This conference will have a day where participants can join an organized field trip. Field trips will occur on June 7th, and most will start around 8 AM. Closer to the field trip, we will share the meeting location.
In this trip, we'll look at the cultural, archaeological and natural history of Vermont's largest lake, At 110 miles long, Lake Champlain is both a transportation corridor and a barrier to human and animal movement. We'll explore the historical significance of this beautiful place and hear from biologists about ongoing studies to understand its ecology. We'll make stops at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, the Champlain Bridge and Mt Independence. Mt. Independence is the most intact Revolutionary War site in the US.
In this hands on excursion, participants will explore wetlands and vernal pools in southern Addison County looking for a variety of Vermont's amphibian and reptile species including, wood frogs, spotted salamanders, eastern musk turtle, painted turtle, and snapping turtle. We'll visit wetlands in the Pond Woods Wildlife Management Area, a successful salamander crossing structure and a road segment that is in design for a series of snake crossings. The trip will involve about 1.5 miles of hiking. Expect to be moving around wetlands where rubber boots are recommended for versatility but not required.
Moose are an iconic Vermont species. Motorists, cyclists and hikers may be lucky enough to experience this majestic animal standing shoulder deep in roadside wetlands seemingly unconcerned, or unfortunate enough to see a dark, hulking shape in the middle of a rural road in the middle of the night. Participants in this trip will learn more about moose biology and ecology and will stop at several locations of prime moose habitat in Groton State Forest including; Osmore Pond, the Groton Nature Center and Seyon Ranch. Be prepared to hike about 1.5 miles.
The Vermont landscape of scattered quant villages and rural countryside represents a special context for wildlife road crossings. Scattered driveways and far flung housing limit many crossing opportunities and significant flooding events are on the rise in the face of a changing climate. These create both challenge and opportunity as Vermont looks to focus on a statewide system of bridges and culverts that meet multiple values including flood resilience, aquatic organism passage and terrestrial wildlife movement. Route 12 passes through a large area of conservation concern and action. On this exciting road tour, participants will see under-bridge wildlife shelves, culvert replacements and floodplain restoration sites exemplifying our approach.
In this unique trip, we'll explore Vermont's cultural and natural history BY BIKE! As many of you know, usually our field trips are by bus. This time we will give the bus and climate a break and bike-trip. Participants can bring their own bike, or rent nearby. We will explore the Island Line bike trail along the shores of beautiful Lake Champlain. We'll see how 460 million years of geologic history have shaped the Vermont landscape and created a unique ecological stage for our people and transportation system. We'll stop along the bike path to see carnivorous plants in Colchester Bog, geologic layering that is evidence of plate tectonics, the Winooski river delta and an old rail causeway that allows cyclists out into the middle of the lake. Participants will bike approximately 15 miles on mostly flat, paved bike trail that is separate from the road network.
In this half-day walking tour around Burlington, participants will meet with city planners and Department of Public Works professionals to learn more about the City's efforts to invest in bike/ pedestrian infrastructure and utilize rail that brings freight and passenger service into our city center. We'll see the City's railyard and train station that now connects Burlington with New York City and Montreal (with a bus connection) as well as our bike network and other planning efforts. Participants should expect to walk for about 2 miles on city sidewalks.
Vermont has a long history of resort development dating back to the 1800s when healing spas were widely advertised. Today, resort development offers year-round activities from skiing and snowboarding to downhill mountain biking and all-terrain vehicles. But resort development also comes with challenges both for our land use planning and our ecology as development is proposed for sensitive mountaintops and headwaters. In this half-day trip participants will visit the Stowe resort and take the gondola to the top of Mount Mansfield with panoramic views from VT's highest peak. Be prepared for a small amount of hiking at the summit (Potentially rugged weather conditions and uneven walking surfaces).