Porcupines: Bark-eating Beasties of the Northern Woods

A few years ago a visitor from South Carolina told me they saw a beaver climbing a tree in the woods behind my house. As much as I’d love to believe arboreal beavers inhabit woodlands around my house in central Vermont, it was highly unlikely. North American porcupines, which are similar in size and shape […]

Mink Fogs: The Frog of the North

Ever since my first introduction to the Northeast Kingdom (NEK) of Vermont back in high school I was hooked. Boreal forests, sphagnum wetlands, carnivorous plants, bubbling brooks, and moose-infested swamps all drew me back to the NEK time after time. It’s an area where the air even smells nice in a gas station parking lot! […]

Beavers

While kayaking in a town wetland a couple months ago I noticed a slow-moving trail of bubbles ahead of me. As a herpetologist, I recognized the bubbles as a sign there was a Common Snapping Turtle walking through the debris at the wetland bottom, so I decided to follow the bubble trail toward shallower water […]

Northern Hardwoods of Vermont

When people picture Vermont they conjure images of sap buckets on maple trees, fall foliage, rolling hills, and lush forested mountains peppered with lakes. Not that long ago, however, the landscape was very different. At the peak of environmental devastation in Vermont, around 1850, roughly 80% of Vermont’s land was cleared to make way for […]