We had a real treat last week. I was looking out the back door as I often do and noticed a few little heads peeking out from under one of our outbuildings. One, two, three… oh my… four baby foxes!
From last Friday through Wednesday we got to watch them come out for the first time to explore the world. Mom came back at regular intervals to check on them, but she’d leave them for extended periods while she went off hunting.
I found myself standing in the upstairs window, watching the rain fall in the meadow outside and humming “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” Clearly, I thought, I want to ride away on a sunshiny day in search of adventure. Realizing that wasn’t likely, I continued to watch the rain as it fell, gradually noticing the budding silver maple just outside the window.
I just saw a Robin. Spring is now officially here.
Emerald ash borer (EAB) is a destructive and invasive forest pest that feeds on all species of ash trees in North America. Over 99% of ash trees will likely succumb to EAB and die. With EAB confirmed recently in Windham and Bennington Counties (Londonderry and Stamford, VT), communities in the region are encouraged to prepare for the impacts of the pest. Windham Regional Commission, in coordination with the Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program will hold a Emerald Ash Borer Prepardness & Management Workshop on January 29, 2020 from 4:30 to 6:30pm at the Newbrook Fire & Rescue Community Room at 698 VT Route 30, Newfane, VT.
On Friday October 11, 2019 I encountered a bull moose off the beaten trail of some woods in Brattleboro. Earlier in the week on Monday, I had seen the same moose, or perhaps a different one, in the exact same location. Before I saw the moose, I had encountered a pile of his fresh poop, and marveled over how each piece was the size of an acorn!
At first, I thought our cat was bringing them in. There seemed to be a cricket in every corner — crickets behind the bookcase, crickets in the sink, crickets behind the refrigerator, all chirping away. As fast as we could catch them and put them back outside, more would arrive. One cricket even had the temerity to hop back in the moment his feet hit the welcome mat on the other side of the door. What was up with the crickets?
Today there is a world Climate Strike. It is amazing, and amazing that it took this long.
As kids almost 50 years ago, we were already concerned about the environment. Earth Day got started, we read Ranger Rick and National Geographic World, and we knew that littering made an old Native American by the side of the road cry. We knew about animals going extinct from hunting and pollution. We used to plant trees on Arbor Day each June. We read the Lorax.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.