Vermont Research News

Amphibian road kill
New research from Maine shows a sharp decrease in amphibian deaths due to decreased traffic last spring. Fewer cars meant fewer frogs, salamanders and other wildlife killed by vehicles. The coordinator of Vermont’s Reptile and Amphibian Atlas observed a similar decline in the state. In May 2020 there were 40% fewer vehicles on Vermont’s roads on some key road corridors, according to data from the Vermont Agency of Transportation. 

Energy transition has unequal benefits
A new study suggests that gaps in Vermont’s renewable energy policies are leaving behind vulnerable people. Using nearly 600 surveys and interviews, the study shows that low-income, non-white and renting Vermonters are less likely to have access to renewable energy systems and the other related benefits. The study suggests that Vermonters in these categories don’t see the same benefits from energy transitions as wealthier and whiter residents.

Tracking town ARPA funds
Vermont towns are set to receive about $200 million dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act. A new tracker from Vermont’s Public Assets Institute details funding by town.  For more information on ARPA funds and Vermont towns see also the Vermont League of Cities and Towns ARPA website.

Politics and Memes
Social media memes have an effect on how many adolescents in U.S. states, including Vermont, view politics. Countless memes came about during the 2020 election. After Trump’s loss and Biden’s victory, memes were posted on many social media platforms with the intent of both spreading news and creating a source of community. Moving forward, researchers would like to see what lasting impact of memes will have on politics and how much actual political discourse was done with memes. (Note, Bernie’s mittens are featured).

Postpartum depression 
new study suggests that during the pandemic, Vermont women with private insurance have experienced greater postpartum depression than those on Medicaid. The study, which looked at 300 postpartum patients, showed that women on Medicaid scored lower on a postpartum depression screen. Women on private insurance reported “more depression symptoms six weeks postpartum during the pandemic.” Researchers believe further study is needed to see whether the trend is related to specific economic factors or employment status. 

Plastics’ emissions outstrip coal
new report by the Bennington College based Beyond Plastics finds that plastic production will produce more carbon than coal by 2030. Fossil fuel companies are turning to plastic production as a new source of revenue the report finds, with current emissions from plastics production equivalent to 116 coal-fired power plants. 

New forest monitoring tool 
The Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative, based in Burlington, has launched a new online tool focused on forests across the northeastern U.S. The tool allows users to filter the programs based on a set of climate-change indicators across categories like aquatic systems, forest systems, trees and wildlife. The tool includes details about 350 programs in Vermont, New York and greater New England. Part of the goal is to give landowners, land managers and researchers standard protocols that they can use in their own monitoring programs. 
Vermont’s future?!
After an extensive public process, the Vermont Center for Rural Development — with many collaborators — has published a list of ten topics and ideas on the big issues facing 
the future of Vermont, called the Vermont Proposition. 
Find the list here.  And watch the Vermont Futures Project’s interviews with some of of the  state’s economic thought leaders here

New book: On Being a Vermonter
A new book by Panton author David Holmes probes what it means to be a Vermonter through chronicling the history of his family’s multigenerational farm on the state’s frontier. The book, “On Being a Vermonter and the Rise of Fall of the Holmes Farm 1822-1923,” is a case study of a Vermont farm from the early 1800s to the early 1900s. The book draws on first-hand documents, photos and more to piece together a family history. The books are available at your local book store, on the web, or from the Center for Research on Vermont – email Emily Anderson.  Have a book you want to publish

Vermont Events 
Haunted Halloween Hayrides – October 22
The Mountaintop at Weston Playhouse – through October 23
Halloween Howl at North Beach – October 23
Rock Solid at Studio Place Arts – through October 30
14th Star Monster Mash – October 30 
Rutland Halloween Parade – October 30 
Burlington Halloween Bike Ride – October 31
Vermont Dept of Health
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