A large cloud hangs over an open meadow. Photo credit Cody Williams.


  1. Changes on the Connecticut River

    Jun 1st, 2024

    We are in the midst of the relicensing process for three local dams on the Connecticut River – Wilder, Bellows Falls, and Vernon – and major changes to dam operations. The proposed changes promote a more natural flow regime, which, in turn, may provide important environmental improvements along the river. Continue reading

  2. Deer Exclosures Along Norwich Trails

    Mar 1st, 2024

    Hikers along trails in Norwich may notice four deer “exclosures” recently installed by the Conservation Commission to illustrate the effects on forest health when deer are allowed to browse too heavily. Continue reading

  3. Going to Bat for Bats

    Dec 1st, 2023

    Many of Vermont’s nine species of bats are in serious trouble, but there are things you can do to help them. Continue reading

  4. No Beavers Would Be a Dam Shame!

    Sep 1st, 2023

    Beavers cut down trees to build dams which create ponds and wetlands and open gaps in the forest canopy, benefitting a wide range of plants and animals. Allowing beavers to build and maintain lodges can be one of the most important things you can do to support local wildlife, increase biodiversity, improve forest health, and mitigate flooding. Continue reading

  5. Raise Keystone Plants in Your Homegrown National Park

    Jun 1st, 2023

    What can you do to make your yard and woods part of what Dr. Tallamy calls the Homegrown National Park? Continue reading

  6. To Know Is to See

    Mar 1st, 2023

    Learning about unfamiliar natural features can help inform your experience while walking on Norwich’s trails. Continue reading

  7. How Do Deer and Coyotes Survive Our Winters?

    Dec 1st, 2022

    How do deer and coyotes survive our harsh winters? Continue reading

  8. Too Many Deer!

    Sep 1st, 2022

    There are too many deer in Vermont, and they are inflicting harm on people, forests, and other wildlife. Continue reading

  9. Grassland Birds

    Jun 1st, 2022

    Vermont’s grasslands – the acreage where grasses, sedges and wildflowers dominate the landscape, with little or no intrusion from shade trees and shrubs – have waxed and waned since European colonists arrived. And so have the populations of birds that depend on this kind of habitat. Nowadays, they are in decline. Continue reading

  10. Our Backyard Practices Can Protect Bears

    Mar 15th, 2022

    Black bears, the smallest bear species in North America, are relatively common in the forests of Vermont. Learn more about how we can live more safely with these large woodland neighbors. Continue reading

  11. Milt Frye Nature Area’s Vernal Pool

    Mar 1st, 2022

    In the upper corner of the field at the Milt Frye Nature Area, water collects in a newly constructed vernal pool. It will take years of habitat improvement and monitoring to see if mole salamanders and wood frogs can establish self-sustaining populations. Continue reading

  12. How to Build a Four-season Bird-friendly Yard

    Dec 1st, 2021

    Birds require suitable resources and habitat year-round to survive and successfully reproduce. Here is a four-season checklist for helping birds in your yard thrive. Continue reading

  13. Mowing for Your Wildlife

    Jun 1st, 2021

    What is the optimal mowing regime to support wildlife, combat climate change and still provide the benefits of a lawn? Continue reading

  14. Be a Winter Insect Hunter

    Mar 1st, 2021

    Looking for new things to explore on your winter hikes? Delve into the world of winter insects, spiders and other such creatures. To get you started, here are five tiny insects and a near-relative that live in Norwich. Continue reading

  15. Gauge Your Water Footprint

    Nov 4th, 2020

    All over Vermont this summer, wells ran dry, lawns turned brown, and water levels dropped visibly in streams and lakes. But in the past 60 years the state’s annual precipitation has increased by almost half a foot, according to the Vermont Climate Assessment. Where is all that water when we need it? Continue reading

  16. Two Norwich Forest Protection Projects

    Sep 3rd, 2020

    The Norwich Conservation Commission has two forest protection efforts underway – one near Gile Mountain and the other along Lake Norford Road. Both areas are in contiguous forest classified by Vermont as prime for protection. We will be seeking public donations to secure these properties for permanent conservation this fall. Continue reading

  17. Forest Connectivity Is Crucial

    Jun 1st, 2020

    Many forest-dwelling plants and animals depend on movement across large areas of intact forest for their survival both as individuals and species. Continue reading

  18. Winter Adaptations

    Dec 1st, 2019

    The animals who overwinter in and around Norwich show us many adaptations for survival. Unlike those who leave for the season, some arrive from less habitable spots. We’ll look at some winter voyagers as well how creatures use simple behavior changes; take a biological “time out;” reset bodily thermostats; and change coats for warmth or a new seasonal color. Continue reading

  19. Are Vermont Bats Back?

    Sep 1st, 2019

    Vermont is home to nine species of bats. Six of these species are year round residents and three migrate south in the winter. Our six year -long residents live in caves and mines during the winter and during summer months can often be found roosting in barns and other buildings. Of the 6 resident species all but one are either state or federally endangered. Continue reading

  20. Where Have All the Insects Gone?

    Jun 1st, 2019

    Insects have undergone a severe, largely unnoticed decline over at least three decades. Scientists have now documented the decline and studied its causes. A 2017 study in Germany, revealed a shocking 76% decline in insect biomass in nature preserves. Fewer insects are present, and their ranges are restricted. Continue reading

  21. Charles Brown Brook Comes On Stream

    Mar 1st, 2019

    All of those 758 truckloads lumbering onto Beaver Meadow Road this past summer transported material collected behind the Norwich Reservoir Dam in order to restore the Charles Brown Brook to a more natural state. With the dam removed and the streambed rebuilt, 43 miles of stream now flow freely. Continue reading

  22. Get Involved in Conservation through Citizen Science

    Dec 1st, 2018

    We currently hear a lot about the term "citizen science." It pops up in discussions ranging from the study of local flora and fauna populations to water quality to climate change. So what exactly is citizen science? Continue reading

  23. The Call of the Coyote

    Sep 1st, 2018

    Coyotes calls were first heard in Vermont starting around 1948 after female coyotes interbred with wolves and domesticated dogs in Ontario and then spread to New England, taking over the ecological niche once occupied by the Grey Wolf, which was extirpated in the 1880s. Continue reading

  24. What To Do About the Emerald Ash Borer

    Jun 1st, 2018

    What will we lose if the ash trees of Vermont are driven to extinction by the emerald ash borer? Continue reading

  25. Welcome to the Milton Frye Nature Area

    Mar 1st, 2018

    There is a lot going on in the Milton Frye Nature Area these days. Marion Cross School children are learning how to interact with and respect their outdoor environment, how to properly build and maintain a trail system, as well as continuing to assist in invasive plant management. Current and upcoming community-wide events include a series of workshops and walks that began in December and continue in February with a tracking event led by the Norwich Conservation Commission. This 35-acre hidden gem located in the heart of the Village is a tremendous natural resource for our town. Continue reading

  26. Open Space: a Critical Asset in Norwich

    Dec 1st, 2017

    What do your favorite trail, your neighbor’s community-supported agriculture share, flood control, the odds of seeing a moose in town, and the iconic view of Norwich from Gile Mountain’s fire tower all have in common? Continue reading

  27. Take Only Photographs, Leave Only Footprints

    Jun 1st, 2017

    Norwich has many fantastic trails around town, where people can enjoy exercising, botanizing, wildlife watching, or simply walking in the woods. The Trails Committee does an excellent job of monitoring and maintaining all the public trails, and many land owners are very generous in allowing trails across their properties. Fellow trail users, trail workers, and land owners are greatly deserving of courtesies and respectful treatment from all of us. What follows is a list of reminders about important components of trail etiquette. If you do not agree with what we lay out as appropriate trail etiquette, please do not hesitate to come and share your ideas and concerns with us. Continue reading

  28. Forest Stewardship and Trails

    Mar 1st, 2017

    In the Upper Valley, we are lucky to have large forested areas that harbor wide-ranging forest-interior mammals, like moose, bobcat, bear, gray fox, and fisher. These iconic wildlife species are a pleasure to see, and the carnivores are signs of functional ecosystems. We fortunately have these animals around because we still have effective connectivity among our large forest tracts across multiple towns. Despite our forested areas being comprised of many parcels, many of them remain un-fragmented and relatively undisturbed. Continue reading

  29. Pushing Back Against Invasive Plants

    Sep 1st, 2015

    Dreaded exotic insect pests like emerald ash borer and Asian long-horned beetle are knocking on Vermont’s doorstep. These destructive invaders could cause massive changes to our state’s landscape in years to come. However, Norwich’s woods, fields, roadsides and waterways are already home to an astonishing array of well-established, non-native plants. Many of these “invasives” have become so familiar that we don’t always recognize them, let alone realize their profound impacts on our native ecosystems. But, make no mistake: these opportunistic intruders have begun to dominate our landscape, and will continue to if allowed to spread unchecked. Continue reading