eNews | November 2020
Stark, a radio-collared male bear, rests on a bed of balsam fir after being checked by biologists. Soon after this image was taken, his den was covered back over with logs, sticks, and snow. © K.P. McFarland
A Field Guide to November
With November comes a stronger nip to the morning air as wildlife busily prepares for the long, cold months ahead. There is a sense of fall finality as the last deciduous trees drop their leaves. November also hails some of Vermont's winter migrants, arriving just in time to catch the first flakes. Learn about luminous larches, strategic shrews, butcher birds, black bears, and more in our Field Guide to November.
VPMon Science Update:
"Seeing" Sounds from the Pools
Manual annotation of a spectrogram for Spring Peeper and Wood Frog calls.
Red indicates higher volume.
Over the past three years, VCE's Vermont Vernal Pool Monitoring project (VPMon) has collected more than 1,000 hours of audio recordings from volunteer-monitored vernal pools. So, what will we do with this mountain of data? Learn how VPMon Coordinator Kevin Tolan sifts through and manipulates the data to “see sounds,” and the scientific value that can be extracted in his latest interactive report on the VCE website. You'll see that there's more to the eye than meets the ear.  
Introducing VCE's New Annual Report Format
Check Out the 2019 Interactive Year in Review!
Andrena parnassiae © K.P. McFarland
VCE's milestones during 2019 encompassed conservation gains, scientific discoveries, and community science benchmarks. With our volunteers and partners, we stewarded more than 100 nesting loon pairs in Vermont, published ground-breaking full life cycle research on Upland Sandpipers, Grasshopper Sparrows, and Bobolinks, launched Birder Broker and the Vermont Vernal Pool Atlas, and surveyed untrammeled cloud forests in Cuba. These and other accomplishments highlighted in the 2019 annual report were fueled by passion, vision, perseverance, collaboration, and… by you, our constituents.

Find your zen by watching Spencer Hardy's cover video (slowed down to 30% of original speed) of an Andrena parnassiae bee collecting pollen from it's only host plant, fen-grass-of-Parnassus, before scrolling down to the full report. Filled with full-sized images and videos, this virtual report is best viewed on a large screen.
Join Julia Every Wednesday
for iNaturalist Lunchtime Learning
Screenshot from one of Julia's earlier Lunchtime Learning online sessions.
Join VCE's Community Science Outreach Naturalist Julia Pupko each week on Wednesday from 12 - 1 p.m. for Lunchtime Learning! Over the course of the hour, Julia will give a short lesson on how to use a feature of iNaturalist through the lens of a seasonally-relevant Vermont natural history topic, and will answer any questions you may have. Sign up for the series by clicking the registration link on our Events page. You can also check out previous Lunchtime Learning webinars on VCE's Multimedia web page.
New! Mountain Birdwatch Explorer
The data presented are maximum detections of each species at individual sampling stations, averaged to each route. When multiple routes are selected within drawn shapes, the focal average is calculated between those routes.
VCE's inaugural Mountain Ecology Technician, Pete Kerby-Miller, created this slick new application to interactively explore Mountain Birdwatch data.

Many Mountain Birdwatchers survey the same routes year after year, developing a sense for how populations might vary at that site over time. This tool combines the observations of hundreds of community scientists over nearly a decade. We hope that you will use it to ask whether the patterns you understand for your local area or this past season hold over regional scales and multiple years. Data is only as informative as the questions we all ask of it.

Launch the app on our website - and contact Pete with your questions and suggestions!
Suds & Science is Back on Tap
(Virtually) in January
Hosted by VCE biologist Jason Hill, Suds & Science is a scientist-led community discussion that provides a forum for science fans (like you!) to engage with an expert through compelling personal narratives, and gain understanding on a particular scientific research topic. These discussions have historically taken place at a warm and inviting Norwich tavern, with foamy beverages in hand.

Due to COVID-19, this season Suds & Science will meet virtually (so BYOB!) in an interactive interview-style format. The 2021 schedule is listed below so you can mark your calendars. All events will run from 7-8 p.m., and require registration via Zoom links that will eventually appear on the Suds & Science webpage:

  • January 5: Ryan Rebozo [New Jersey Pinelands Preservation Alliance]–A community approach to conserving rare plant communities in the Pinelands
  • February 2: Vivek Shandas [Portland State University]–Urban heat wave effects on human and environmental health
  • March 2: Angela Laws [Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation]–Insect conservation in a warming world
  • April 6: Simone Whitecloud [Dartmouth]–Life on the edge: alpine plant communities
  • May 4: TBD

VCE's Suds & Science is a free event for all ages. You can find past talks as well as this season's line-up on VCE's Suds & Science webpage. We'll see you online!
Set It and Forget It
Support Wildlife All Year Long
Monthly recurring contributions are a terrific way to simplify your giving and help keep VCE's conservation wheels turning.

It's easy to support VCE’s wildlife conservation work throughout the entire year. A modest monthly contribution$5 or $10 per monthcould be relatively painless for your bank account, but make a huge impact for VCE. Many of our recurring gift donors say that giving a smaller gift every month allows them to give more than they could in a lump sum.

For VCE, having steady, predictable cash flow is now more important than ever. Please consider converting your gift to a monthly recurring contribution, and visit VCE's online donation page to set it up. However you choose to contribute, please know that we deeply appreciate your support for VCE and your commitment to wildlife conservation.
Outdoor Radio:
On the Hunt for Invasive Worms
Invasive jumping worms (a.k.a. crazy worms, snake worms) © K.P. McFarland
In this episode of Outdoor Radio, you'll find hosts Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra at the Green Mountain Audubon Center in Huntington, Vermont. They are joined by Mark Labarr, Conservation Program Manager for the Green Mountain Audubon Center, Dr. Josef Görres, from the Plant and Soil Science department at UVM and a graduate student studying snake worms, Maryam Nouri-Aiin. Join them as they search the forest floor, in the rain, looking for invasive species of worms.

Jumping worms, AKA crazy worms, jumpers, or snake worms, are invasive earthworms recently found in Vermont. When handled, they violently thrash, spring into the air and can even shed their tails to escape. In North America, these voracious feeders eat the organic surface layer on forest floors, which hampers the growth of tree seedlings and many understory plants. Listen to this episode and see photos from the show on our website. You won't want to miss it!

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. You can also listen to every episode online on VCE's website. Frogs and ferns, finches and fishanything 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
Wooly Alder Aphid by Pete Kerby-Miller
Wooly Alder Aphid (Prociphilus tessellatus) © Pete Kerby-Miller (iNaturalist) licensed under CC-BY-NC
Congratulation to Pete Kerby-Miller for winning the October 2020 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist. Pete’s image of a congregation of Woolly Alder Aphids (Prociphilus tessellatus) received the most ‘faves’ from other iNaturalists. Some of you may recognize Pete as VCE’s Mountain Ecology Technician, serving with us as an ECO AmeriCorps Member. With nearly 9,000 observations submitted by 1,603 observers in October, it was very competitive. Visit our blog to view the runners-up!

Woolly Alder Aphids are hardy November insects, and the blue, fuzzy specks seen above are in their wingless, immature stage. Often these aphids can be found gathered in a mass on speckled alder, sucking liquids and covered with a waxy white coating resembling cotton or wool. The adult stage retains some of the fuzz and blue coloration and also grows wings, so be on the lookout for these flying “Blue Fuzzy-Butts” this season.

Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist, where 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 discoveriesand 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: vtecostudies.org