#StayGroundedVT Round Up – May 2020

Al Karnatz, who works in the Champlain region, seems to be practicing a new form of social distancing. And yes, he reported that there were plenty of bugs in there.


A family outing to VLT’s Bluffside Farm in Newport was a perfect way to spend a lovely holiday weekend. (A visit to the resident lambs made it even better.) Check out our new trail map for the farm.

boy holding lamb


VLT conservation biologist Liz Thompson stays grounded by taking daily walks, after the workday is done, often when the sun is sinking low . Lately she’s been watching all the different ferns unfurl. This is interrupted fern, common in moist woods.

This is interrupted fern, common in moist woods


Many of us are staying grounded by finding joy in our gardens. As Memorial Day weekend approached and the sunny, warm weather too, gardening season was off to a good start. Thanks Liz for sharing this lovely photo of your peas! They are an inspiration.

peas shoots growing in a garden


Rebecca Roman shared some images from a visit to some land in Addison County. She said: “I saw so many signs of spring while I was there! Baby lambs, little frogs, snakes, and white trilliums, and marsh marigolds (below). It was so beautiful!”

marsh marigolds in wet woodland


The great white trillium is one of four species of trillium native to Vermont. Like other trilliums, it takes them many years (often 7-10!) to become large enough to flower. “I saw these while visiting conserved farmland along the Walloomsac River,” said VLT’s Jennifer Garrett. “They were growing–unfortunately–in a dense thicket of invasive honeysuckle shrubs.” Invasives and too much deer browsing are major threats to this and other forest native wildflowers.

great white trillium


Britt Haselton shared this beautiful photo of his daughter staying grounded on her uncle’s Tunbridge farm. Feeling grateful for the land.

girl touching cow's nose in a pasture


“My twin 5-year-old daughters and I were turning over stones on the banks of the Browns River to see what we could find,” shared VLTer Bob Heiser. He said there were lots of stonefly larvae. Stoneflies are very sensitive to pollution so finding an abundance suggests the river is doing OK. “We are all feeling incredibly fortunate that we live close to places where we can get out, do some digging, and run free.”

stonefly larvae on a rock that is being held in a hand


We loved this creative backyard bingo submission right down to bare toes in grass (though these days…. brrr! ). Haven’t played yet? Download it here.

backyard bingo board with objects like pine needles and an old ball on the squares that name those items. a kid's bare foot is on the enge of the board as is grass.


For many people, staying grounded has meant buying from local farms and exercising close to home. Recreation on the land we own has been up. We decided to help Newport-area residents stay grounded by creating a trails map of our Bluffside Farm property. Visit the farm to see woodland, pasture, and beach. PDF map available here. We also worked with many local farms and farm organizations to develop a guide to fresh, safe, local food. Check out our food guide here.

 lettuce starts in trays


VLT’s Liz Thompson spent two hours watching a pair of bluebirds move into a new nest in her yard. What a way to stay grounded! They first explored the house, then began collecting pieces of dead grass to make a nest. Bluebirds had declined here over the last century, but are on the rebound thanks to nesting boxes and improved habitat. Liz’s neighbors made a bunch of boxes for the neighborhood, and the birds have responded! Learn how to build your own nesting box here.

two bluebirds on bird box


VLT trustee David Middleton snapped these sharp-lobed Hepatica on a woodland walk. This is one of two kinds of hepatica wildflowers that grow in warm Vermont woods, often under oak (see acorns in the picture). “Hepatica” refers to the liver-like shape of its leaves, which suggested to some people that they might have use as medicine for the liver. In fact, Native Peoples have used them as a pain reliever and to treat gastrointestinal ailments.

purple flower and acorns on woodland floor


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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.