P.O. Box 254 | Bristol, VT 05443 | tel. (802) 453-7728 fax. (802) 453-7729
visit us: http://www.familyforests.org
CHEP Researchers & Reports
An immensely talented team of researchers has contributed to the data collected on CHEP lands since 1998. Some studies were one-time assessments—like the historical geography of the Guthrie-Bancroft parcel. Others, like the herpetological and bird inventories, occur annually.
Since its inception, the CHEP research project has steadily evolved. In 2007, CHEP established a weather station to record temperature, precipitation, and other basic atmospheric measurements. And in 2009, Marc Lapin began studying wildflower phenology (the chronology of the
appearance and growth of spring wildflowers). In this era of
accelerated climate change, these additions will provide information on the relationship between climate and cyclical biological phenomena.
In the table below, you can click on the researchers’ names to learn more about each of them. Click on the year listed in the right-hand column to see the report for that year and research area.
In September, 2012, mammalogist Jan Decher presented the CHEP small mammal team's research findings at the 86th annual meeting of the German Society of Mammalogy in Frankfurt, Germany.
Read the abstract of his research presentation on page 7 of the conference abstract volume.
Read the project summary on the conference research poster.
Marc Lapin, project manager
When ecologist Marc Lapin attended Middlebury College, he took Professor Steve Young’s course in Introduction to Polar Environments. The course inspired him to visit Alaska, and like any good pilgrimage, that journey offered far-reaching revelations. “While backpacking in Denali National Park,” Marc says, “I realized that my life’s work would be in nature conservation. Ever since, I’ve devoted myself to that.”
That devotion led him to masters studies at the University of Michigan and doctoral studies at Cornell University. Since moving to Vermont in 1991, he’s worked closely with the Vermont Natural Heritage Program and The Nature Conservancy, and coordinates the Champlain Valley Clayplain Project. He has also come full circle, returning to Middlebury College to teach as an Associate in Science Instruction in Environmental Studies.
Marc has brought his passion for ecological mapping to his work as team leader for the Colby Hill Ecological Project. The opportunity to document long-term change in a typical Green Mountain landscape intrigued him. “The forest [monitored by CHEP] has been worked hard—plenty of it was cleared for pasture—but as it has returned and recovered, it shows the plant composition differences one would expect based on soils.”
The data of six years of field research reveal distinct assemblages of plants, insects, spiders, small mammals, and more within the 716-acre study area—differences caused by small changes in moisture, nutrients, and temperature. “That’s why I love ecological mapping,” he says. “Because I get to see and think about those differences and document them, even before I may know what their significance is.”
Pondering the legacy of CHEP, Marc says, “I hope that the legacy is a long, long period of learning about the land and its family of organisms. It will reveal many mysteries to us over the decades. Ecologists of the future will be thankful for the data we are collecting and the permanent sampling plots that will show how the forest is changing.”
Coast to coast and from British Columbia to Mexico, Susan Morse is highly regarded as an expert in carnivore tracking and natural history. She has been an active participant in Western Forest Carnivores Committee meetings and is a founding member of the Northeast Carnivore Conservation Working Group. Her research has focused on cougar, bobcat, black bear, and Canada lynx. She has given workshops on wild felids and other carnivores to a wide range of audiences, from the general public to wildlife experts.
Sue founded and serves as Program Director for Keeping Track, an organization devoted to training professional biologists and citizen scientists alike in wildlife monitoring skills. Keeping Track's mission is to empower multiple stakeholders to use their knowledge to detect, record and monitor the status of wildlife and wildlife habitat in their communities. Data collected by Keeping Track teams has influenced the conservation of over 30,000 acres of habitat in twelve states and Quebec.
Barry and Warren King
Warren King is a conservation biologist with a background in ornithology. He worked as an ornithologist for the Smithsonian Institution, which published his book The ICBP Bird Red Data Book: The Endangered Birds of the World in 1980. He was an environmental educator for the Keewaydin Environmental Education Center in Salisbury, Vermont, for 13 years. He serves on the board of Audubon Vermont and the board of theOtter Creek Audubon Society. He also serves on the board of the Vermont chapter of The Nature Conservancy and was chair from 1998 to 2000. He received the 2002 Vermont State Award of the New England Wildflower Society. He and his wife Barry live in Ripton,where he is chair of the Ripton Planning Commission and the Ripton Conservation Commission. His interests include botanizing, birdwatching, animal tracking and canoeing. He has received numerous awards and recognition from Audubon, Nature Conservancy and the State of VT.
Barry King worked at the Keewaydin Environmental Education Center on Lake Dunmore for 21 years, 10 as its director. She and Warren started Keewaydin’s winter environmental education program which they ran for 10 years in Groton, VT. Currently, she is a freelance environmental educator. She has been on the Board of Vermont's State-Wide Environmental Education Programs in various capacities since 1985 and is currently the treasurer and newsletter editor. She is co-chair of the VT Envirothon. In 2002, she received the Silver Feather Award from the Otter Creek Audubon Society. She and Warren have participated in numerous citizen science projects including Forest Bird Monitoring, Marsh Bird Monitoring, Keeping Track and the Breeding Bird Atlas.
Don Miller, retired from the science department at Lyndon State College, now spends as much time as possible in the field and working-up data from more than three decades of field observations. His professional interests have evolved from birds and fleas, to other vertebrates and vascular plants, and finally to major groups of insects, especially Lepidoptera, Odonata, Orthoptera, Cerambycidae and Carabidae.
Jan has over 20 years of experience studying small mammal ecology, zoogeography and conservation in the United States and West Africa. He has authored over a dozen scientific articles and chapters in international journals and conservation bulletins.
In Vermont, he has been involved for seven years (2000-2007) with the small and large mammal biodiversity assessment for the Colby Hill Ecological Project in Lincoln and other mammal surveys. His current projects involve mammal surveys to assess the environmental impact of large mining projects in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Using his background in mammal collection curation and database management, he has now begun to computerize the Zadock Thompson Natural History Collection of Mammals at the University of Vermont. Over the years, he has also taught mammalogy, zoogeography, and a course at UVM on the conflict between wildlife conservation and development in Africa.
James S. Andrews graduated from the University of Vemront (UVM) with a B.S. in Environmental Studies. He later received his masters in Biology from Middlebury College where he continued as a grant-funded herpetological researcher through 2008 when he left his position there as a research scholar and moved his office to his home in Salisbury.
Jim began part-time herpetological fieldwork in Vermont in 1984 and began working full time as a herpetologist in 1990. He currently serves as chair of the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Scientific Advisory Group to the Endangered Species Committee. He also coordinates the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas Project and serves as a research associate with VFF.
In addition, Jim teaches Vermont Field Herpetology at UVM where he holds the position of adjunct assistant professor. He also runs herpetological research and education projects, and provides independent consulting and herpetological surveying. Conservation of Vermont's native reptiles and amphibians is a common theme running through all his activities. He has field experience with all of Vermont's reptiles and amphibians and has worked closely with state, federal, and private agencies on herptile conservation throughout Vermont.
Steve Trombulak is the Professor of Environmental and Biosphere Studies at Middlebury College, where he has been on the faculty in the Department of Biology and the Program in Environmental Studies since 1985. As a conservation biologist, he has research interests in several areas, particularly systematic conservation planning, ecological reserve design, and forest ecology. He is the lead editor of the new book Landscape-scale Conservation Planning (Springer, 2010).
His earlier books include The Future of the Northern Forest (1994, co-edited with Chris McGrory Klyza), The Story of Vermont: a natural and cultural history (1999, co-authored with Klyza), and So Great a Vision: the conservation writings of George Perkins Marsh (2001). He is the author of numerous journal articles on vertebrate ecology, conservation planning, and environmental education. Over the past thirty-five years he has conducted field work on a wide range of organisms, including pine trees, hummingbirds, migratory song birds, kangaroo rats, ground squirrels, amphibians, and beetles. His classes at Middlebury College include Vertebrate Natural History, Conservation Biology, Environmental Science, and Vertebrate Biology.
He has held numerous positions in professional organizations, most recently as the president of the North American section of the Society for Conservation Biology. He is a founding member of the Natural History Network, and is currently the editor of their publication The Journal of Natural History Education. He lives with his partner, Josselyne Price, in Weybridge, Vermont with their two cats, Hunter and Pyanfar.
Jeffrey Collins, Mark Ward, and Susan Young
After countless hours sorting and classifying thousands of specimens, CHEP researchers Mark Ward, Jeffrey Collins, and Susan Young released their final report on surface-active terrestrial invertebrates on CHEP-monitored lands. Between 1999 and 2002, the bug team collected 11,990 specimens in 107 subsamples. The collected invertebrates represented seven phylogenic classes and 22 orders. Researchers identified 5,761 specimens to the family level, accounting for 101 invertebrate families.
Of the nearly 12,000 invertebrates collected, 6,073 were mites (order: Acarina). The orders with next highest number of specimens were the springtails (Collembola) and the beetles (Coleoptera). The order Coleoptera was represented by the largest number of families (22).
What is the upshot of all these numbers in layman's terms? As Ward, Collins, and Young state in their report, Terrestrial invertebrates are low on the food chain and thus respond more rapidly to subtle environmental changes than vertebrates. In small preserves, invertebrates offer a way of monitoring ecological integrity that may not be feasible with relatively small vertebrate populations.
The baseline data on invertebrates present on CHEP lands—which are typical of much of the landscape in this part of the western Green Mountains—can help scientists track the region's ecological health.