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Vermont Family Forests
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Conserving The Health Of Our Local Forest Community

Biodiversity Workshop Series

CHEP’s Biodiversity Workshop Series is designed to teach landowners about biological diversity in their backyards and to offer tools for studying and maintaining this biodiversity. Our series began with “Conducting a Biological Inventory in Your Family Forest: A Case Study of Lincoln’s Colby Hill Town Forest” in September, 2003. Twenty-five participants learned how scientists conduct such an inventory and learned tips for monitoring and protecting the habitat of wildlife species on their own property.

Bristol resident Cassandra Corcoran (center) and other workshop participants examine bear claw marks in a red spruce with workshop leader Greg Borah (center right) during the Winter Tracking workshop in January, 2004, part of the Biodiversity Workshop Series. Greg performs large mammal monitoring for the Colby Hill Ecological Project.

In January, 2004, we offered a winter tracking workshop during which 20 hearty souls joined tracker Greg Borah in -20° weather to look for animal signs in the Colby Hill Town Forest.

In May, 2004, ornithologist and naturalist Warren King and VFF founder/Addison County Forester David Brynn teamed up to lead a workshop entitled “Bird Habitat Stewardship in the Family Forest.” In this free workshop, Warren helped participants identify birds and teach about their habitat needs, while Laura will offer suggestions of how to manage forestland to enhance these habitat conditions.

On September 22, 2004, we offered a natural community mapping workshop taught by Addison County Forester and VFF Founder, David Brynn and ecologist Eric Sorenson, of the Vermont Nongame and Natural Heritage Program. A natural community is “an interacting assemblage of organisms, their physical environment, and the natural processes that affect them.” In Vermont, ecologists have identified more than 80 distinct natural communities. Managing land according to its natural community type allows managers to identify and conserve rare or fragile communities. Such mapping also allows managers to predict and manage for the plants and animals associated with each natural community.

During this exciting workshop, participants learned the art and science of natural community mapping. David and Eric spent more than an hour indoors, teaching participants how to interpret aerial infrared photos, soil surveys, and other data to develop a rough natural community map. They then headed into the field to learn how to field check a rough map. See VFF’s Events Page for details about this workshop.

1Wetland, Woodland, Wildland – A Guide to the Natural Communities of Vermont, by Elizabeth Thompson and Eric Sorenson.