REGION – The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department will be hosting a series of free guided walks on select state wildlife management areas this year in northern, central, and southern Vermont beginning this winter to look for winter wildlife and their tracks. The walks are led by biologists and naturalists with decades of experience conserving Vermont’s wildlife and their habitats. The walks will focus on bird watching as well as observing the sign or presence of other wildlife.
“These wildlife walks are a chance for Vermonters to get to know the state’s 98 wildlife management areas either in their own backyard, in a unique area such as along the Connecticut River Valley, the Lake Champlain Valley, or in a wild remote corner of the state,” said John Austin, lands and habitat program manager for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “We’ll have offerings throughout the year, from winter tracking walks to summer birding paddles. Whether you’re watching trout jump up Willoughby Falls in the spring, looking to observe unique birds, or looking for moose among the colorful fall foliage, there are always great opportunities to view wildlife on Vermont’s wildlife management areas.”
All seminars are free and participants are encouraged to bring snacks and water and to dress in footwear and clothing appropriate for walking slowly in the woods in winter. Space is limited to the first 30 sign-ups and these events fill up quickly, so sign up as early as possible. Go to www.vtfishandwildlife.com for more information and to sign up for the seminars.
“Wildlife Viewing Tour,” Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area, Victory, Vermont. Join St. Johnsbury biologists Doug Morin and Paul Hamelin for a wildlife-based exploration of a unique part of Vermont. Victory Basin is a vast lowland boreal forest, an environment common to northern Canada but rare here in Vermont, and this walk allows visitors to feel like they’ve stepped into another world. There is a possibility of spotting boreal wildlife such as snowshoe hare, gray jays, and possibly even tracks of an American marten. Doug Morin is a highly trained naturalist who manages Victory Basin WMA and Paul Hamelin is a veteran wildlife biologist who manages wildlife habitat on WMAs throughout the state. Backup date is Saturday, Feb. 9.
“Winter Wildlife of Vermont,” Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Middlesex Notch Wildlife Management Area, Middlesex, Vt. John Austin, lands and habitat program manager, will lead this tour of this unique area of mature forest at the base of central Vermont’s Worchester Range. Winter is a quiet time for wildlife on the landscape, but many species are still out and about and are easily located due to their tracks in the snow. This large forested property contains many important food sources for wildlife, meaning the group may see birds or mammals and their tracks as they forage for a winter meal. Backup date is Sunday, Feb. 17.
“Tracking Wildlife in Winter,” Saturday, March 2, 2019, 9 a.m. to noon, Turner Hill Wildlife Management Area, Grafton, Vt. Wildlife biologist Chris Bernier has spent his career working with mid-size mammals such as fisher, fox, and the elusive lynx and pine marten. Much of his fieldwork with these species has involved tracking them in the snow. Come learn Bernier’s tricks for tracking these and other wild mammals and birds. This tour is sponsored by The Nature Museum in Grafton, Vt. Backup date is Saturday, March 9.
Vermont’s wildlife management areas are owned and managed by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department for wildlife-based recreation such as hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching. These lands are purchased and managed in part using funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife Restoration Program using excise taxes on hunting and shooting equipment, as well as through hunting and trapping licenses and donations to the Vermont Habitat Stamp program.
Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities are available upon request. Please include a description of the accommodation you will need. Individuals making such requests must include their contact information. Please send an email to Catherine.Gjessing@Vermont.Gov or call the office staff at 802-828-1000 (voice), 1-800-253-0191 (TTY).