Ripples: The Newsletter of the
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
Looking Back, Moving Forward
December 2012


Respect          Protect          Enjoy


In This Issue
From the Secretary's Desk: The Year In Review
Beautiful and Mysterious Frost Flowers Make An Appearance In Vermont
Fish & Wildlife Awards Lifetime Hunting & Fishing License to Williamstown Man
2012 Vermont Tree Steward Award Recipients Announced
DEC to Hold Public Meetings To Explain New Flood Map Designations & Discuss Insurance Options
Best Parks for Winter Recreation
Vermont Surpasses 200 Businesses Recognized for Green Practices

What's In the Woods?


Last month's "What's in the Woods" quiz must have been a tough one, because we did not get a single submission that correctly answered all six tracks plus the bonus question. Congratulations to Paul Hill Jr. who correctly identified four out of six of the questions successfully, plus correctly answered the bonus question.
The correct answers are listed below:
A: Coyote
B: Turkey

C: Moose
D: Red Squirrel
E: Bobcat
F: Raccoon
G (Bonus Question): An owl made a meal of whatever small critter had been traversing through the snow.
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From the Secretary's Desk: The Year In Review

I hope you all had a lovely holiday with family and friends. As we welcome in the New Year I want to take a moment to reflect on all we accomplished this past year, and what we have to look forward to in the coming year.

2012 was a year of transitions and challenge for the Agency of Natural Resources. Despite this, we made some significant steps forward.

Irene Recovery efforts still dominated much of our agenda, with continued work along with our partners at VTRANS and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development to restore roads, rebuild communities, and to restore and repair the waterways that were damaged during the immediate aftermath of the storm. We also worked closely with legislative committees to craft a new law that will help us better respond to future flood emergencies and which should help make our communities more resilient to the damage caused by flooding.

ANR staff and leadership also struggled with our dislocation.Read more.

Frost flowers on Maidstone Lake, photo credit: Lisa Plourde
Beautiful and Mysterious Frost Flowers Make An Appearance In Vermont 

Did any of you catch the recent NPR article about frost flowers? Beautiful and mysterious, these delicate ice formations usually form in the kind of frigid conditions typical to the arctic and antarctic.
Frost flowers form when the air is so much colder than the water that the newly formed ice sublimates, changing directly from a solid state to a gas and bypassing the liquid state altogether. Initially, the water vapor formed by sublimation is the same temperature as the ice around it, but when it is exposed to the much colder air it is quickly cooled. The air around the ice formations becomes supersaturated with water vapor, and when it touches another ice crystal the water vapor immediately turns back to ice, forming delicate, flower-like crystals that float atop the surface of the water.
Frost flowers on the arctic ocean
Frost flowers on the Arctic ocean, photo credit: Matthias Wietz
Usually this process occurs on the cold polar seas, where the salinity of the water keeps it in a liquid state even though the air around it is well below zero. However, very occasionally when the conditions are just right, frost flowers can form in fresh water bodies. Lisa Plourde, a seasonal resident of Maidstone Vermont caught the image above on a cold December morning at Maidstone Lake.  We thought this story, and the image above were too amazing not to share!
Fish & Wildlife Department Awards A Lifetime Hunting & Fishing License to Williamstown Man 

Each year the Vermont Fish & Wildlife folks award one lucky outdoorsperson with a lifetime hunting and fishing license. This year, the winner was Dan Hegarty, a 50-year old sportsman from Williamstown VT. Dan's ticket was chosen from among 329 entries.


The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department held its annual License of a Lifetime lottery at the December 13th meeting of the Fish and Wildlife Board in Montpelier. Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry acknowledged that not only is the lottery a fun way to win a valuable lifetime license, but it also offers a great opportunity to support conservation work in Vermont. "Even if you don't win the license, it is a good feeling to know you have contributed to fish and wildlife conservation in Vermont."


Tickets to enter Vermont's License of a Lifetime are available for a mere $2.00. You can purchase a ticket anywhere that hunting and fishing licenses are sold, and there is no limit on the number of times you can enter during a year. A printable application is also available here.


For more information on the types of hunting and fishing licenses available in Vermont, visit the Fish & Wildlife web page.

  2012 Vermont Tree Steward Awards Announced

Each year, the Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Council sponsors Tree Steward awards as a way to recognize Vermont groups and citizens who are working within our communities to protect, nurture and advocate for trees, and for the benefits that they bring. The awards cover a variety of categories but share one simple thing in common. "These awards help us say thank you for the great work volunteers are doing to promote trees in our communities," says Lee Krohn, Chair of the Urban & Community Forestry Council. "These are the people who go out on a limb for trees because they understand the benefits trees provide and they recognize that these benefits are maximized through careful planning and active stewardship."

Congratulations to this year's winners:
Community Category: Montpelier, for their work to promote the health, biodiversity and longevity of trees within their community.
Volunteer Group Category: Dummerston Conservation Commission was recognized in part for their wholistic view toward forest management which includes biodiversity conservation planning projects, invasive plant removal, rain garden installations, salamander crossings and vernal pool monitoring, just to name a few. Dummerston's citizen scientist monitoring program has become a model for the state.
Leader Category: Susan Smith is known to Charlotte residents as "Mrs. Invasive Plants". Her long and illustrious resume includes organization of aquatic invasives work days, co-chair of the Charlotte Park & Wildlife Preserve's Oversight Committee, and volunteer at the Nature Conservancy's Williams Woods. Susan is a long-standing champion of native and natural species who has demonstrated a sincere willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Youth/Student Category: After attending a Branch Out Burlington tree walk with his dad in June of 2012, Will Sighter approached the event's organizers to find out what he could do to help support their cause. With the help of his father, Will decided to help maintain Burlington's trees by pruning the suckers that often grow near the base of street trees.
From the time school ended until the end of September, Will went out three times a week for 2-3 hours at a time, pruning trees. Clocking an amazing 100+ hours of volunteer work, Will now has plans to speak about his experiences at his school and at other local schools in the community.
Unsung Hero Category: A long-time champion of trees, Polly Thompson first became involved in Branch out Burlington in 2002. While there, she was instrumental in both engaging the community and securing funding to support the many forestry-related programs that she helped to build over the years.
After a move to Bellows Falls, Polly continues to serve an instrumental role. She has recently initiated a discussion about the formation of a community tree nursery, as a way to reduce costs and bolster biodiversity of tree species available to the community of Bellows Falls.
A big thank you to each and every one of our 2012 Tree Steward Award recipients.
To learn more about each of our winners, have a look at their bios here.


Vermont ANR to Hold Public Meetings to Explain New Flood Insurance Options 


Property owners in Washington County can attend one of five scheduled public meetings to learn more about the newly revised flood hazard maps and the insurance options available for structures that may be affected by the updated designations.


Washington County flood insurance questions will be addressed at five public meetings in Waterbury, Barre City, Northfield, Marshfield, and Montpelier. The meetings will focus on newly revised flood hazard maps. Structures that have been identified for the first time as being at a high risk of damage by flooding may benefit by getting flood insurance now before the official map changes go into effect.


The Washington County Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM) will take effect on March 19, 2013. In some places the boundaries of the flood hazard area have changed. Where the flood hazard area is more extensive, flood insurance is available for residential structures as a low cost "Preferred Risk Policy" (PRP). After the map change the PRP can be renewed twice before the insurance increases step-wise to the full cost. Read more.


 Outdoor Fun Doesn't End When The Snow Flies


Everyone knows that Vermont's State Parks are the best of the best when it comes to hiking, boating, swimming, picnicking and camping, but did you know our parks offer world-class winter recreation opportunities as well?
During the off-season, residents and tourists alike can enjoy unparalleled access to the best that winter has to offer by visiting select state parks. Whether you are looking for a quiet place to snowshoe or cross-country ski, a perfect hill for sledding with the family or a wild snowmobile ride, there is a state park out there that is a perfect match. Have a look at this list of favorite parks for winter activities. Don't just sit there...get outside!

Vermont Surpasses 200 Businesses Recognized For Green Practices

Over 200 Vermont businesses have been recognized by the Vermont Business Environmental Partnership (VBEP) for their environmental stewardship efforts. The VBEP is a state program that provides assistance to businesses desiring to "green up" their operations and recognizes businesses of all sizes for meeting a set of environmental standards. These standards are posted on the program website ( & VBEP is a joint program of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the Vermont Small Business Development Center that is voluntary and free of cost to participating businesses. Vermont businesses joining the VBEP go beyond compliance with existing environmental regulations, using resource conservation strategies and implementation of environmental best management practices. In addition to attracting customers seeking environmentally responsible businesses, program members can save thousands of dollars a year by reducing energy and water use as well as waste disposal costs. They benefit from the operational advice and knowledge of VBEP representatives.


The VBEP program that started in 1998 now has 109 Green Hotels, 12 Green Restaurants, 4 Clean Marinas, 3 Green Links golf courses, 69 general sector business Environmental Partners, and 5 Environmental Leaders. Read more.

Like Us On Facebook! 
Liking the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources' Facebook page is a terrific way to stay connected to everything natural resource-related. Sustainability tips, hunting and fishing news, beautiful landscape and wildlife photos, public comment notices, all of these and more are available to our Facebook community. Why not become a part of it? Click here to visit our new page now!

Upcoming Events:


Public Meetings to Explain Updated Flood Map Designations and Insurance Options Available to Affected Property Owners In Washington County:


01/08/2013: Thatcher Brook Primary School, Waterbury VT     7pm


01/17/2013: Alumni Hall, Barre City VT     7pm


01/22/2013: Brown Public Library, Northfield VT     7pm


01/31/2013: Old Schoolhouse Common, Marshfield VT     7pm


02/05/2013: Memorial Room, City Hall, Montpelier VT     6pm

Contact Us:

Deb Markowitz, Secretary

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources