you follow John Wayne westerns. The views have defined what decades of moviegoers think of when they imagine the American West.

An Excess of Roadkill in Brattleboro

I’ve had an opportunity to drive around a bit more than usual, and one thing that pretty clear: there are a lot of dead animals on the road right now.

Skunks and squirrels seem to be the primary victims. They are all over, but also concentrated in some places. There’s a spot on Putney Rd where quite a few have failed to make it all the way across. There’s a place along Rt 30 near the bridge that also seems to have a bit of a pileup.


I have a rain gauge but until recently had not kept track of totals.  On July 16 I started entering my daily readings into a simple spreadsheet.  These storms are very hit and miss so totals are for my location on South Main Street only.  For the second half of July I recorded 10.8 inches. and so far in August have received 5.25 inches.  16.05 inches total in about a week under one month.  I don’t think we are dry anymore.

SeVWA’s 2018 E. coli Monitoring of Local Rivers Continued July 18th

The Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA) continued its monitoring program for the summer of 2018 on Wednesday, July 18th. Volunteers will be collecting samples from 33 sites on nine rivers and streams every other week through the end of August. This year, we have sites on the West River, Flood Brook, North Branch Ball Mountain Brook, Rock River, Williams River (including the Middle Branch), Saxtons River, East Putney Brook, Sacketts Brook, and Whetstone Brook.

It’s So Hot In Brattleboro…

…Brattleboro chickens are laying omlettes and the cows are giving powdered milk.

It’s day three of the heat wave. The forecast shows 90+ degree days all week until Friday, with heat indexes even higher. As I type this, there is a Heat Advisory, Hazardous Weather Outlook, and Air Quality Alert underway.