#StayGroundedVT Round Up – Week of April 20

egg mass of spotted salamander eggs

Allaire Diamond found these spotted salamander eggs in a vernal pool near her home. (Vernal pools look like giant puddles in the forest.) Spotted salamander eggs can be golf-ball to tennis-ball size masses of eggs that are clear, whitish, or even green.If you see green, it comes from an algae that is symbiotic with these salamanders, making them the first known photosynthetic animal! Learn more about salamanders here.


 

In our latest #StayGroundedVT Nature Journal, Angela Hilsman marvels at the conversations that emerge in the quiet of nature. “Continuing through Vermont’s April chill, I don’t have much to say; not much has changed during five weeks of a stay-at-home order, and I am sure Mother Nature recognizes me from my previous trips to this summit. And so she begins, reliving recent visits from dogs, rabbits, and one man with large feet. The pines groan and chickadees laugh. A robin throws leaf litter. Mother Nature kindly offers me fresh air and warm sunshine before telling of the recent windstorm that took many spruce and birch trees. She adds that the catkins are emerging, and pinkish buds dot the conifers. Mother Nature really is the best conversationalist.” Read more.

Finding silence on the Spruce Mountain Trail, Plainfield.

Conifer cones in leaf litter.

 

As part of her mile-a-day-challenge with Come Alive Outside, Tracy shared how grateful she was to live in a “small downtown with access, by foot, to beautiful and well cared for public outdoor spaces, like our Town Forest, places along on the Passumpsic River, and a local trail on private land that has been in use since the 1800s.”It’s a great way to #StayGroundedVT!

river viewed through trees in vermont

dog in river

 

Imagine spending 99% of your life alone in a tree-root crevice… Such is the life of a spotted salamander… however… a few nights a year in spring, things change! Check out this video put together by Donald Campbell of a recent salamander run near that happened near his home. Curious to learn more about these critters, check out our latest “Nature Nugget“.

 

Early each morning, VLT forester Pieter van Loon has been going out in his yard to see if anyone new has moved back into the neighborhood as part of his effort to #StayGroundedVT. He made this recording on a recent morning. The song sparrow sings a basic song that varies by geography and bird. It’s how they declare territory and attract mates. Did you know it’s one of the few songs that the mockingbird can’t imitate?

 

Thumbs up for the hard work happening at Sweetland Farm in Norwich. On Friday, they moved 5.5 tons of food to 95 families. The food came from their farm and 22 other local farms! They’ve set up an online pre-order for weekly pickups. Food is set out on our tables the crew gives the thumbs up and customers load the food. “We’ve hired three new staff just to support this and are bringing all our crew into living in quarantine on farm,” reported farmers Chris Polashenski. “Meanwhile renovations on our new crew house are full speed ahead to support quarantine of crew arriving. We’ve just finished an addition to our hoophouse and will plant it tomorrow, and an addition is going on the back of our barn to accommodate additional chicken slaughter this summer. We’re doing everything we can to meet the need.”

car at food pick up, farm worker giving thumbs up

three farm workers wearing masks

 

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During this time of uncertainty, we are fortunate to have open spaces that ground us and local farms that feed us. Thanks to everyone who is sharing how they #StayGroundedVT in such a challenging time.

Topic: #StayGroundedVT