The Tonic of Wildness* Burlington Conservation Newsletter Spring 2020

BTV Conservation News

The Pulse of Burlington’s Wild Green Heart
Spring 2020
Issue No. 12

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A Letter from Dan & Alicia 

We assigned the articles in this issue last fall before the corona virus reached our shores.  So in a way, this issue of BTV Conservation News is a time capsule from the “before” landscape.  Still, we want to share these stories with you–windows into the natural world in Burlington.  Even as we shelter in place, the Champlain beachgrass waves its dry stalks along the edge of North Beach, the wildlife whisper their way through our forests, and the natural areas are still places of refuge for you and your loved ones. *In the spirit of Thoreau, and accessing “the tonic of wildness” we hope that you can find ways for nature and our open spaces to safely support and bolster your physical and mental wellness during this time of social distancing and sheltering in place.  

Here are some activities to do with children or you can try some of these playful ideas yourself: Families Exploring Nature

How else can you engage in outdoor activities in Burlington?  Help us create a Phenology Clock for Burlington. Become a Vermont Master Naturalist. If you have a wildlife camera out on your own property in Burlington, please share your photos with us @btvparks on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Create more pollinator habitat in your yard. Spring planting will be here before you know it!

Alicia Daniel, Field Naturalist, BPRW 

Dan Cahill,Land Steward, BPRW

Relics of the Champlain Sea, Half Yard,  Winter Wildlife and UVM Natural Areas

Salt Marsh Relics  of the Champlain Sea

Photo: Grace Glynn

Beluga whales have come and gone from our shoreline in the past 10,000 years, but another living being from that era still grows on our sandy beaches.  Champlain beachgrass is a relic of a time long ago and how it got here is a salty tale indeed. 

Click here to read the article by Grace Glynn

From Half Earth to Half Yard:  Planting to Save the World 

Photo: Kate Kruesi

The path to saving the diversity of life in our native Burlington wetlands, woodlands and wildlands may start right in our own yards and gardens. Restoring half of our tended landscapes to native plants will create new critical habitat for our insects and birds. Here’s how!

Click here to read about the Importance of more Native Plants in Our Yards by Kate Kruesi and Max Madalinski

Click here to read the Native Plant List by Kate Kruesi and Max Madalinski

Burlington Wildlife on the Move 

Photo: BPRW

Trail cameras set up around Burlington have created a window into the world of winter wildlife. Take a peek at who is hunting, playing, and finding mates and shelter in our wild places.

Click here to see more photos   

UVM Natural Areas in Burlington

Photo: Gustave Sexauer

UVM Natural Areas are great places to explore and we are lucky to have two of them right in Burlington.  UVM Natural Areas Steward, Ben Langton, shares his love of Centennial Woods from its history, natural features, and curious landmarks to its many personalities from playful to inspiring to creepy.  Also check out Redstone Quarry.  

Click here to read the article by Ben Langton  

Vermont Master Naturalist BTV Program  

Wild at Heart:
Inside Vermont Master Naturalist

Photo: © Merlee’s Moods

No one becomes a naturalist by accident.  You don’t become one because your high school guidance counselor suggests that it is a good idea.  Alicia Daniel tells her story of what it takes to blaze a trail to being a naturalist, from early days to the creation of the Vermont Master Naturalist Program.  

Click here to read the article by Alicia Daniel

Become a Vermont Master Naturalist: Application for 2020-2021

Photo: Rob Merrifield

Do you love nature?  Do you care about protecting what is special about Vermont?  Are you curious?  Do you like being part of a community of learners?  If your answers are “Yes!” you now have a chance to become a Vermont Master Naturalist. VMN builds community and connects Vermonters to their place through professional training and volunteer projects. 

Click here for the application

A Walk on the Wild Side: VMN BTV visits Ethan Allen Homestead and Derway Island

Photo: Cassidy Motahari

On a snowy day in February members of Vermont Master Naturalist BTV hiked along the Winooski River identifying winter trees and looking at wildlife tracks and signs. They stumbled upon a red fox den, found old fence posts from the 1800s, and examined the husks of a rare American Chestnut tree (left). Next year, you could be one of them.                                                      

Conservation Corner

Craig Smith Shares Good News about Rock Point

Craig Smith

Craig Smith spent summers at Rock Point as a child where his parents, who studied plants as a hobby, modeled paying attention and invited him to drink it all in–to get lost in wonder and awe. “I grew up worshiping at Rock Point and walking the land side by each,” Craig said.  Find out the recent conservation news at Rock Point and how it grew out of the past.

Click here to read the article about Craig Smith

Burlington Phenology Clock

Beaked Hazelnut Bloom

Red-winged Blackbirds, Killdeer, and Wood Ducks are back.  Silver Maple buds are beginning to swell and flower.  Studies based on the records that Henry David Thoreau and other naturalists kept for Concord, MA in the middle of the 19th century have found that the flowering of plants, leaf-out, butterfly emergence and the arrivals of some migratory birds are occurring earlier now than they did 165 years ago – anywhere from a day to three weeks earlier depending on the species – driven mostly by warmer spring temperatures, writes naturalist Mary Holland.  Help us document these signs of the seasons and the changes that are happening. 

Click here to learn how!   

2019 Restoration Ecology UVM

Professor Bill Keeton Recognized for his Service Learning Work with BPRW   

Over the last 5 years, Professor Bill Keeton has been partnering with BPRW to create more resiliency in Burlington’s open spaces.

Click here to learn more   

Burlington Area Community Gardens

Update to BACG Gardeners

BPRW is monitoring the evolving COVID-19 safety guidelines, instructions, and mandates as they relate to the BACG program. BPRW acknowledges the important and vital role that BACG plays in our local food network and we are committed to ensuring it is a resource available this season. We are focused on adapting BACG program guidelines and infrastructure so that when the season gets going we can all participate safely. We will have an update about the garden season available by April 17. Until we have an adapted garden plan in place, we ask that all gardeners refrain from visiting the sites. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding in these challenging times.

In community, Meghan and Dan

Save The Date: Field Walks, Talks, and Events

Burlington Phenology Clock:  Signs of the Seasons

Burlington Geographic, Burlington Wildways, Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront, and Burlington City and Lake Semester invite you to help us create a Phenology Clock. 

Click here to learn how to be involved!

Branch Out Burlington: Click here for details

Burlington Permaculture
For information about the Bi-Monthly Burlington Permaculture Meetup on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month visit Burlington Permaculture on Facebook to RSVP and for more details.

BTV Conservation News edited by Alicia Daniel, Gustave Sexauer, and Dan Cahill 
Banner Photo:  BPRW

City of Burlington – Parks, Recreation & Waterfront, 645 Pine St. Suite B, Burlington, VT 05401