VLT forester Pieter van Loon loves visiting the conserved Retreat Meadows in Brattleboro VT. He says it’s one of the best birding spots in southeastern Vermont! In an effort to stay grounded regain some sanity lost to Covid-19 isolation, he and his wife Rachel canoed there. They tallied 21 bird species, a muskrat, and an otter. This third-year eagle was a nearly constant companion during their paddle. Pieter explained that bald eagles are fairly common here now, but in 2002 the first nesting eagles were found after a 60 year absence due to DDT poisoning. Now we have 36 nesting pairs in the state and they produced 46 fledglings! “The bird in the picture launched itself when an adult came into the area,” Pieter explained. “I’m not sure if it was an intruder or a parent, but they spent the next half hour circling the area and each other.”


It was was the kick off to a week of forest wildflowers here at VLT. Donald Campbell spotted his first trillium of the season while walking in Southern Vermont as part of Come Alive Outside’s Mile a Day Challenge. These wildflowers are among the first bloomers in spring. Check our wildflower webinar recording here.

close up of trillium


Photographer and VLT trustee, David Middleton, took the next two photos while on a grounding walk: a amazing image of raindrops on a spring beauty and the ever-popular trout lily. Spring beauties are pollinated by bumblebees, solitary bees, bee flies, and butterflies. All are drawn in to the center of the flower by the lavender lines that show the insect to the sweet center of the flower. In gathering nectar, they also move pollen from flower to flower. Learn more about identifying common forest wildflowers here.

spring beauty blossum with raindrops

The trout lily (below) spreads over the forest floor, and hundreds of plants can result from a single seed. All these little plants are genetically the same This group of related plants can persist for centuries… In one study, colonies were found to be as old as 1,300 years! Learn more about trout lilies here.

trout lily


As we’ve been asking people how they are staying grounded, we keep hearing gratitude for open space. Rebecca Roman shared how she is staying grounded in Burlington. “Even though I live in the city, I am finding an easy time connecting with nature in the city’s many green spaces. I caught this INCREDIBLE sunset in the special Lone Rock Point woods.”

sunset over lake champlain vermont


Bayly crossed off many squares on our Backyard Bingo game: a seed, a thorn, a bud, and the best one: something you lost! His mom said that finding a favorite car that had gone missing over winter was a highlight. Want to play Backyard Bingo? Let’s go!

backyard bingo board


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During this time of uncertainty, we are fortunate to have open spaces that ground us and local farms that feed us. Thanks to everyone who is sharing how they #StayGroundedVT in such a challenging time.