Do you know what threats, both global and local, face our forests and our forest economy? Are you concerned that climate change and invasive species could change the composition of our forests as we know them? Is Windham County really the “Timber Capital of Vermont?”
The Windham Regional Commission’s recently-released report, “Landscape Based Forest Stewardship,” provides insight into topics such as these, including what strategies exist to preserve the region’s forestlands. The report, available at www.windhamregional.org/forestry, is the result of several years of work by WRC, with support from a project steering committee made up of area natural resource and forestry professionals.
Ringling Bros is going to end the era of elephants performing in their circuses in the near future.
I have mixed feelings about this, given where we are in history. Elephant population has dropped significantly, so much that they could become extinct within decades. Hundreds are killed each day for ivory, meat, and trophy.
I like elephants and would hope we don’t eliminate them from the planet. I don’t want to see them abused, either.
I worry that freeing them from circuses and zoos won’t be enough to protect them. That is, I worry we are trading some good feelings about ending abuse at a circus, when wealthy hunters may just kill them all anyway.
The seasonal frozen precipitation continues. Brattleboro should have an abundance of new flakes by morning.
Anyone doing anything interesting?
The snow continues to fall here at the iBrattleboro world headquarters. The temperatures are low, as they have been for quite a few weeks, but this time around we have been given some snow. Quite a bit. There seem to be about 8 to 12 inches out there so far, and no signs of it stopping anytime soon.
I like the way everything is quiet when the snow is like this. No one is out driving around. Everyone is waiting for it to pass.
It's a bit early, and we may not get much more than a regular amount of snow here in Brattleboro, but the big weather news for New England is the blizzard of 2015.
Feel free to share weather-related tidbits here. I know we just about all have either friends and/or family somewhere in the path of this storm, and we may end up getting quite a bit here by the end of it all. Check the weather section for all the latest forecasts, warnings, and links to many weather sites.
That's all the storm hype you will get from me. Enjoy the snow, and stay smart and safe!
A story in the Guardian reports on two new studies of the environment. The short version: it’s worse than imagined for humans.
The studies from the Australian National University and the Stockholm Resilience Centre have some stark conclusions. They looked at what makes life on earth possible and found that we’re in the red zone for 4 out of 9 of the core componets of life.
For the moment, the snow falling outside looks quite wonderful. It's somewhat heavy looking, falling fast and straight with occasional gusts to blow it around.
I have yet to think too much about shovelling it, and can just appreciate this first covering over of autmn remnants.
Check the local weather for the latest in forecasts, don't drive unless you absolutely have to, and have a safe and warm Thanksgiving.
I found a little lady bug and didn't have the heart to put it out in the cold, what with the weather going below freezing at night. So, I looked up ladybugs on the internet and found you can keep one as a pet. I took in a green pumpkin that had never ripened and followed instructions to care for it. Just a paper towel around the stem, a few drops of water a day on the paper towel so the lady bug can suck the water out, and a drop of honey a day for food. I've had my pet lady bug for about 10 days now, she did leave for 2 days, then returned to her green pumpkin.
It was early September and I was standing on my back porch enjoying a bit of afternoon sunshine, when I saw a large butterfly, dusky winged but with the telltale tails of the swallowtail, fluttering down the driveway. For some reason that I did not at that moment comprehend, she (for she it was) seemed fascinated by the two orange trees growing in pots outside. She fluttered from leaf to leaf, never staying on one for long. And then it hit me. She’s laying eggs. Oh no! She’s laying eggs in September in Vermont! Which is how I came to have a family of giant swallowtail caterpillars on my porch, over whom I am anxiously watching as the nights get colder and their prospects as children of nature diminish....
It's Source-to-Sea Clean-up season!
The Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA) will partner with the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) in the annual Source-to-Sea Clean-up along our local waterways that feed the Connecticut River - and we hope that you will join us!
On Saturday, September 27th at 9 AM we will meet as a group at the Dummerston covered bridge parking lot on Route 30. Clean-up efforts will begin at the covered bridge and then participants will organize into teams to clean-up at the several sites along the West River between Brattleboro and Newfane. We will be cleaning-up on land, not on the water - so boats will not be needed. The clean-up session will end by noon.
SeVWA’s 2014 River Monitoring was Completed on September 10th (Provided by L. Callahan, Sep. 12, 2014)
August 27th was the last full river sampling day of Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance’s (SeVWA’s) 2014 river monitoring program, but there was one more monitoring day on Sep. 10th at three sites on the Saxtons River and one on the Williams River.
SeVWA’s 2014 river monitoring season – from mid-June through this week – included 26 stream sites where water quality samples were collected by volunteers. The sampling was scheduled for evry 2 weeks. Those 26 sites were along the West River, North Branch Brook, Rock River, Williams River, Middle Branch Williams River, Saxtons River and Whetstone Brook. The parameters tested were Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, air & water temperature, three nutrient parameters, turbidity and conductivity.
Vermont Department of Health has announced that they have discovered mosquitoes in areas of Windham County including Brattleboro that have tested positive for West Nile Virus. Please direct anyone with questions about West Nile Virus to information on the Vermont Department of Health Web Site, www.healthvermont.gov.
The Town has been in contact with representatives from the Vermont Department of Health who continue to urge people to take normal precautions when outdoors, and to follow the recommendations listed on the attached Health Department flyer.
August 27th was the last full river sampling day of Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance’s (SeVWA’s) 2014 river monitoring program. There will be one more monitoring day for a small number of sites on September 10th. In 2014 SeVWA’s monitoring program included 26 river and stream sites. Those sites were along the West River, North Branch Brook, Rock River, Williams River, Middle Branch Williams River, Saxtons River and Whetstone Brook.
Most children in the southeastern Vermont region headed back to school this week and, with the start of school and Labor Day Weekend upon us, many consider summer over. However, summer is still officially here and the weather will remain quite “summery” through the coming week. Recreational use of our region’s rivers will continue into the fall.
Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance’s (SeVWA’s) water quality monitoring program was begun about 10 years ago. At that time, the organization was known as West River Watershed Alliance (WRWA). In 2014 there are 26 river and stream sites that SeVWA is monitoring and those sites are in the West River and Williams River watersheds and along the Saxtons River and Whetstone Brook. There are 26 volunteers that sample at those sites every 2 weeks during the summer, with 8 additional volunteers filling-in for the “regulars” on occasional days during the monitoring season. This summer the river monitoring program began on Wednesday, June 18th. The last 2014 sampling date at all sites will be on August 27th.
"How likely: 2 out 4 How severe: 3 out of 4"
"Rain is expected to overspread the region from west to east this evening. The rain will become heavy at times late tonight continuing into Wednesday. The rain may be accompanied by embedded thunderstorms resulting in torrential rainfall. Rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches in one hour are possible in a few locations. This will bring the potential for urban and localized flash flooding. Some small stream flooding is also possible.
Recommended actions: Act quickly. Move to higher ground at once. Get away from places subject to rapid flooding, such as dry Creek Beds or places along streams. Avoid already flooded areas."
This lonely volunteer shaft of corn is growing downtown, near the firehouse.
I don’t think its corn.
Looks more like sorghum, but I don’t think sorghum grows in Vermont.
If it is, how did it get here?
This past Wednesday, July 30th, marked the fourth sampling day of the season for river monitoring by Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA). Earlier in the week heavy rains and thunderstorms brought severe flooding to some towns in our sampling region which includes the West, Williams, and Saxtons rivers as well as North Branch Brook, Rock River, and the Whetstone Brook.
August is vacation month and as everyone prepares to head to new or traditional vacation places, please think about how you can help to maintain healthy waterways. Some of these ways are complying with boating laws and regulations, carrying out all trash, and making sure harsh chemicals are disposed of properly. Also, checking boating equipment for aquatic invasive species helps to prevent the spread of non-native plants and animals into waterways. Think about the steps of CLEAN, DRAIN and DRY as you recreate on waterbodies or move your activities from one waterbody to another. Taking these steps will help prevent the transport of invasive aquatic species from one waterbody to another.
In the iBrattleboro’s column “Today In Local History” of July 28, 2014 the leading entry from 1860 reported:
“A meteoric body was seen passing through the heavens over this village at apparently no very great height on Friday evening of last week. The time was about ten o’clock and not more than a minute was occupied in the passage of the brilliant object. It lighted up the heavens with great brilliancy, and with its long and illuminating train it was momentarily thought to be an enormous piece of fireworks.”
On Oct 20, 2012 Halley's Comet Orionid Shower visited the Northern Hemisphere and on that night standing in the center of Prospect Graveyard on South Main Street three Brattleboro residents had agreed to meet at 10pm. This is my email newsletter sent the next day:
The Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA) had their third 2014 river monitoring day on Wednesday, July 16th, marking the halfway point of the sampling season. Volunteers successfully collected 26 samples from sites along the West, Williams, Middle Branch Williams and Saxtons Rivers as well as North Branch Brook, Rock River and the Whetstone Brook. Many of the results indicated very high E. colii levels. There were extremely heavy rains in the days preceding which likely washed contaminants from the land into the water resulting in these high numbers. The presence of E. coli in the water indicates a likely fecal contamination by warm-blooded animals. Swimming in water with an E.
On July 2nd SeVWA (Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance) successfully collected water samples from all 26 sites along the West, Williams, and Saxton rivers as well as the Whetstone brook. The E. coli results from our second sampling day of the summer can be found in the attached charts.
When reviewing the results please keep in mind that the samples were collected prior to the rain we just experienced and E. coli levels have a tendency to spike after it rains. This is due to run-off washing into the rivers and carrying animal, pet or human waste. The general rule is to wait 24-48 hours after a rain event before swimming in the rivers to minimize risk of waterborne illnesses.