Recent News

Vermont eBirders Gather Big Bird Data During County Quest

January 21, 2020

From day one when eBirders reported an incredible 73 bird species on a cold winter day to a Say's Phoebe, a rare visitor found in late November, Vermont birders scoured the state to discover as many bird species as possible during the 9th annual Vermont eBird County Quest, and set some records along the way. 2019 marked the 16th year for Vermont eBird, the first state or provincial portal for eBird. Bird watchers have shared an astounding number of checklists, making Vermont eBird (a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life) the largest citizen science biodiversity project in the state. Nearly 8,825 Vermont eBirders have submitted just under 375,000 complete checklists, representing all 385 species of birds ever reported from Vermont. We’ve added almost 75,000 images, over 4,700 sound recordings, and 10 videos to Vermont checklists, creating an incredible open access resource. Read the entire year in review and learn about the 2019 County Quest champions on the VCE Blog »

2019 Norwich Bird Quest Racks up 177 Species

January 17, 2020

From transient winter visitors like Bohemian Waxwings, Pine Grosbeaks and Common Redpolls to splashy spring migrants like Bay-breasted and Canada warblers, Norwich hosted a steady stream of avian treasures in 2019. And, birders rose to the occasion in both tracking and celebrating them. The 2019 Norwich Bird Quest closed out the year by eclipsing its goal of 175 species found within town borders, with an impressive final tally of 177. Equally noteworthy was that 17 birders contributed 1,303 Norwich-specific Vermont eBird checklists during 2019, creating the foundation of that stellar compilation. Who knew?! Read more and view wonderful images from the year on the VCE Blog »

Volunteers Help the Vermont Atlas of Life Build Biodiversity Big Data in 2019

January 02, 2020

From the first observation of 2019, a Barred Owl sitting on a deck submitted by naturalist extraordinaire Roy Pilcher, to a Christmas Fern laying on snow shared by Bondaley on the last day of the year, naturalists added over 100,000 biodiversity records to our rapidly growing database of life in Vermont. And amazing observations kept coming all year long. We had 3,896 naturalists contribute more than 104,140 observations representing over 3,300 species verified. Over 2,800 naturalist helped to identify and verify data. And we joined the more than 615,000 iNaturalists worldwide that submitted over 13 million observations in 2019! Read the story on the VCE Blog »

December 2019 Photo-observation of the Month

January 01, 2020

Congratulations to Craig Hunt for winning the December 2019 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. The image of a Sharp-shinned Hawk taking a Blue Jay in the snow in Townsend, Vermont garnered the most votes. Read more on the VCE Blog »

A Tribute to Ross Bell

December 01, 2019

Last month we lost a giant among us. Dr. Ross Bell , a world-renowned entomologist and naturalist died at the age of 90. In 1955, he was hired for a one-year position at the University of Vermont. A year later he was offered a permanent tenured position and spent his entire career there as a popular professor teaching inspirational courses, guiding graduate students, and pursuing his own research. Teamed with Joyce, his wife of 62 years, the pair more than quadrupled our knowledge of Rhysodine beetles by adding descriptions of ~260 new species to the Vermont list of ~80 known species when they started. During the 1960s the Bells began a program to learn the fauna of Vermont and to compile extensive records of natural history information. Through this work they built the UVM Entomological Collection into an important resource for science and conservation, and they inspired us here at VCE to launch the Vermont Atlas of Life, where we’ve helped to digitize, publish, and archive some of their amazing work with Carabid beetles and Orthoptera in Vermont. Ross Bell’s interest in insects began with the childhood gift of an insect collecting kit from his parents. Let’s get more kids outdoors looking at bugs and spawn a new generation of entomologists that would make Ross smile. »

Vermont Wild Bee Survey Records Over 9,000 Bees in 2019

December 09, 2019

Last week the Vermont Wild Bee Survey (VTBees) reached a milestone. Our project coordinator, Spencer Hardy, and our intern, Katie McGranaghan, blow dried, pinned and entered the last bee of 2019 to our collection and database. It was a female Mining Bee (genus Andrena),likely Advantaged Miner Bee (A. commoda), and is the 7,680th and final bee specimen processed from our 2019 survey. This certainly represents the largest ever collection of bees from the state, and one of the broadest such efforts for the region. If nothing else it is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our twelve citizen scientists who collected 3,332 of these bees. Together, we surveyed bees across Chittenden County, from the shorelines of Lake Champlain to the lofty summit of Mount Mansfield, and from the Burlington suburbs to rural fields and forests. Read more on the VCE Blog »

A Lifetime of Beetles

December 01, 2019

A lifetime of work on the ground beetles of Vermont and New Hampshire, Carabidae of Vermont and New Hampshire by Ross T. Bell, Professor Emeritus of the University of Vermont with species maps produced by the Vermont Atlas of Life at VCE, is now available as a PDF. Learn more on the VCE Blog »

Team Pipit’s Extraordinary Birding Feat: 150 species in all 14 Vermont Counties

November 26, 2019

Quietly, methodically, patiently, persistently, and always enthusiastically, Fred (Pat) Pratt has scoured the State of Vermont on a remarkable birding odyssey for eight years. This past weekend, he made Vermont birding history with his discovery of a pair of Northern Shovelers at Lake Paran in North Bennington. That sighting—unremarkable in itself, perhaps—signaled the end of a legendary quest and Pat’s achievement of a formidable goal, one which any birder will be challenged to match ever again. Those shovelers marked species #150 for Pat in Bennington County during 2019, and the final capstone in his mission to document 150 species in all of Vermont’s 14 counties, each within a calendar year! Read the story on the VCE Blog »