Learn Online with VCE
We’ll cover a variety of fascinating natural history topics presented by both VCE staff and conservation collaborators. Check back often, as we’ll be adding new webinars throughout the year.
All webinars will be conducted through Zoom and are free for everyone. Please note that events will be recorded and made available afterward on VCE’s Multimedia Resources page for those who are unable to attend.
If you’d like to support this webinar series and VCE’s wildlife conservation work, please consider a contribution. Donate easily and securely online anytime!
Suds & Science is Now Online
Hosted by VCE biologist Jason Hill, Suds & Science is definitely not a lecture–it’s a community discussion led by a scientist where you meet other fans of science, engage with an expert through compelling personal narratives, and gain an understanding of someone’s scientific research. So what can you expect in this virtual series–an online PowerPoint presentation? Absolutely not! Jason will interview the scientists about the intersection of their lives and their research. You’ll have the chance to pose questions when you register, and Jason will incorporate your questions into the conversation. You’ll also have the chance to comment and ask questions throughout the conversation–not just at the end. And since we’re meeting virtually, everyone will have to BYOB.
Interested? Of course you are, and it’s easy to participate. Simply click on the “Register Here!” link underneath the talk description in the schedule below. After registering, you’ll receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. You do not need a Zoom account to participate. If you have any questions, just reach out to Jason via email.
Suds & Science has concluded for the spring 2021 season.
Check back in the fall for the full winter/spring 2021-2022 lineup!
Vermont’s Lost Lady Beetles
What do you think of when you imagine a ladybug (officially known as a lady beetle)? Is it red with black spots? Many people are familiar with the species that commonly congregates inside our homes in the winter (the invasive Asian Lady Beetle), but there are actually at least 42 species that have been recorded in Vermont alone! Lady beetles can be different sizes and colors, ranging from black to yellow to red. They can be found in fields, forests, shrubland, swamps, and right in your backyard. Unfortunately, many native lady beetle species populations across the country are in decline, due to the introduction of non-native lady beetle species, land use change, and pesticides. Vermont appears to be experiencing declines as well. Currently, 12 of Vermont’s native lady beetle species have not been seen in over 40 years. The Vermont Center for Ecostudies has launched the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas, a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life, to learn about the current state of Vermont’s lady beetle populations.
Join us for a virtual presentation to learn more about Vermont’s lady beetles, led by Vermont Center for Ecostudies ECO Americorps volunteer Julia Pupko. Learn how you can participate in finding Vermont’s lost lady beetles: it’s easy, fun, and will advance our understanding of how to conserve the native species of lady beetles living in our state. To learn more about the project, visit val.vtecostudies.org/projects/lady-beetle-atlas.
May 4 | 6:00 pm | Hosted by Northwoods Stewardship Center. Register on the Northwoods Stewardship Center website.
May 20 | 6:00 pm | Hosted by North Branch Nature Center. Register on the North Branch Nature Center website.
Spring Wildflowers and Their Pollinators
Who does not love that first flush of wildflowers in the spring woods? The color and beauty are a balm after a long winter, an invitation to wander into the forest and see what is happening there. Many insects are ready, too, looking for nectar and pollen in the emerging flowers. And as the seeds of these plants mature, an amazing array of dispersal strategies comes into play. Join us to explore the fascinating world of woodland plants and their visitors.
• Liz Thompson, Ecologist, Vermont Land Trust, and Co-author, Wetland, Woodland, Wildland
• Kent McFarland, Conservation Biologist, Vermont Center for Ecostudies, and Host, Outdoor Radio
May 4 | 1:00 – 2:00 pm | Hosted by the Vermont Land Trust. Register on the Vermont Land Trust website.
Exploring the Science of Vermont’s Climate
Delve into the science of Vermont’s climate. How is it changing, and how are these changes experienced by Vermonters? How are our natural communities impacted, and what can we do to make the biggest difference? We invite families and adults to participate, share your observations, and get involved. This series is possible thanks to the generous support of the William Eddy Lecture Series.
Engage with experts in the fields of meteorology, climatology, and ecology for an interactive conversation about how we gather climate data, identify trends, observe effects, and plan for the future.
Steve Maleski – Meteorologist at the Fairbanks Museum
Dr. Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux – Vermont State Climatologist
Dr. Janel Hanrahan – Chair of Atmospheric Sciences at NVU
Dr. Ryan Rebozo – Director of Conservation Science at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies
Moderated by Jane Lindholm, host of Vermont Edition and creator of the But Why? podcast on VPR
May 5 | 7:00 – 8:00 pm | Hosted by the Fairbanks Museum. Register on the Fairbanks Museum website.
Interested in having a VCE conservation biologist speak at your event, or lead a field outing?
Please fill out our Speaker Request Form to start the process.
Example Presentations Available in 2021:
Presenter: Julia Pupko
Title: Lady Beetles of Vermont: Invasions, Extirpations, and Discoveries
Presentation Summary: Native lady beetles play an important role as biological pest control agents. However, native beetle populations have been in decline across North America due to a number of factors. Vermont’s lady beetles seem to be following continental trends of decline, but due to lack of modern data, we do not understand what native lady beetles remain in Vermont, how their populations are doing, or what conservation initiatives may need to be implemented. The Vermont Atlas of Life (VAL) team at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies created the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas to find answers to some of these questions, and is calling on community naturalists to join us in our search. Listen in to learn more about Vermont’s incredible lady beetle species, what the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas has found thus far, and how you can participate in this research using iNaturalist.
Presenter: Spencer Hardy
Title: Exploring Vermont’s Wild Bees: Natural History, Identification, and Conservation.
Presentation Summary: When most people think of bees, they imagine the famous Honey Bee (Apis melifera), yet that is just one of more than 300 species of bees found in the state. Since 2019, the Vermont Wild Bee Survey has been criss-crossing the state to document these important pollinators. We have found dozens of species not previously known from the state and are amassing a rich database that will be invaluable to conservation planners for years to come. Hear more about this project–including our most exciting findings, ideas on conserving vulnerable bees, and ways you can join our future monitoring efforts.
Presenter: Kevin Tolan
Title: Eastern Meadowlarks in Vermont: Ecology and Conservation of an Imperiled Grassland Bird
Presentation Summary: Eastern Meadowlarks in the Northeast are rapidly declining; based on the latest USGS Breeding Bird Survey results, they’re undergoing an estimated 8.7% annual decline in Vermont. With their recent designation of Threatened in New Hampshire, and imminent listing in Vermont, now is a golden opportunity for targeted survey efforts. The Vermont Center for Ecostudies is partnering up with New Hampshire Audubon to launch a bi-state “blitz” this spring to encourage birders and community scientists to target areas of grassland habitat with the goal of seeking out meadowlarks. Join VCE and our collaborators to learn about these imperiled songbirds and what you can do to help keep them on the Vermont landscape.