Summer hikes 2017
Let’s Go Birding! A beginner’s bird walk.
June 17, 9-11am
An Otter Creek Audubon Society – MALT combined event.
Meet at Wright Park, Seymour St Ext, Middlebury
Led by experienced birders!
A guided bird walk for all ages at Wright Park in Middlebury. Family friendly but strollers not recommended. Bring binoculars or borrow ours. Snack provided! As this is a bird walk, please leave your dog at home.
Recharge with Nature: lose your troubles in the woods
July 8, 9-10:30am, Location: Battell Woods entrance to the TAM on the left (south) side of Seminary St Ext
Led by Michelle McCauley, MC Professor of Psychology
Description: During this hike, we’ll find out why spending time in nature is so important for our physical and emotional well-being. It’s becoming clearer that nature can help us deal with stressful situations and positively influence our health. Books like Last Child in the Woods link lack of exposure to nature to decreases in childhood well-being. Researchers in England demonstrated that people living near green space have less mental distress and Japanese researchers have shown that a 15-minute forest walk can reduce stress hormone levels and heart rate. The Stanford researcher Greg Bratman believes that being outside in a pleasant environment changes the extent to which you focus on negative emotions. Our hike leader, Michelle McCauley, is Professor of Psychology at Middlebury College, where she teaches the courses Environmental Psychology, Environmental Problems & Behavior, and Awe, Happiness & Positive Psychology, among others.
Michelle McCauley is Professor of Psychology at Middlebury College, where she teaches about the connection between psychological wellbeing and spending time in nature. Her research focuses on how psychological theory applies to social issues such as environmental engagement. She is part of a working group on contemplative environmental studies. For fun, she engages in Darwinian gardening, eats weeds, writes for Hurry Up Please It’s Time, a web comic about the environment, culture, and science, and hangs out with her partner Kevin Kite, two creative kids, a couple of cats, and a few thousand pollinators.
Spying on Nature: Mystery in our own Woods
Saturday, July 29th, 2017; 9:00 a.m. – 10:30
Meet at Middlebury College Organic Garden
Led by Elana Feldman and Morgan Perlman, MC students
In this hike, we will take time to carefully observe the mystery and beauty of the natural world. It will be a great way to train your eyes to see and your ears to hear what’s hiding along the TAM. The hike will start with a short introduction to the College’s Organic Garden, and will continue onto the TAM, then we will retrace our steps back to the Garden. This hike is geared toward all ages, but is not stroller-accessible.
Elana Feldman: Elana is a Middlebury College student from Swampscott, Massachusetts. She loves spending the summer outdoors reading, hiking, and learning about trees.
Morgan Perlman: Morgan is a rising junior at Middlebury College, with a focus in Environmental Studies and Conservation Biology. He hales from Bala Cynwyd, PA just outside of Philadelphia. But he lovse to call Vermont home! He is an avid birder. Nature writing is a passion.
Our Fall 2016 Newsletter is out now
Click here to see online: 2016Fallnewsletter.pdf
Wright Park Habitat Restoration Project
If you were out in Wright Park on the TAM lately, you might have noticed a Brontosaurus brush cutter clearing an area that was growing up into thickets and forest. The Wright Park Habitat Restoration Project is a partnership with the Town of Middlebury and Audubon Vermont with support from the Otter Creek Natural Resources Conservation District and the US Fish and Wildlife Partners Program. The project is an effort to enhance and create early successional shrubland habitat for priority bird species in the Champlain Valley. These species include Golden-winged Warblers, Eastern Towhee, and Brown Thrasher. As part of this work trees will be removed in portions of the park to maintain the open shrubland habitat. In addition invasive plant species will be removed allowing native shrub species such as dogwoods and viburnums to predominate. Bird monitoring efforts will be undertaken to assess the impacts of the restoration work on priority bird species.
MALT’s Annual Meeting, Wednesday, November 2
Merle Schloff was the presenter at this year’s MALT annual meeting held on November 2nd at the Congregational Church in Salisbury. Schloff spoke about the Salisbury Mills site and reintroduced a management plan that was conducted in 2006 by a MALT-led committee in collaboration with students from the Conway School of Landscape Design and Executive Director at the time, Gioia Kuss.
The Salisbury Mills site was conveyed to MALT in 2004 by the Peterson family and is one of few large properties owed by the land trust. It is a 70-acre parcel of woodland that the Leicester River runs through. The property has rich historical significance as the site of several mill industries that were powered by the river running between Lake Dunmore and Salisbury Village. Historic relics from these mills still exist throughout the property, as do roads and trails that travel that wind through the woods.
Schloff and other advocates for further development of this property feel there is great potential to be met by establishing historical, ecological and recreational tours within Salisbury Mills.
The MALT board plans to continue investigating these potentials and what opportunities and resources there may be to open this property to greater community use.
Trail work and projects:
There is a New interactive map online for those who would like to check out all the features. It was created by our Middlebury College summer intern, Mariah Neilsen, with help from Prof. Bill Hegman at the Geography Department. It is zoomable, clickable, printable!
|We’ve been working hard on clearing a lot of trees that came down after the big summer storm July 23rd. Thanks so much to everyone who helped with this, either clearing the TAM or reporting blockages!|
|The Middlebury College Football Team
worked on graveling along the ’97 Trail
and cut brush along the MC Garden.
|Russian students from Project Harmony International helped to cut invasive plants in Wright Park on Tuesday. They are here in the US for several weeks as part of their ecological studies program, and have spent time at Dartmouth and UVM on various projects pertaining to conservation and sustainability.|
|Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center Occupational Education students have spent several days moving gravel in Wright Park. For the United Way Day of Caring, PAHCC Forestry Program made small work of many leaning trees along the Wright Park TAM, and PAHCC Medical Professions hauled wood chips and cleared side trails with loppers and hand saws.|
On Trails: An Exploration
Co-sponsored book signing at Vermont Book Shop
Thursday, September 15, 6:30pm
Robert Moor will read from and sign his new book, On Trails: An Exploration. On Trails is an exploration of how trails help us understand the world from tiny ant paths to hiking trails that cross continents, from interstate highways to the Internet. Moor, a recipient of the Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Journalism, has the adventurer’s love for paths untaken and the philosopher’s knack for asking big questions. This event is free and open to the public. Presented with Middlebury Area Land Trust, celebrating the Trail Around Middlebury! 100% of donations collected that night will benefit the TAM.
Click on the Facebook link
Spring Newsletter: click here to read in .pdf form.
South Ridge Conservation Easement
The Middlebury Area Land Trust (MALT) is proud to announce that we have accepted a conservation easement on a portion of the lands owned by Middle Road Ventures at South Ridge in Middlebury, VT (adjacent to and south of the Middlebury Union Middle School). The easement transaction was completed on July 13th 2015, and permanently protects 42 acres of important wildlife habitat, water resources, and beautiful scenery.
Charlie Kireker (Managing Partner of Middle Road Ventures) came to MALT with a vision of providing a protected sanctuary for the Indiana bat, along with other wildlife and plants that inhabit the property. The land is located at the end of Middle Road, southeast of South Ridge Village. It also has the potential to serve as an extension of the Trail Around Middlebury, providing a link to the Jeffery Murdoch Preserve, as well as offering the opportunity to access a new trail extension that can connect to Creek Road in the future.
To help celebrate this achievement, local Author Don Mitchell gave a talk at the MALT Annual Meeting, held October 22nd at Lincoln Peak Winery. Don spoke about his involvement with bats and the land, emphasizing the importance of protecting bat habitat such as the land at South Ridge.
Thank you Charlie, for your vision, perseverance, and inspiration!
ONGOING: Marsh, Meadow, and Grassland Wildlife Walks
MALT and Otter Creek Audubon Society invite you to join us as we survey birds and wildlife of Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland. All walks start at Otter View Park parking lot in Middlebury. Shorter and longer routes possible. The primary walking path at OVP is universally accessible.
Please wear appropriate clothes and footwear for the conditions, including boots if necessary. Walks run from 8:00am – 11:00am. Walks start at 7:00am in the summer.
Don’t miss a hike because you forgot!
Sign up to get email updates here!
We keep our email lists private, don’t worry.
Annual Reports and Newsletters:
For older publications, click here.
Numina Wilderness School has kids’ nature programs during the school year , as well as summer camps. Check out their website here: natureschooler.blogspot.com.
Special guest: Don Mitchell
Falling for Bats
Don Mitchell will discuss his mental and emotional journey from being wary of bats to becoming enamored of them, thanks to a three-year habitat project on his New Haven farm. Since bats are under pressure from various causes including White Nose Syndrome, and since our shared ecosystem–not to mention Halloween– wouldn’t be the same without them, this should be a timely and lively story of falling in love.
Lincoln Peak Vineyard
142 River Rd, New Haven
Thursday, October 22nd, 6 – 8 pm
Local and homemade snacks will be served. Cash wine bar. Signed copies of Don’s book, Flying Blind, will be for sale at the meeting.
Sunday, September 20, Wright Park, click here for more information.