2018 Valley We Live In Series

1/25: Sustainable Forestry for Wildlife in Vermont (Lisa Sausville, Director, VT Coverts)

Join Lisa as she explains options and strategies for landowners and others to consider as they look to manage woodlands for wildlife.  Come and learn about both public and private organizations that can help with the development of a forest management plan, enrollment in current use, obtain recommendations from a biologist or forester and find financial resources to help with land management.  Lisa will also share some options for some actions that can have a quick benefit for wildlife species on your property.

Lisa Sausville is the Executive Director of Vermont Coverts:  Woodlands for Wildlife, a Vermont non-profit established in 1985.  The mission of Vermont Coverts is to enlist Vermont landowners and others in a long term commitment to maintain and enhance diverse wildlife habitat and healthy ecosystems.  Coverts flagship 3-day Cooperator Training offers landowners and others an in depth program on forest ecology and management, wildlife stewardship and outreach.


2/1: An Archaeological History of Vermont (Jess Robinson, State Archaeologist)

Jess Robinson will present an archaeological overview of Vermont’s past from the first human entrants into the region, approximately 13,000 years ago, to the arrival of Europeans and beyond. He will highlight recent discoveries and current debates throughout his presentation, including a discussion of a large-scale archaeological site excavation conducted for the Bennington Bypass project. Jess will be happy to answer questions following the presentation.

Jess Robinson, PhD, is the Vermont State Archaeologist in the Division for Historic Preservation. He is from Burlington and lives in Richmond with his wife and son.  Jess has 15 years of experience in Vermont, working as an archaeologist in both regulatory and academic settings. He is a PhD candidate at the University at Albany-SUNY, having received Masters Degrees in Anthropology and English. His graduate work has focused on Vermont’s Native history. Jess has published numerous articles and book chapters on the archaeology of Vermont and the Northeastern region, presenting his findings at local, regional, national and international conferences. He has taught classes at the University of Vermont and Johnson State College.



2/8: Growing up in Bennington in the 1950s (Ted Bird, local historian)

Please join local historian Ted Bird as he describes life in Bennington when he was a youngster. Included in his presentation will be a discussion of the Bennington schools, where kids went after school, churches, shops and places of employment. Especially interesting will be his discussion of rites of passage and how they entertained themselves.

Ted was born in Arlington and moved to Bennington when he was 12. He graduated from  Bennington High School in 1958 and with a partner bought Abe Noveck’s Music and Camera store in 1962.  He married to a Shaftsbury girl–Phyllis Spaulding– and they had three children, two of whom live in the Bennington area. Presently he sells commercial real estate for Hoisington Realty, Inc.


2/15: Vermont’s land use changes and their effects on wildlife populations (Kim Royar, VT Fish and Wildlife)

Join wildlife biologist Kim Royar as she walks through the history of land use in what is now Vermont from the time of the Native Americans to present. She will discuss how human changes to the landscape influenced the wildlife  that live in Vermont, particularly beaver, otter, coyote, bobcat, and wolf, etc.

Kim Royar is a wildlife biologist with the Department of Fish and Wildlife.  She has worked for the Department for 36 years in various roles including as a habitat biologist, furbearer biologist, Deputy Commissioner, and private lands biologist.  She is passionate about maintaining Vermont’s beautiful landscape for both wildlife and future generations of people.


2/22: The Idea of Vermont (Laird Christensen, Green Mountain College)

“The Idea of Vermont” explores the way that Vermont has evolved—socially and even physically—based on the ideas that people have about it, both within the state and beyond. Through the presentation, attendees will get a history lesson that illustrates the succession of various “ideas of Vermont” over the last 12,000 years. Christensen’s presentation will also look at how the idea of Vermont will likely change by the end of the current century.

Laird Christensen, PhD, Professor of English Literature and Environmental Studies, and Director of the Master of Science in Resilient and Sustainable Communities at Green Mountain College

Born and raised in western Oregon, Laird Christensen is a writer, teacher and activist focusing on the search for balance between the human and the wild. He teaches course in English Literature and Environmental Studies at Green Mountain College, where he directs the graduate program in Resilient and Sustainable Communities. His poems and essays have appeared in a variety of books and journals, including Northwest Review, Wild Earth, Northern Woodlands, and Studies in American Indian Literature.  His books include Teaching about Place: Learning from the Land and Teaching North American Environmental Literature.

Christensen’s teaching and writing are informed by a wide range of environmental experience, from grading lumber in Oregon to working as a ranger for the state of New Hampshire.  In 1999 the University of Oregon awarded him a Ph.D. for his dissertation, Spirit Astir in the World: Sacred Poetry in the Age of Ecology. Christensen has taught literature and writing at the Universities of Illinois and Oregon, as well as at Keene State, Franklin Pierce, and Alma Colleges. He served as the founding director of Green Mountain College’s Master of Science in Environmental Studies, and his teaching interests include American literature, creative writing, bioregionalism, and natural history writing.  

In 2009 Christensen was invited to the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, to lead a workshop on place-based teaching for professors from as far away as India, Turkey, and Bulgaria. While he continues to write about environmental issues in his native Northwest, Laird is increasingly focused on Vermont, exploring how one comes to feel at home in a place through exercises in environmental perception and learning the local natural history. As a part of this reinhabitory work, he weaves local landmarks through the songs he writes for Spruce Knob Uprising, a bluegrass band that plays at concerts and rallies throughout the region. Laird became a new father in October of 2009, and is thrilled to be introducing his son, Addison, to the forests and hills around Poultney.


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