How to help Vt. wildlife as habitat is decreasing

CORNWALL — What would Vermont be like without its wild animals? Find out when Middlebury College biologist and ecologist Steve Trombulak presents “Take a Walk on the Wild Side: How Animals Move In and Around Vermont” on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. at Bingham Memorial Elementary School in Cornwall.
Imagine a Vermont without wildlife. It is hard to believe that many of the animals that we see in our forests, rivers and streams and even in our backyards were once completely absent in Vermont, having lost their essential habitat through the clearing of land or from being hunted or trapped to extinction.
Turkey, wolves, moose, deer, otter, bear, pine marten, lynx, beaver, catamount, osprey, eagle and peregrine falcon are some examples. That most of these species have made a comeback is a wonderful story, the result of the efforts of many people and the welcoming, forested habitat that reclaimed much of the state’s abandoned farmland.
Today Vermont is again at a crossroads with its wildlife. Both climate change and the development of open land demand that Vermonters take notice. For the first time in decades, the amount of available habitat, the forests, fields and waters that wildlife depend upon, is decreasing. Driven by the conversion of natural areas to commercial and residential use, these changes impact Vermont’s wildlife differently. Some species will continue to thrive in closer proximity to people.
But many species avoid human contact. They survive by moving between blocs of intact forest and wetlands to find food, to mate, and to rear their young. Careful planning will be needed to keep critical habitat intact and, equally important, to protect the vegetative travel corridors that link these areas. Both are essential to wildlife survival.
Trombulak is no newcomer to these concerns. He is the author of numerous articles and books on biodiversity and conservation planning. He will discuss the wildlife corridors and connectivity habitat that shape the region’s ecology, how different species move through and over this landscape, and land management strategies for maintaining wildlife in the regional ecosystem.
The program is sponsored by the Cornwall Conservation Commission and the Cornwall Trust for Public Fund and is free and open to the public.

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