By the Way for May 10

The U.S. Postal Service on Saturday, May 12, will hold its annual food drive to help those less fortunate in our communities.
Participants are asked to drop off donations of non-perishable food at their local Post Office on that date, or place them inside your rural mailbox for pickup. If your food items won’t fit into your mailbox, USPS officials ask that you place them in a plastic bag secured to your box, so the carrier can just grab it and go. Officials stress this event isn’t for a spring cleaning of cupboards, and donors should be careful not to include any spoiled or outdated items.
One of the Vermont’s premier wildlife watching opportunities is happening right now. State fish and wildlife officials say steelhead rainbow trout have started their upstream migration, leaping up waterfalls in a spectacular display of determination on their way to their spawning grounds. One place to see migrating steelhead is at Lewis Creek Falls in North Ferrisburgh, said Jud Kratzer, fisheries biologist for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Trout jumping over scenic waterfalls are typical from places like Alaska, but many people may not realize we have these same viewing opportunities right here in Vermont. Steelhead can be spotted moving up the falls during warmer days in early May. The best times to spot the fish leaping the falls are in late morning and early afternoon as the sun warms the waters.
Another sign of spring: Wildflowers! This Sunday, May 13, the Mount Independence State Historic Site in Orwell will host its annual “spring wildflower guided walk.” The tour, from 1 to 3 p.m., will be led by expert Amy Olmsted. Participants are asked to meet outside the museum. Wear sturdy shoes or boots, and dress for the weather. This special event will showcase Mount Independence before it opens for the regular season on Saturday, May 26. The walk is co-sponsored by the Mount Independence Coalition and Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 15. The Mount Independence State Historic Site is one of the best-preserved Revolutionary War archeological sites, located at 497 Mount Independence Road, just six miles west of the intersections of Vermont Routes 22A and 73 near Orwell village.
Come groove with the MUHS Jazz Band for “1960s Jazz Night” on Tuesday, May 15, at 7 p.m., which will serve as a fundraiser for the Middlebury Union High School Scholars Bowl team’s upcoming trip to Atlanta for the National Quiz Bowl Tournament. Participants will thrill to the sounds of the legendary Count Basie as they dance and sample delicious desserts. Some nice weather will permit the event to be held in the MUHS courtyard. It will be held in the school cafeteria if it’s raining. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students, and free for children ages 5 and under.
A couple of Addison County organizations will get a piece of $1,599,842 in federal grants through the Lake Champlain Basin Program for communities and organizations in Vermont and New York that are implementing projects to improve water quality, reduce impacts from invasive species, and expand interpretation of the culture and heritage of the Lake Champlain watershed. Recipients include the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum ($10,000), to develop a teaching unit about diatoms in freshwater ecosystems as part of an exhibit at Basin Harbor and aboard the Lois McClure replica schooner; and Vermont Folklife Center ($5,000), in developing six Franco-American “Singing Schools” that use songs collected by the center in recent years. A songbook will contain lyrics in French, phonetic versions of the French language text for non-French readers, and sheet music for the associated tunes.

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