During the Fall, Winter and Spring, the New Haven Conservation Commission holds a series of free presentations on various subjects covering everything from wildlife, habitat conservation to the Vermont Landscape presented by experts on the subject. Past presentations included: Birds of Vermont, The Life of the Coyote, The Elusive Moose, White-Tailed Deer, Clayplain Forests of Vermont and Bats of Vermont. These events are held indoors as well as outdoor field trips.
As you’re dreaming of spring and the gardens to come, think about planting native plants for those who share our spaces - birds, butterflies, bees, and more. While it may seem unnecessary because of the extent of open land here, much of it is given over to agricultural crops, invasive plant species, development, and lawns, none of which are as useful to insects and birds as native plants that evolved with them. We need insects to pollinate our plants and to feed the birds we enjoy watching. Who knows, if we plant wisely for the birds, maybe we can have them nearby to watch without having birdfeeders drawing in bears.
In this installment of our 'Virtual Armchair Naturalist' series, we'd like to share videos and resources about planting native plants. Doug Tallamy (bestselling author of Nature’s Best Hope) spoke in Vermont in November 2019, about the important role of native plants in restoring ecologies and how to incorporate them in our yards. It’s just under an hour long and full of fascinating photographs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrRJm-yLsQ8
For an introduction, you might want to watch this 5 minute episode of Across the Fence in which Extension Agent Leonard Perry interviews Tallamy after publication of his previous book, Bringing Nature Home. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFZgOVszhi0
Last winter the Otter Creek Audubon Society sponsored a talk on Plants for Birds by Gwen Causer of Vermont Audubon, in which she explained the four food groups birds need and demonstrated the native plant database that will give recommendations for our area. This is about 50 minutes long.
Here is a link to the native plant database, along with further information: https://vt.audubon.org/plants-birds
For those who prefer to read, the library has The Pollinator Victory Garden: Win the War on Pollinator Decline with Ecological Gardening by Kim Eierman.
Wildfire has been a common theme in the news these past few weeks and increasingly it feels like it has become an annual ’natural disaster’ with sometimes devastating repercussions on the lives of our western neighbors. But not all fire is bad - in fact, fire is a regular and important part of these ecosystems, and the solutions to help prevent, mitigate, and manage wildfires might be simpler than one might think. In fact, many of these strategies have been perfected by indigenous peoples around the world. And while wildfire is something few of us have come to know living here in the humid northeast, with dry summers like we’ve experienced in 2020, it could become possible that learning to appreciate and live with fire may become an ever increasing reality in this part of the world.
In this installment of our ‘Virtual Armchair Naturalist’ series, we’d like to share a few short videos on the fundamentals of wildfire and ‘fire ecology’, along with some of the ways these rediscovered understandings have begun to recognize and employ traditional ecological knowledge and management. So here are a small sampling of short videos on the subject. Of course as with all things web-based, these recommendations will quite possibly lead you down some other very interesting and interrelated rabbit holes.
Enjoy and give thanks to the rain that we so desperately need!
A Better Way to Think About Wildland Fires by the US Forest Service - a broad introduction to the role, benefits and challenges of fire in the western United States
Misconceptions and Benefits of Fire
Introduction to Fire Ecology - This 8-minute video is a bit ’science-y’ but it provides a really good and concise overview of the fundamentals of fire ecology.
How indigenous knowledge can help control wildfires
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