As of December 1, 2013
Total Hours: 3141.65
Montpelier has a wonderful community who generously donates their time to helping to keep Montpelier Parks clean and beautiful! It always is amazing to see how many hours every year community members donate. Here is a fun way to keep track of how many hours people are donating and how many volunteers help out at the park.
If you are you interested in volunteering at the park, call the park office at 802-223-7335 or email Parks Director Geoff Beyer at Geoffbeyer@gmail.com
Winter, Winter, Winter!
Written by: Stephanie Olsen
Winter. What a beautiful time in Vermont. Snow freshly covering the ground and draped on the trees gives the woods and Montpelier a cozy New England feel. Winter is an exciting time here at Hubbard Park. As my second term as an AmeriCorps member at the Parks department here in Montpelier carries on, I have heard so many folks talk about the adventures they have in Hubbard Park and North Branch River Park during the winter and how much they enjoy winter time at the parks. So to get everyone excited for winter and all of the fun that comes with it, I will be writing about one winter activity and my adventure during that activity every Monday!
Because I have majored in Conservation Ecology and focused on Wildlife Management, I LOVE tracking wildlife. Winter is a wonderful time to track wildlife and the snow holds a great story of what that animal was doing. One of the best ways to track wildlife and identify what animals roams the forests is by Snowshoeing. Here is one of my snowshoeing adventures from last winter...
A great place to wildlife track and snowshoe is at the North Branch River Park. When I got out tracking, I usually take notes on what I have found and the weather conditions that I am tracking in. The day was Saturday January 5, 2013. The skies were blue but the temperatures were cold. Winds were still and the air temperature was about 11 degrees. I strapped my snowshoes on at around 2:30 p.m. and headed out to the North Branch River Park. Cold enough to have a scarf to cover up my nose, gloves to protect my fingers, and a heavy pink Carhartt jacket to keep me warm but not cold enough to keep me indoors.
I hiked for about 2 hours before calling it a day. Two hours brought many stories and many of Vermont's wildlife left behind for me to figure out. I headed up the trail to find quickly a White-Trailed Deer run going across the trail. I veered off the trail to follow the run to get a good idea of where the deer were traveling too. While traveling alongside the trail, I found evidence of deer munching along the way. Indents in the snow showed where weary deer took a nap in the snow to restore energy to help them survive through the winter. Usually, these beds were located under conifer trees where temperatures were just slightly warmer. Eventually, trails led to a water source and an apple tree nestled in the woods, with the hope of hidden apples under the snow.
I was also able to find Bobcat tracks traveling in a straight line through the park! How exciting! I do know that North Branch Nature Center has caught bobcat photos on their game camera. I wondered if this cat I was following was the same one captured on the camera. Other tracks found were Red Squirrel, Northern Raccoon, and Fisher! What an exciting day! Another track found which intrigues me is a small mouse going in and out of tunnels in the snow. The tunnels exposed are exciting to see! It amazes me that animals such as Red Foxes and Barred Owls can hear these small animals in their snow tunnels traveling from one food cache to another. With their sharp sense of hearing, they dive into the snow where the mouse is and snatch it up for a well earned meal.
For about 20 minutes I also watched a Downy Woodpecker excavate a dead limb for any scrap of food. Twenty minutes of observing this bird in it's natural habitat, it flew off to another location and I traveled onward. Snowshoeing is a great way to see Vermont's wildlife in a different way. It also provides great exercise and motivation in the winter months. I recommend grabbing a pair of snowshoes and heading out to the woods. You will be amazed with how much animal activity you can find.
Look forward to another fun adventure next week!
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