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From establishing new partnerships to strengthening old ones, the BRAT continues to grow stronger every year because of the interest and consistent commitment of volunteers and supporters.  There are so many ways you can help!  Donations of time and elbow-grease are a major help, as are monetary donations of any amount. 

With gratitude,

Kelly Stettner, Director


Logging of a Bygone Era - fascinating and free presentation!

Damon Hall, Hartland, VT
January 18, 4 - 6 PM

Retired forester Dick Nason will show slides and movies of logging practices no longer seen in Vermont.  Relive the days of logging with handsaws and horses.  Dick will talk you through the era with entertaining stories of log driving and the hard life of the crews.   Free admission, light refreshments will be on hand.  Call the Ottauquechee Natural Resources Conservation District for more information at (802) 436-2266.


Collecting info on the river

We're still at it!  Bill Manner is wrapping up the 2013 data report for our water quality monitoring program as well as making sure we are ready to roll for the 2014 season.  Volunteers Jan Lambert and Charlie Kramp continue their commitment to this program, stepping up to collect samples from various points along the Black River in Springfield.  As funding expands in the years to come, the program can expand to include reaches further upstream in the watershed.  Learn how you can lend a hand, by collecting monthly samples at one of our 11 sites or by donating some money to this very important project.

Line Keepers to the rescue!

Fishing line left behind can foul boat propellers, tackle and hooks can wound, maim, cripple, and even kill water birds and other animals.  In an effort to keep our waterways clean and our shorelines healthy, the BRAT is teaming up with local partners to build some Line Keepers: PVC tubes designed to be a receptacle for waste fishing line, keeping tackle such as lures, hooks, and sinkers out of the environment.

The goal: encourage anglers, boaters, and other river visitors to find, collect, and dispose of waste line and tackle into these Line Keepers.  The waste line will be shipped to the Berkeley company for recycling into special fish habitat components; the lures and hooks will be brought to the Springfield Recycle and Transfer Station; any lead sinkers will be properly removed from circulation as per VT Fish & Wildlife.

Over time, Line Keepers will be installed and maintained at various public fishing access sites around the watershed -- you can help by stepping up to monitor the Hoyt's Landing Line Keeper once a week for a few weeks, or helping to spread the word about this cool new fixture in our fishing (and boating) communities!

Garlic mustard pulling party

Join the fun at the Springweather Nature Area near Stoughton Pond on the Springfield/Weathersfield border on Saturday, May 10th.  BRAT joins forces with the Ascutney Mtn Audubon Society for a foray into the woods!  There will be early-morning bird-watching led by AMAS, then roll up your sleeves -- yours truly will show you what garlic mustard looks like, why this plant is a real problem, and how to properly pull it from the ground without leaving behind bits that will re-sprout.  Please RSVP for this event (bird-watching tour and/or garlic mustard 'party') so I know how many folks to plan on.  I will make sure you get details as they are finalized.

Think about barberry
Another nasty invasive plant that's causing problems for forests as well as for humans, Japanese barberry is sold commercially in many different varieties or cultivars.  While barberry may not behave badly on your property, the seeds are deposited in the woods by birds and other small animals that feast on the berries, growing massive thickets in the woods and becoming a haven for mice.  The tick population explodes, and Lyme Disease spreads exponentially.  Got barberry?  I've got a weed wrench, and I'll happily strategize with you on removing your bushes!  Native alternatives include high bush blueberry, winterberry, and dogwoods, if you have a hankering to feed the wildlife.

Big thanks to John Lambert

John, husband of long-time BRAT Jan Lambert, invited me to the garage at his dealership, Lambert Auto of Claremont NH, where he was assembling Line Keeper fishing line recycling units for the BRAT.  I never did get a decent photo of him other than his hands holding various tools and implements, but he did a bang-up job putting together the units!  He went over all the pieces he purchased, walked me through the process from cutting the 6" diameter PVC pipe to assembling all the fittings, drilling the holes, fabricating the swivel-door to keep nesting birds out, and much more.  I can't thank him enough for his time and efforts, plus the expense of all these pieces -- 6" PVC pipe fittings are not cheap, I'll tell you that!

This unit will be installed at Hoyt's Landing here in Springfield; another will be erected at Herrick's Cove in partnership with the Ascutney Mountain Audubon Society; a third will be used as a demo model to share at public events such as the Herrick's Cove Wildlife Festival, to teach people about the program.

Many thanks, John and Jan!  A great BRATty duo, passionate about taking care of our natural resources.