February 2019 --- -- -------- ------------ ------------``` `` ------------ ---- - - View as Webpage
Nature Notes
  
It was an absolutely gorgeous mid-winter day – bright sunshine, no wind and 20°F - as I stood on the ice, looking out on a record crowd of people at the Fish & Wildlife Department's Ice Fishing Festival at Knight Point State Park in South Hero, Vermont. 

It was my first go at ice fishing, and I was thrilled that my 15-year-old daughter was an enthusiastic partner for this outing. We learned about the kinds of fish we might catch as well as how to tie knots and set tip-ups. 

At the festival, my daughter, (pictured left) was also able to try her hand at augering a hole (under the watchful eye of Adam Miller, our Fish Culture Operations Manager). The look of concentration on her face was quickly replaced with an ear-to-ear grin as she drilled thru the 12 inches of ice. Seeing nearly 700 people out on the ice during the festival, enjoying Vermont’s outdoors was a living expression of the Agency’s mission: to connect people to nature and to protect these special places. 
 
If you missed this event, the Fish & Wildlife Department has many more fun family-friendly events happening this winter. I invite you to join us, whether it's for the first time or the five-hundredth. We'll be happy to have you.
Julie Moore

Two powerful tools help users visualize water quality improvements town by town
Dam removal project on the Passumpsic River in East Burke
While individual clean water projects are often modest in scope and limited in their everyday visibility, their cumulative effect across the landscape is significant. During the last 3 years, the State has increased its investment in clean water by 260%. Two new tools are now available to help users see how these projects have improved water quality:

  1. The Clean Water Investment Report offers stories and data visualization detailing where and why dollars have been spent.
  2. The new Clean Water Projects Dashboard makes it easy to track every water quality project that's been implemented in Vermont. Users can search for projects by region or topic area and download individual reports.

International Day of Women & Girls in Science
February 11 is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science . Celebrate the day by getting to know a few of the Agency's talented scientists.
Amy Alfieri
Wildlife Biologist, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department

What’s one of your most memorable days in the field? My colleague and I were out on a marsh monitoring duck boxes and banding hens. In one box, we discovered a hooded merganser that was stuck, so we set her free. Having finished in the marsh, we loaded the canoe and drove down the road. As we were driving, I yelled for my colleague to stop because I spotted a baby barred owl in the road. I got out with my gloves on and put the owl up in a tree. We continued down the road to the railroad crossing and saw...[ continue reading ]
Marjorie Gale
Vermont State Geologist and Director, Vermont Geological Survey, Department of Environmental Conservation

What inspires you? I am definitely inspired and rejuvenated by being outdoors in distant and quiet places. I also thrive on a day in the field with some friends and colleagues. It is good exercise for the brain and the body... [ continue reading ]
Trish Hanson
Forest Health Entomologist, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation

What’s one of your most memorable days in the field?  Before the destructive emerald ash borer was discovered in Vermont last year, I was involved in bio surveillance work, looking for the destructive beetle by tracking the activities of a solitary ground-nesting wasp called Cerceris fumipennis , now known by the common name smoky-winged beetle bandit. To feed her young, the female wasp... [ continue reading ]
Lindsay Miller
Environmental Scientist, Lake and Shoreland Regional Permit Analyst, Department of Environmental Conservation  

What led you to a career in the sciences? As I kid, I was either on my bike or “making potions” out of moss and twigs in the woods – I have always loved being outside and seeing what things were made of. Going into Biology and Environmental Science was a natural progression of my childhood interests... [ continue reading ]
Winter in the Woods
For Governor Scott’s initiative to visit each county along with his Cabinet members, Essex County was declared Vermont’s Capitol for a Day on January 29. Secretary Julie Moore spent part of the day on an active logging job on Weyerhaeuser’s forestland. This modern logging operation is taking full advantage of software and technology to plan and track its harvest, as well as protect important natural areas.
 
Sierra Girouard, one Weyerhaeuser’s staff foresters, showed Julie how she and her team use GPS data and mapping software to identify specific stands of trees and proscribe an approach for harvest. In the same mapping software, Sierra also identifies important natural areas, such as streams and wetlands, and the buffer areas that need to be maintained around them.
 
With more than two feet of snow on the ground, Sierra was able to walk the group directly to a place where the logging road crosses a stream - a place that otherwise would have been hard to find and, in turn, would have made it virtually impossible for the logger to ensure the buffer was protected. Sierra explained that she and her team worked all summer and fall to plan the harvest and, once complete, she provided an iPad, pre-loaded with her harvest plan, to the logger who is using it as a careful guide for the work.  

From the Field
While in Essex County, Secretary Moore also had the opportunity to join Vermont State Game Warden Warden Randy Hazard for a ride-along. It was an incredible opportunity to experience first-hand the critical role our wardens play in Vermont.
 
When Julie hopped in his truck, Warden Hazard was heading out to follow up on two separate reports of a sick moose deep back on Essex County’s forest highways. He suspected the animal was likely suffering from brain worm. It took more than an hour to locate the young bull moose, including stopping several times to look for animal sign. Unfortunately, once they found the moose, its condition clearly indicated that it needed to be euthanized.
 
“Warden Hazard was an incredible, knowledgeable host, “said Julie. “He graciously answered my steady stream of questions about the numerous facets of his job – everything from his experience in community-based law enforcement that is the hallmark of our wardens, to what types of animals and animal injuries lend themselves to rehabilitation, to what sorts of outdoor recreation he enjoys in his free time.”
 
This story is just one of many that illustrates the invaluable work our wardens do. If you haven't had a chance to listen to last month's episode of Rumble Strip with host Erica Heilman, here's the link to the show featuring Game Warden Jeff Whipple. Erica makes an important point in the episode: "Game wardens are like Nature’s cops. They’re trained in law enforcement, but they’re also conservationists. Their job is to look after the wilderness areas and forests that make up 75 percent of Vermont.”   
You're Invited: Upcoming Events
Forest Management 101 Webinar
(Online class)
Wednesday, February 13 | 6:30-7:30 pm

Are you a woodland owner? If you would like to learn more about timber harvests, this webinar is for you. Ethan Tapper, Chittenden County Forester for the Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, will present a webinar to provide an overview of considerations related to active forest management, from planning to implementation and through follow-up. The goal for this presentation is to give landowners and laypeople an introductory understanding of the factors involved in planning and implementing a successful, responsible timber harvest. The webinar is free to attend, but registration is required.

Clean Water Conversations:
2018 Clean Water Investment Report & Online Dashboard
Winooski Conference Room (M240), National Life Complex, Montpelier
February 14 | 11:00-12:00 PM

Love clean water? Learn more about the state’s efforts to restore it this Valentine’s Day through a public presentation and online webinar on the Clean Water Investment Report and Clean Water Projects Dashboard. Join the Department of Environmental Conservation Clean Water Initiative Program’s Assistant Manager, Emily Bird, and Operations Manager, Helen Carr Thursday, February 14, from 11:00 am - 12:00 pm.

To attend in person, please RSVP to anr.cleanwatervt@vermont.gov
Can’t travel to Montpelier? Join us online via Skype .
Tell Me More with Secretary Moore
Dewey Building, 1 National Life Drive, Montpelier VT
Tuesday, February 26 | 4-5pm

Join a discussion about a variety of environmental topics on Tuesday, February 26. The conversation will start with a discussion on electric vehicles in Vermont. The floor will then be opened up to the public to share thoughts, ideas, questions and concerns about Vermont’s natural world – from land and water to plants and wildlife. For those not able to make it in person, a Facebook Live stream will be available on ANR's Facebook page .

Tracking Wildlife in Winter
Dead Creek Visitor Center, Addison, VT
Sunday, March 3 |10 am - noon

Vermonters of all ages are invited to learn about winter wildlife tracking. This guided walk is free and open to the public, and registration is required. Ali Thomas, education manager for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, will be leading the walk. Participants are asked to wear appropriate clothing and footwear for walking in the snowy woods.

Backyard Sugaring
Department of Forest, Parks & Recreation Office
471 North Main St., Rutland, VT
Wednesday, March 6 | 6:30-8:00 pm

Do you have a few maple trees that you've thought about tapping? Join Kyle Mason, Rutland/Bennington County Forester for a presentation on how to set up your own backyard sugaring operation. No cost to attend. Pre-registration by  email  requested. Email info@vermontwoodlands.org to register.
Tracking Wildlife in Winter
Turner Hill Wildlife Management Area Grafton, VT
Saturday, March 9 | 9am – 1pm

Wildlife Biologist Chris Bernier has spent his career working with mid-size mammals such as fisher, fox and the elusive lynx and American marten. Much of his field work with these species has involved tracking them in the snow. Come learn Bernier’s tricks for tracking these and other wild mammals and birds. This tour is sponsored by The Nature Museum in Grafton, Vermont. Backup date: Sunday, March 10.

Introduction to Fly Tying
Montpelier, VT
Tuesday evenings |6-8pm on February 19, and March 5, 12, and 19

Learn the basics of fly tying in this fun, hands-on course! Course topics will include terminology, tools and basic fly patterns. This course is part of a partnership between the Mad Dog Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Vermont Fish & Wildlife.

For additional information, send a note to letsgofishing@vermont.gov.
Vermont State Parks is hiring!
We’re looking for fun people that love the outdoors to fill a variety of positions: park managers and assistant managers, attendants, lifeguards, interpreters, maintenance staff and more.

For more information and to apply online, visit our  website
STAY CONNECTED