• VCE Blog

    VCE Presentations from the 2021 Northeast Natural History Conference

    VCE Presentations from the 2021 Northeast Natural History Conference

    VCE staff members presented at the virtual 2021 Northeast Natural History Conference in April. Their presentations were pre-recorded and are now available to you to enjoy!

    Tribute to Steve Parren — a Conservation Champion and VCE Friend

    Tribute to Steve Parren — a Conservation Champion and VCE Friend

    Steve Parren, longtime cornerstone of non-game wildlife conservation efforts at the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, will soon retire. VCE salutes this conservation champion and reflects on his remarkable legacy.

    V C E Biologist Spencer Hardy safely holds a stingless male Golden Northern Bumble Bee (Bombus fervidus). © Spencer Hardy.

    Powerlines and pollinators: undervalued and underappreciated

    Just as hayfields are essential habitat for grassland birds like Bobolinks, consensus is building that the scrubby open habitat maintained under utility rights-of-way (ROW) plays an important role in the conservation of a diverse suite of wildlife. We’re looking to connect with landowners in north-central Vermont with ROWs on their property about conducting weekly surveys for pollinators this summer.

    April 2021 Photo-observation of the Month

    April 2021 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Erin Talmage for winning the April 2021 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on…

    Field Guide to May 2021

    Field Guide to May 2021

    Bees buzzing, birds migrating, lady beetles emerging from hibernation, and so much more! Celebrate the spectacle of spring phenology in this Field Guide to May.

    Vermont Town Birding Challenge

    Vermont Town Birding Challenge

    Vermont’s 251 towns offer up a vast array of habitats and birdlife. Recently, Vermont birder Bob Heitzman accomplished his goal of birding in each of Vermont’s 251 towns, a monumental achievement! Learn how focusing your birding efforts at the town level can be rewarding in so many different ways.

    Field Guide to April 2021

    Field Guide to April 2021

    Migrating birds, blooming flowers, and (of course) mud season. April in Vermont is upon us, and spring is here! Find out what’s happening outside in your Field Guide to April.

    March 2021 Photo-observation of the Month

    March 2021 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Charlotte Bill for winning the March 2021 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on…

    When Porcupines Dance

    When Porcupines Dance

    This past winter, Steve Faccio employed game cams to video-record activity at two different porcupine dens to see how frequently, if at all, fishers (and other predators) visited the dens. Read on to find out what he learned and watch the action unfold!

    a bobcat track in snow

    Mammal Big Year: Winter Update

    Mammals are on the move, and Pete Kerby-Miller is tracking them. Find out what they found in this Mammal Big Year Winter Update!

    A Giant Leap Northward for a Butterfly

    A Giant Leap Northward for a Butterfly

    Our study published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution this week shows an unusually rapid northward range shift by the Eastern Giant Swallowtail.

    Field Guide to March 2021

    Field Guide to March 2021

    In early March, snowbanks and frosty mornings remind us it’s still winter–but by month’s end longer days and warmer winds prevail. On March 20, the vernal equinox marks the arrival of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Here are some signs of spring to look for in the natural world to tide you over until warmer weather truly arrives.

    February 2021 Photo-observation of the Month

    February 2021 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Susan Elliott for winning the February 2021 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on…

    A loon rests comfortably on top of a life preserver in a plastic box with air holes, ready for transport to open water.

    Loon Rescue in January on Maidstone Lake

    On January 28, Eric Hanson received an email about a loon in distress on snow- and ice-covered Maidstone Lake in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Read on for details about this loon rescue, written by VCE volunteers.

    January 2021 Photo-observation of the Month

    January 2021 Photo-observation of the Month

      Congratulations to Bryan Pfeiffer for winning the January 2021 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life…

    Field Guide to February 2021

    Field Guide to February 2021

    Even though there’s lots more winter ahead, February heralds hints of spring around the corner. From Star-nosed Moles to returning Red-winged Blackbirds, this month’s field guide to wildlife around you is sure to keep your spirits high, no matter what that sleepy woodchuck predicted.

    A (Mammal) Big Year

    A (Mammal) Big Year

    Pete Kerby-Miller, VCE’s Mountain Ecology Technician, is attempting to photograph every mammal species known to Vermont in 2021. The gauntlet has been thrown down!

    2020: an Unforgettable Year for Birding in Norwich

    2020: an Unforgettable Year for Birding in Norwich

    Birders in Norwich pulled out all the stops during 2020, documenting 190 species in a year that is unlikely to ever be rivaled. Yet, the 2021 challenge flag is down with a call for 195 species, 2,500 eBird checklists, and at least 5 new species. Join the Norwich 2021 Bird Quest!

    Vermont Birders Rally During 10th Annual eBird County Quest

    Vermont Birders Rally During 10th Annual eBird County Quest

    From the first day of 2020 when eBirders reported an incredible 81 bird species, to the discovery of a Crested Caracara in Woodstock, Vermont birders scoured fields and fens, mountains and meadows, lakes and lawns to find as many bird species as possible during the 10th annual Vermont eBird County Quest. In the process, they also collected invaluable data for science and conservation.

    Naturalists Help the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist Build Biodiversity Big Data in 2020

    Naturalists Help the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist Build Biodiversity Big Data in 2020

    From the first observation of 2020, a Gray Fox still celebrating the New Year at 4:30 AM, to Great Mullein leaves poking out of the snow shared at twilight on the last day of the year, naturalists added nearly 175,000 biodiversity records to our rapidly growing database of life in Vermont. Read on for highlights from an amazing year!

    December 2020 Photo-observation of the Month

    December 2020 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Daron Tansley for winning the December 2020 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on…

    Embracing the Community: It’s time to take the “citizen” out of citizen science

    Embracing the Community: It’s time to take the “citizen” out of citizen science

    VCE takes another step toward our commitment to making our organization more inclusive and welcoming.

    Field Guide to January 2021

    Field Guide to January 2021

    Although the days are slowly growing longer, life in the Northeast now finds itself in the coldest depths of winter. January is about survival. Wildlife that doesn’t migrate adapts instead in order to make it to spring. Here’s a few tidbits of natural history happening outdoors this month around you.

    Craig Provost: A Birding Quest for the Ages

    Craig Provost: A Birding Quest for the Ages

    In June 2020, lifelong birder Craig Provost achieved an extraordinary milestone that precious few Vermont birders will ever realize, becoming just the second person in history to document 150 species in all of Vermont’s 14 counties, each within a single calendar year!

    Big Biodiversity Data Now at Your Fingertips

    Big Biodiversity Data Now at Your Fingertips

    The Vermont Center for Ecostudies launched an ambitious online project that allows anyone to explore vast amounts of data on…

    Gifts for the Conservation-minded People on Your Gift-giving List

    Gifts for the Conservation-minded People on Your Gift-giving List

    The holidays are stressful enough without the added burden of having to think outside the box (and quickly) to make sure you have something for everyone. We at VCE would like to help you out this season by providing some creative, conservation-themed solutions to your gift-giving dilemmas!

    Unwavering Commitment to Mountain Birds: Jason Crooks Receives VCE's Inaugural Community Scientist of the Year Award

    Unwavering Commitment to Mountain Birds: Jason Crooks Receives VCE’s Inaugural Community Scientist of the Year Award

    Although MBW participation fell to its lowest level since we started keeping track in 2001, one observer still managed to safely and compliantly survey three routes.

    A Lifetime Dedicated to Nature: JoAnne Russo Receives VCE's 2020 Julie Nicholson Community Science Award

    A Lifetime Dedicated to Nature: JoAnne Russo Receives VCE’s 2020 Julie Nicholson Community Science Award

    Joanne Russo’s contributions to better understanding the conservation status of Vermont’s wildlife (especially moths) have been extraordinary–and for this, the staff and board of VCE are proud to present JoAnne with the 2020 Julie Nicholson Community Scientist Award.

    Vermont Winter Finch Report 2020

    Vermont Winter Finch Report 2020

    Way back in August, there were murmurings in the birding world of increased numbers of Purple Finches and Red-breasted Nuthatches in northern North America, with some trickling farther south than their usual late-summer range.

    Examples of Motus tower arrays on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick (left) and in a field (right). Photos courtesy of Birds Canada.

    Host a Motus Tower On Your Property and Help Track Tagged Wildlife

    If you own property in Vermont or New Hampshire, you have an incredible opportunity this winter to benefit wildlife populations and make a real contribution to conservation science by hosting a Motus tower.