Parasites are organisms that live off other living things. Fleas on a dog or ticks on a deer are common examples. Parasites are among the most successful animals on earth, and many have fascinating life cycles where they change form and move from one animal host to another. If you have ever fished for northern pike, bass, or panfish, chances are you have encountered a parasite known as black spot disease.
Spiny Softshell Turtles are part of Vermont's natural heritage. But these shy creatures are at risk of vanishing in both Vermont and Quebec due to waterfront development of their natural habitats. There are only two know nesting sites of this turtle in Vermont. But even though the sites are posted, turtles are still killed every year by careless individuals. The Lake Champlain Basin Science Center recently rescued some baby turtles from damaged nesting areas. They were raised at both the center and the Ecomuseum and Montreal. We recently joined members of the center for the turtle's reintroduction to their original nesting sites.
A natural community is an area that has experienced minimal human alteration. But when people spend time outdoors, in the woods or fields or along a stream, chances are they're passing through more than one natural community, sometimes resulting in a disturbance in the natural order. Understanding how these assemblages of plants, animals, insects, fish and reptiles co-exist can help preserve and protect the environment in which they live. We join Leif Richardson of the Vermont Non-game and Natural Heritage Program for a look at several natural communities in Niquette Bay State Park in Colchester.
- The Nature Conservancy -
- University of Vermont's School of
- The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
- The Vermont Backyard Forest
Ecology is the study of plants and animals and their relationship with the environment. Winter ecology is simply studying the relationship of plants and animals in the winter. Signs of wildlife in winter are sparse and often subtle, but to the trained eye, they tell a rich story of survival. At the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Woodstock, the study of our natural environment continues through Vermont's winter months. Teachers come to the Institute in winter to learn how to use outdoor activities to help their students develop a better understanding of their environment. We spent some time recently at the Institute with a group of teachers to learn a little about the world around us in winter.
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