Environment

An Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle hatchling is ready to be released into the water.
Kent McFarland, courtesy / Vermont Center For Ecostudies

With a pointed snout, knobby protrusions, and a flat, leathery shell, the Spiny Softshell Turtle is certainly one of Vermont's odder-looking reptiles. It is also listed as threatened in our state. Steve Parren of the Vermont Fish And Wildlife Department joins Sara Zahendra and Kent McFarland to talk about the Spiny Softshell's biology, habitat and some of the threats faced by Vermont's only aquatic turtle.

Sen. Bernie Sanders visited a solar testing center in Williston on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

As the Trump administration works to undo regulations in place intended to slow global climate change, Sen. Bernie Sanders is calling for further investment in U.S. renewable energy efforts.  

Meg Malone / VPR

Just last week, Vermonters in many parts of the state were still looking at the green leaves of summer, with some even browning prematurely due to a long span of unseasonably hot weather. But over the weekend that changed quickly, according to Mike Snyder, Commissioner of Vermont's Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation. His department puts out the state's weekly fall foliage report.

Now that autumn is here, it's time for the fall bird show. One thing we'll talk about is why some people are worried that they  haven't been seeing as much activity at their birdfeeders this year.
PrairieArtProject / iStock

Autumn is officially upon us yet again, which means it's time for another fall bird show on Vermont Edition.

Electric vehicles and a charging station in Burlington, where utilities and car dealerships announced new incentives for electric cars on Tuesday.
Henry Epp / VPR

A group of electric utilities, car dealerships and government officials in Vermont are pushing incentives aimed at making electric vehicles more affordable.

This railroad bridge is part of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail in Morrisville. According to the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, there are 42 bridges to repair or replace along the trail before it is complete.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers and the state have finalized an agreement regarding the construction of a four-season trail across Vermont.

Connecticut’s monarch butterflies are now making their annual migration thousands of miles south to Mexico. 

Scientists have been closely watching puffin populations in the Gulf of Maine in recent years, in an effort to restore the species on certain islands. This summer, puffins and other seabird populations appear to have rebounded, but are still facing a threat from predation.

We got questions and comments from many of you after our discussion of Ben & Jerry's social mission with Will Allen. Here's some of what we found out.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR/file

Back in August, Vermont Edition had a discussion about whether Ben & Jerry's is fulfilling its social mission. We got a lot of feedback on that show, and a lot of it was critical specifically of some of the statements made by one of our guests, Will Allen.

e_chaya / Flickr, https://flic.kr/p/4wMeCa

A new study has found that Vermont is losing 1,500 acres of forest every year. That's in the context of a potential loss of more than 1 million acres in New England over the next 50 years. We're looking at the loss of forest cover and the consequences for the health of our landscape - from wildlife to water quality.

An adult loon keeps a watchful eye on Lake Fairlee in West Fairlee, Vermont.
Kent McFarland, courtesy / Vermont Center For Ecostudies

The Vermont Center For Ecostudies reported a record year for Vermont's loons in 2017, and part of the success story happened on Lake Fairlee, where a pair of loons nested for the second consecutive year. Biologists Kent McFarland, Sara Zahendra and Eric Hanson headed out in canoes to take a look at the nesting sites.

Turnpike Road in Norwich was damaged during flash flooding this past summer. VPR's Howard Weiss-Tisman spoke to "Vermont Edition" about his recent stories looking at flood insurance.
Rebecca Sananes / VPR

Flooding is a serious business, and VPR's Howard Weiss-Tisman has been looking at the vital topic of flood insurance — which may not even continue to exist in its current form, with change occurring both in the climate and in Washington. He joins this Vermont Edition to talk about his reporting.

The U.S. Forest Service wants to increase camping fees at Grout Pond, and at other developed campgrounds in the Green Mountain National Forest.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The U.S. Forest Service is collecting public input on a plan to increase the fees at developed campgrounds in the Green Mountain National Forest.

State health officials are cautioning people to be on the lookout for blue-green algae blooms.

Karin Hardy points to land along Ball Mountain Brook in Jamaica where her house stood before Tropical Storm Irene swept it away. Hardy's former house was not in the FEMA flood zone and she did not have flood insurance.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Karin Hardy says she never thought much about flood insurance before Tropical Storm Irene, but she learned a pretty tough lesson the Monday after the storm in 2011.

VPR/Melody Bodette

When the topic of insurance comes up, most people probably think about fender benders or trips to the emergency room before they think of flooding. But as scientists predict increasingly severe weather events in coming years, Vermonters will likely need to become better acquainted with it.

A Norwich home on Turnpike Road is inaccessible by road after its bridge and culvert were destroyed.
Rebecca Sananes / VPR

Even before Tropical Storm Harvey and Hurricane Irma hit, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was in trouble — to the tune of $25 billion. And the program is set to expire at the end of the month if Congress doesn't act.

Steve Agius is refuge manager at the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. Gov. Phil Scott has told the federal government that he has "concerns" about plans to expand the refuge.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

A proposal to expand a U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuge in northeast Vermont has stirred up long-running tensions between conservationists and the Vermont timber industry.

Built about 150 years ago, Mill Pond Dam in Colchester, Vt., is currently breached, but still creating a small swamp upstream.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Unlike large hydropower dams, where there's often serious political and emotional resistance to removal, conservationists are finding many landowners of small dams are happy to have them removed.

The Vermont Air National Guard announced it has discovered PFCs in a private water well near its airport base.
Jtasphoto / iStock

The Vermont Air National Guard announced it has discovered elevated levels of Perfluorinated Compounds, also known as PFCs, in a private drinking water well near the guard base at Burlington International Airport, in South Burlington.

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