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Conference Field Trips

Field trips are ticketed events, for which advanced registration is required by April 16. Field trips are conference events, and as such, participation in them is limited to those registered for the conference. Except if otherwise noted, transportation from the convention center to the field trip destination will be via carpooling. Prior to the conference, we will forward the names and email addresses of all those who sign up for a field trip to the field trip organizer, who will contact each participant in advance to set up a time for a brief meeting to provide directions and work out the details of who will be driving. If you signed up for a field trip and if you have not heard from the field trip leader by April 18, we advise you to contact him/her (email listed in info given below) to confirm your attendance and the logistical details. Also, if you had registered for a field trip, but then realize you will not be able to attend, please promptly notifiy the field trip leader so that they know who to expect and can offer your spot to someone else in the event the field trip has filled up and there is a waiting list.

Fieldtrip #1: Niquette Bay State Park: Spring Wildflowers, Natural Communities, and the Importance of Natural Areas

Date and time: Friday 21 April, 1 pm – 4 pm

Location:  Meet at the conference center to carpool.

Instructors: Liz Thompson, Bob Zaino, and Eric Sorenson, co-authors of Wetland, Woodland, Wildland, a Guide to the Natural Communities of Vermont

Description: Join us to explore a fascinating forest of shallow-to-bedrock soils on calcareous bedrock, on and near the shores of Lake Champlain. We will visit a diversity of natural communities and enjoy the emerging spring flora—Hepatica, spring beauty (two species!), Blue Cohosh, Dutchman’s Breeches, and others—while celebrating the conservation of this unusual place.

Limited to 30 participants

No Fee

For more information: contact Liz Thompson at lizecolvt@gmail.com.

Fieldtrip #2: Spring-breeding Amphibian Egg-masses and the Monkton Amphibian Underpasses

Date and time: Friday 21 April, 9 am – 1 pm

Location:  Meet at the conference center to carpool.

Instructors: Jim Andrews, The Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas

Description: We will visit some breeding pools with Wood Frog and Spotted Salamander egg masses, discuss the differences between the egg-masses, the amphibians that deposited them, and the breeding habitats they use; then finish off the trip with a visit to the Monkton amphibian underpasses. These underpasses have been very successful in minimizing mortality for a wide variety of amphibians and mammals.

Limited to 20 participants

No Fee

For more information: contact Jim Andrews at jandrews@vtherpatlas.org.

Fieldtrip #3: Myco-Phytoremediation Ecological Restoration Research for Phosphorus Mitigation, Pollinator Habitat Expansion, and Rematriation of Ancestral Lands

Date and time: Friday 21 April, 9 am – Noon

Location:  Meet in the parking lot right of the front gate entrance to Shelburne Farms 1611 Harbor Rd, Shelburne, VT 05482. It will be a 5-minute drive in from here to the site, so best if folks can form carpools when we meet in the parking lot to limit traffic into the farm. We will caravan from there to the site and be back at the parking lot just after noon.

Instructors: Jess Rubin, Carol McGranaghan, Luca Kolba, and Mike Bald

Description: Join us to observe the complex role riparian buffers play in often neglected areas of farms, and rehabilitative approaches to regrow and enhance their function. We will tour from the farm composting operation to receiving waters, observing how colonial land practices threaten waterways and ecosystem health. We will visit a pilot restoration study which demonstrates how manual nonnative species removal, mycorrhizae fungi, native polycultures, regenerative maintenance approaches, and harvest techniques practiced by this land’s Original Peoples can support habitat reconciliation. We will examine 3 years of monitoring data on phosphorus, and below- and aboveground succession of pollinator habitat. As this project evolves, we grow partnerships with the Abenaki Peoples to support their land rematriation, beginning with harvest access.

Limited to 20 participants

No Fee

For more information: contact Jess Rubin at Jessica.Rubin@uvm.edu.

Fieldtrip #4: Bedrock to Birds: An Integrated Landscape Approach to Rock Point

Date and time: Friday 21 April, 9 am – Noon

Location:  Meet at the west end of Killarney Drive near the Burlington Bike Path under the Red Oak.

Instructors: Alicia Daniel

Description: Join Field Naturalist Alicia Daniel to explore Burlington’s Rock Point from its stunning, world famous bedrock thrust fault to its rare Limestone Bluff Cedar Pine Forest to the cliffs where Ravens and Peregrine Falcons nest. We will also look for signs of human land use history and learn the story of rocks that were quarried locally, used in a school, buried in the woods and then got a new life as beautifully built stone stairs on trails. Rock Point has been a sanctuary for all of human time and also serves as a home to Mink, Red Foxes, Coyotes, Fishers and more. The hike is under 2 miles, moderate and rocky at times.

Limited to 15 participants

No Fee

For more information: contact Alicia Daniel at alicia@vermontmasternaturalist.org.

Fieldtrip #5: Lake Champlain Waterfowl Watch

Date and time: Friday 21 April, 8 am – 12:30 pm

Location:  Meet at the conference center to carpool to site.

Instructors: Sean Beckett, North Branch Nature Center

Description: The Champlain Valley is one of New England’s premier inland destinations for April birdwatching. We’ll scout the shores of Lake Champlain for migratory waterfowl, early spring songbirds, and recent rare species sightings. A morning exploration of local migratory ecology and avian phenology. (Note: those wanting lunch en route should plan to bring their own.)

Limited to 10 participants

No Fee, but donations to the North Branch Nature Center are graciously accepted.

For more information: contact Sean Beckett at sean@northbranchnaturecenter.org.

Fieldtrip #6: Geology of Mount Philo State Park

Date and time: Friday 21 April, 1 pm to 4:30 pm

Location:  Mount Philo State Park parking areas at the base of the mountain. Mount Philo State Park lies directly south of Burlington in the town of Charlotte, an approximately 25 to 30 minute drive from the conference hotel. The entrance to the park is at the intersection of Mount Philo and State Park Roads.

Instructors: Stephen Wright, retired Geology faculty at the University of Vermont

Description: Mount Philo is one of several small, but prominent mountains in the Champlain Valley with very similar settings in the landscape. Not surprisingly their geological underpinnings and history are similar and speak to the evolution of both the mountains to the east and the glacial history of the Champlain Valley. We will walk up the mountain, largely following the park road, where we can easily observe both rocks and glacial landforms. Expansive views from the top of the mountain will allow participants to see how the detailed geology visible on the mountain is reflected in the surrounding landscape. A hand lens will prove helpful for looking at the rocks, and binoculars will enhance views from the top.

No limit to number of participants

No fee

For more information: contact Stephen Wright at Stephen.Wright@uvm.edu.

Fieldtrip #7: Sandplain Forest, Old Growth, and Restoration Sites at Saint Michael’s College

Date and time: Friday 21 April, 1 pm to 3 pm

Location:  Meet at the Saint Michael’s College Natural Area; (put “Merrill Cemetery, Colchester, VT” in your GPS and then follow the event parking signs.

Instructors: Declan McCabe, Saint Michael’s College Biology Department, and Peter Hope, Biology Professor Emeritus at Saint Michael's College

Description: Tour the Saint Micheal's College Natural Area, which contains a variety of natural habitats including a sandplain forest remnant, old-growth river island, and a regenerating floodplain forest and restored wetlands protected by a conservation easement.

Limited to 20 participants

No fee

For more information: contact Declan McCabe at dmccabe@smcvt.edu.

Fieldtrip #8: Bryophytes and Spring Plants of Austin Hill

Date and time: Friday 21 April, 10 am to 4:30 pm

Location:  Meet at the trailhead at Austin Hill, West Haven, VT (organizer will provide more detailed directions to all those who register)

Instructors: Jerry Jenkins and Sue Williams, Northern Forest Atlas Foundation

Description: Austin Hill is the westernmost hill in Vermont, located in West Haven at the confluence of the Poultney River and the South Bay of Lake Champlain. We will be in the Nature Conservancy’s Bald Mountain Preserve (https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/places-we-protect/helen-w-buckner-preserve-at-bald-mountain), a very beautiful spot. Austin Hill and Bald Mountain are geologically complex mashups where Taconic meta-volcanics and metasediments meet the Grenville igneous rocks of the Adirondack Dome. Austin Hill is dry and medium rich, with a nice selection of the bryophytes and vascular plants characteristic of the fertile-dry Champlain Hills. We will teach a field bryophyte workshop, at the cliffs by the Poultney River at the south end of the hill, taking Sue’s new Ecological Guide to the mosses and Common Liverworts of the Northeast, on its first public outing. We will then climb the hill and head west to the scarp over Lake Champlain, looking at mosses and vascular plants and the work of some supremely wicked squirrels, talk a bit about mysteries of dry-rich flow paths, and return along the brow of the south cliffs.

Limited to 12 participants

No fee

For more information: contact Jerry Jenkins at jerrycreejenkins@gmail.com.

Fieldtrip #9: Peatland Walk at Colchester Bog

Date and time: Friday 21 April, 9:45 am to 12:45 pm

Location:  Meet at Airport Park parking lot on Colchester Point Rd, Colchester VT

Instructors: Jill Bubier, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science at Mount Holyoke College; Grace Glynn, Consulting Ecologist

Description: The Colchester Bog area is a lake-influenced wetland complex supporting a diversity of natural communities, including the second known example of Pitch Pine Woodland Bog in Vermont. Join us for a walk into the bog by way of a short, highly accessible boardwalk, where we will discuss the ecological importance and land use history of this large peatland. We'll also discuss the effects of environmental and climate change on peatlands globally. Colchester Bog sits amidst deltaic sand deposits and we'll walk through the adjacent example of Mesic Pine–Oak Sandplain Forest, which supports a number of rare sandplain species.

Limited to 10 participants

No fee

For more information: contact Grace Glynn at graceglynn1@gmail.com.

Fieldtrip #10: Landscape Interpretation 101

Date and time: Friday 21 April, 1:30 to 4:30 pm

Location:  Meet at conference registration desk. From here we'll take a short walk into Centennial Woods, the 160-acre natural area managed by UVM adjacent to the DoubleTree.

Instructors: Teage O'Connor, Crow's Path, Burlington, VT

Description: Alright gumshoes, time to put your sleuthing hats on. The land is a treasure trove of evidence left behind by glaciers, farmers, beavers, and utility companies. In this field walk, you'll learn how to look for evidence of their impact (e.g,. growth patterns of trees, topography, indicator species, and strange artifacts) and weave this together into a compelling story of how the land has changed through deep time. We'll explore a rifle range from the 30s, a ski slope from the 60s, a dining hall dump site from the 80s, a borrow pit from the construction of the DoubleTree's parking lot in the 90s, or an abandoned beaver pond from the 2000s. But only your detective work can determine which one!

Limited to 15 participants

No fee, but donations are welcome and will go directly to Alnôbaiwi (Vermont Indigenous Heritage Center).

For more information: contact Teage O'Connor at teage@crowspath.org.

Fieldtrip #11: Geprags Park, Hinesburg, VT

Date and time: Friday 21 April, Afternoon walk from 3:30 to 5:30 pm, then meet up later after dark for evening black light and bait trail from 7:30 to 9:30 pm

Location:  Meet at conference registration deskto carpool at 2:20 p.m. or meet at the site parking lot at 3:15 p.m and then again at the site parking lot at 7:30 pm.

Instructors: Michael Sabourin, co-author of Moths and Butterflies of Vermont and several journal papers on tortricid (lepidoptera) taxonomy. He currently serves as the president for the VT Entomological Society

Description: Explore early spring insect fauna with a late afternoon walk, evening black light and bait trail. About 12 miles south of Burlington, you will find 2 miles of foot trails on conserved public land. A small knoll with second-growth forest including hickory and juniper and stands of raspberry and cornus sitting above a floodplain. The place is well known for the Golden-winged Warbler group as well as a citizen protest against a gas pipeline. Hiking will be moderate, but one should dress for ticks.

Limited to 12 participants

No fee, but donations to the Veront Entomological Society are welcome.

For more information: contact Michael Sabourin at mothvet@yahoo.com.

Fieldtrip #12: Marble Island Rare and Invasive Plants Management Project (Malletts Bay, Lake Champlain, Colchester, VT)

Date and time: Friday 21 April, 9:30 to 11:30 am

Location:  Meet at the upper parking lot for the Marina at Marble Island (1378 Marble Island Road, Colchester, VT 05446).

Instructors: Everett Marshall and Aaron Marcus (FWD-Natural Heritage Inventory) and Adam Crary, PWS, PWD (VHB Natural Sciences)

Description: Join botanists and ecologists Everett Marshall and Aaron Marcus of the Vermont Natural Heritage Inventory and Adam Crary of VHB on an adventurous trip to the mouth of Lake Champlain’s Malletts Bay, to explore the fascinating geology, natural communities, rare flora, and breathtaking views offered from this rocky island prominence that has no trails, docks, structures, or campsites. Following a short boat trip on VHB’s Sturgeon General, the field trip will tour the island through the lens of a unique private–public–volunteer partnership of professionals to manage the threats posed to the island’s rare flora by non-native invasive shrub proliferation. The island provides unique habitats for several state-rare or uncommon plants (some may be in flower). The invasive shrub management project has been led by the FWD and VHB and most years since 2019, and has involved several partners, including the Lake Champlain Land Trust (the island’s owner and steward), the USForest Service, the Native Plant Trust, and Habitat Restoration Solutions. It is a demonstration of the trials and effectiveness of several control methods, as well as the enthusiasm and interest generated from a community of practitioners to sustain unique elements of a fragile ecosystem. The number of field trip participants will be limited to protect the islands sensitive flora and fragile ecosystem. Participants should be capable of disembarking from a waterborne boat to a potentially wet/slippery rock landing (there is no dock, or water shallow to wade), able to complete a short hike up steep/slippery terrain, and be prepared for inclement weather. Poison ivy will be encountered. The field trip will be rain/shine but cancelled within 12-hours’ notice if the winds are too strong to land safely on the island. The field trip will also be cancelled if sensitive nesting birds occupy island cliff habitats this year.

Limited to 8 participants

No fee, but participants will be required to sign a waiver provided by VHB at the start of the trip.

For more information: contact Adam Crary at acrary@vhb.com.


Additional 2023 NENHC field trips will be listed here as they are confirmed.





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