Conservation through Science under God

Course by Furbearer Biologist Provided Educators With Much To Enhance Their Teaching
Jul 27, 2021 07:55 ET

[Reprinted from original]



The educators were handling a variety of pelts of animals found in Vermont while Furbearer Biologist Kim Royer answered their questions. That hands-on approach and interaction with experts are what makes Wildlife Management and Environmental Education Techniques for Educators so unique. The course is taught by Vermont Fish and Wildlife staff with credit awarded by Castleton University.

A group of educators from Vermont and New Hampshire spent a week at Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s Buck Lake Conservation Camp and learned so much that they can use in their teaching about our natural world. I visited on the next to the last day of the course and found the educators excited about what they had learned during a week which went long hours, often starting with an early morning walk to identify birds and plants and at times went to bedtime.

Among those attending were educators from Newport Center, St. Johnsbury and Lyme, NH.

Wildlife Management and Environmental Education Techniques for Educators is designed to provide educators the best information available about fauna and flora and the environment in general by having practicing professionals deliver the lectures and lead the field trips.

Ali Thomas, Education Manager for Fish and Wildlife, runs the course and does her best to see that all go away feeling the long hours were well spent.

Aldo Leopold’s classic, Sand County Almanac, was read and discussed throughout the six-day course. It is the basis for so many discussions about our interaction with the natural world and a great thought-provoker.

Environmental education theories and principles of fish and wildlife management were a main focus of the course.

Subjects presented by the biologists and botanists responsible for them were moose, black bears, furbearers, fish, wetlands, forest habitats, birds and plants.

Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore gave an overview of the agency and legislative issues. Commissioner Louis Porter covered F&W topics in the legislature, Wildlife Division Director Mark Scott talked about principles of fish and wildlife management and Col. Jason Batchelder spoke about fish and wildlife law enforcement.

Talk about hearing it from the decision-makers and the practitioners, it doesn’t get any better.

One morning the group had the opportunity to shoot .22 rifles and shotguns under the direction of instructors.

It was a lot of work for the educators but they did get time to swim, kayak, canoe and enjoy relaxing around a campfire with their newfound friends at secluded Woodbury’s Buck Lake.

St. Johnsbury resident and Monroe Consolidated School educator Jennifer Kenney had this to say about the course, “It was awesome Ali was so knowledgeable, organized, personable and fun to be with all week. She brought an amazing group of professionals to speak to us and to take us out for field observations, learning, and work.

“What impressed me most about all of the professionals we met, including Ali, was not so much their knowledge, which of course they must and do have in abundance, but their clear passion for what they do to protect the wildlife and habitats of VT. They were all so enthusiastic about sharing information with us about their jobs, but also in teaching us, the teachers, so that we can go back to our schools to share resources, enthusiasm, and knowledge.

Kenney added, “The books we received are invaluable and I’ve already started sharing them with my colleagues at Monroe Consolidated School. I’m looking forward to integrating the arts into each teacher’s classroom studies about the importance of taking care of the places we live and play in.”

Bits and Pieces

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and partners will soon place new signs near eight ponds where the use of baitfish is prohibited. The signs will remind anglers that use of baitfish poses a threat to the wild native brook trout that have existed there for thousands of years.

“Wild native brook trout thrive in ponds where there are simple fish communities with no or few other fish species,” said department Fisheries Biologist Jud Kratzer. “Adding new fish species, even minnows, disrupts a long-established food chain. Trout populations suffer as a result.”

Brook trout are Vermont’s official coldwater fish. The signs will be posted at public access points near the following ponds: Beaver Pond (Holland); Blake Pond (Sutton); Cow Mountain Pond (Granby); Jobs Pond (Westmore); Lewis Pond (Lewis); North Pond (Chittenden); Unknown Pond (Avery’s Gore); and Noyes Pond (Groton). All except North Pond are in the Kingdom.



The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department reminds hunters that muzzleloader season antlerless deer permit applications are available on its website, www.vtfishandwildlife.com, until Wednesday, August 4.

The muzzleloader seasons on October 28-31 and December 4-12 will have antlerless permits available for 19 of Vermont’s 21 Wildlife Management Units.

Landowners who post their land may not apply for a landowner priority muzzleloader antlerless deer permit. They are eligible to apply in the regular lottery for an antlerless deer permit.



The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is offering two new Teen Conservation Weekends to be held at the Edward F. Kehoe Conservation Camp in Castleton.

“This is a fun and exciting opportunity for teens ages 15 to17,” said Hannah Phelps, Camp Coordinator. “The new Teen Conservation Weekends will allow us to provide teens with an exciting weekend of quality environmental education. Campers will arrive Saturday morning and immediately begin participating in Hunter Education programing, before backpacking out to a remote pond for an evening of camping and fishing.”

“Teen Conservation Weekends are the perfect way for teens to unplug and engage with peers outdoors before heading back to the classroom,” Phelps added.

Each weekend is limited to 25 participants. Girls can attend on August 14 and 15, and boys will be there August 21 and 22. Arrival time is 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning with departure time 4:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

All participants are required to complete their Hunter and Bowhunter certificates ahead of time to allow for more hands-on fun throughout the weekend. Teens will also be expected to only bring gear they can carry themselves while backpacking.

The cost for the weekend is $100, which includes all meals. Sponsorships are available on a limited basis.

To register for the weekend, email a completed application found at https://vtfishandwildlife.com/learn-more/conservation-education/teen-conservation-weekend

to Hannah.phelps@vermont.gov. Any questions can be directed to Hannah Phelps at 802-249-3199.



After a year’s hiatus, due to the pandemic, the Outdoor Family Weekend is back with a number of new, fun and engaging hands-on workshops and activities for both experienced and first-time campers.

University of Vermont Extension and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ Departments of Fish and Wildlife and Forests, Parks and Recreation have teamed up to host the event, which will be held Sept. 10-12 at Stillwater State Park in Groton. Families are invited to join in the fun to learn or improve outdoor skills, try a new recreational activity or discover something unfamiliar in nature.

The $175 registration fee covers the campsite (up to eight individuals), three workshops per camper, nightly campfires and entertainment and access to all park facilities including free rental of canoes. A few workshops will incur an additional fee for materials.

A $50 discount will be given to families of current military personnel. To receive a discount code for registration, call Virginia Jaquish at 802-751-8307 or 800-545-8920, ext. 351. Anyone requiring a disability-related accommodation to participate should contact her by Aug. 20, which is also the deadline to register for the weekend.

Contact Allison Smith at allison.smith.2@uvm.edu or 802-651-8343, ext. 509 for information, or check out https://www.facebook.com/OutdoorFamilyWeekendVT.



Slow down at night and pay attention. There were 72 collisions between moose and vehicles in New Hampshire last year. In the last five years the state has averaged 96 collisions per year. May through October are high-risk months for collisions because moose venture onto roadways to eat the remaining salt residue from winter surface treatments. This summer, however, has seen a marked increase in moose–vehicle collisions, especially in the northern part of the state.



Hunters harvested a total of 5,399 turkeys in New Hampshire during the 2021 spring season, a decrease of 319 turkeys or 5.6% from the 2020 season. The 2021 youth turkey hunt weekend resulted in a total harvest of 542 turkeys, or 10% of the season’s total, which was an increase in harvest from the previous year. In 2020 youth hunters took 500 birds which represented 8.74% of the spring season total.

Of the 5,399 turkeys harvested this spring, 28 (0.5%) were bearded hens, 2,002 were jakes (37.1%), and 3,369 were toms (62.4%).



Women interested in learning new outdoor skills can sign up for New Hampshire’s Fall Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop beginning July 30. This daylong hands-on event will take place on Saturday, September 11, at Owl Brook Hunter Education Center in Holderness. The workshop fee of $85 includes instruction, equipment use, and lunch. Participants must be age 18 or older.

Participants will select one of four different sessions: hiking and wildlife watching, fly fishing A–Z, land navigation, and introduction to archery and bowhunting. To learn more about each offering and to download an event brochure visit www.nhbow.com.

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Mark Breen provided the July records and averages in the Fairbanks Museum’s Skywatch Almanac.

Warmest Ave. : 75.2°F/1921 Coldest Ave. : 65.0°F/1956

Wettest: 9.16 inches in 2008 Driest: 0.96 inches in 1919

Parting Shots

Unprepared hikers risk death and injury and require others to take risks to rescue them. Regular readers know I preach responsibility and chastise those whose carelessness causes the need for rescuers to save them. Last Tuesday a family needed rescue because they were totally unprepared for the hike they undertook as the NH Fish and Game press release recounted.

“At 11:00 pm on July 20, 2021, the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department was notified of a group of hikers that was in distress about 1.3 miles up the Old Bridle Path in Lincoln. Aaron (43) and Kristine (43) Woronowski of Estero, FL were hiking with their two children when they called 911 for help. The group was hiking the Falling Waters – Old Bridle Path Loop but had significantly underestimated the time it would take them to complete. A member of the party was severely fatigued, they were without water and the group did not have any light sources to see the trail in the dark.”

It also said, “Due to the unpreparedness of the hikers, the NH Fish and Game will be recommending that the family be billed for this preventable rescue.” I hope they do.