December 2018
Winter sunset at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Vermont.
© K.P. McFarland

A Field Guide to December
Fear not, during these short days and long nights of December, there's still plenty of life in the fading light. Once we pass the winter solstice, which strikes at precisely 5:23 PM on December 21st, more light will begin to creep back. Until then, here's some wintry natural history to keep you going. Curl up with a cup of hot cocoa and visit the VCE blog for your Field Guide to December.

Eastern Whip-poor-will  / © Laura Gooch Creative Commons 2.0

Where are the Whip-poor-wills? 2018 Field Season Update
For more than a decade, VCE has led a project that takes place while most folks are fast asleep. Learn about our 2018 Whip-poor-will Project survey results, let the call of the Whip-poor-will sweep you back to a warm summer evening (in your mind, anyway), and find out how you can get involved. Read more on the VCE blog.

Alex Wells braves icy cold water of a vernal pool in November for science. /  © Daron Tansley

Vernal Pools Through the Year

Picture a vernal pool in your mind's eye and you're instantly swept away to springtime. Winter snows liquefy and meltwater collects in shallow pockets on the forest floor, followed closely by heaving crowds of spotted salamanders and quacking choruses of wood frogs. It's in the name itself: vernal - relating to, or occurring in the spring.

But here at VCE, our vernal pool research spans all seasons. Alex Wells, our VPMon Coordinator, provides this latest update on off-season vernal pool monitoring activities. Find out about the project, and how you can get involved by reading the update on our website.

Suds & Science in January
© Nathaniel R. Kitchel
Start the new year on an interesting note. Join us to learn about the lives of New England's first human inhabitants - with a cold beverage in hand!

January 8, 2019: 7-8 PM
Stone tools: exploring the lives of New England's first human inhabitants
Come early (6:30 pm) and meet other fans of science in Jasper Murdock's Alehouse at the Norwich Inn.

Over 12,000 years ago, the New England we know now was a very different place, featuring open tundra in place of forests, and huge herds of migratory caribou replacing our familiar white-tailed deer and moose. This was the world of the Paleoindians, the first humans to occupy this region. While our knowledge of these first Native American groups is limited to their stone tools, these implements can help us understand life during the Ice Age, right here in our own backyard.

VCE's Suds & Science is a free event for all ages. All talks are recorded by Community Access Television (CATV), and you can find past talks on VCE's Suds & Science webpage! The next event will be held on February 5, 2019. Stay tuned for details!

Cover photo: © Janet Steward
VCE 2017 Annual Report Online 

VCE's 2017 Annual Report is now online! You can find it, along with previous years' reports, on our website, or  view a copy here.

The report is packed with highlights from 2017, including stories of discovery, citizen engagement, and conservation leadership. Presented on a backdrop of stunning photography contributed by VCE staff and you, our constituents, this is definitely no h o-hum production!

Take a look, and get to know us a little better. If you'd like a printed copy, we'd love to send you one while supplies last. Contact Sarah Carline for more information.
Tufted Titmouse. / © Michele Black / Great Backyard Bird Count.

Wrap up the Year of the Bird this December by Sharing  Your Love of Birds
The holidays are a time to celebrate. Why not also celebrate and share your commitment to birds and bird conservation? All the choices we make and actions we take make a real difference. Over the past year hundreds of thousands of us have participated in the Year of the Bird - planting native plants, minimizing plastic, participating in community science, making our homes bird friendly. Together, it all adds up. So, this month what better way to celebrate the holidays than to share our love of birds? Here are some resources and guides to make it easy:
2018 marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most far-reaching and impactful bird protection law ever passed. In honor of this milestone, VCE has joined forces with people from around the globe to celebrate and recommit to protecting birds, now and into the future.  Year of the Bird  has featured 12 months of storytelling, science, and conservation aimed at highlighting the importance of birds and their conservation - we hope you'll join us in December.
Gray Jay
Gray Jay / © Bryan Pfeiffer
Recurring Gifts: Easier
All Around
Did you know that VCE gladly accepts recurring gifts? Monthly donations allow us to plan on a steady revenue stream, and often make it easier for donors to give more.

What's more, automatic monthly contributions make life easier for you, too!  With just one gift, you will be supporting wildlife conservation every month of the year.

Establishing a recurring gift is easy. Simply visit our secure web page and make your gift today!
Snow Geese rise by the thousands as a Bald Eagle glides over the flock. / © K.P. McFarland
Outdoor Radio: Every Episode Online! 
Have you missed a few episodes? Maybe you want to hear one again or share it with a friend? All 24 episodes are now online. You can  find them on our web page  accompanied by photos and interesting links for more information, or you can  listen to our podcast on iTunes

VCE and  Vermont Public Radio  unite the sounds and science of nature in our monthly feature aired on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at 6:20 PM, and again on Thursday at 7:50 AM. Frogs and ferns, finches and fish - anything is fair game for co-hosts Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra. Join us to explore and uncover some of the mysteries of our natural world.
Photo-observation of the Month
Juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker by vtjohn
Juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker. / © vtjohn

Congratulations to  vtjohn for winning the  November 2018 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. The image of a juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker was the most popular photo-observation.

In the early 1900s, Red-headed Woodpeckers followed crops of American Beech nuts in northern forests, which are much less extensive today. At the same time, the great chestnut blight killed virtually all American Chestnut trees, removing another abundant food source. As a result, Red-headed Woodpeckers may now be more attuned to acorn abundance than beech nuts. Learn about where you might find these birds on VCE's blog 

Visit iNaturalist Vermont, and you can vote for the winner this month by clicking 'fav' on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!

The Vermont Center for Ecostudies promotes wildlife conservation across the Americas using the combined strength of scientific research and citizen engagement. Find us online at: www.vtecostudies.org