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Showing posts from August, 2016

Vermont State Parks Night Sky Watch Part 2: Planets, Meteors, and Zodiacal Lights, Oh My!

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Hopefully some of you were able to catch some of the Perseid Meteor Shower that we wrote about a couple weeks ago. I sat outside for about a half an hour on that Thursday night and saw several meteors, which was a fun experience. (I tried again the following night, but it was much cloudier and I soon gave up.)

But never fear, astronomy fans, there are still cool things to look at in the night sky over the next few weeks. Plus, predicted clear skies and a new moon will make for prime stargazing conditions. Here is a rundown of a few things to look for if you find yourself outside at night:
Planets in Formation
On September 3rd, Jupiter, Venus and our moon will line up to provide a special sight for viewers (and a great photo-op!) Look to the west about a half an hour after sunset. The thin crescent moon should be visible, with Venus and Jupiter to the lower right, close to the horizon.
The Pleiades, or “Seven Sisters”
Look eastward above the horizon and you should be able to spot a …

Guest Blog: Into the Woods at Groton State Forest by Tara Schatz

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By 2016 Photo Intern Tara Schatz 
Like many of Vermont’s most wild places, Groton State Forest is off the beaten path, nestled between the Green Mountains to the west and the hills of the Connecticut River Valley to the east. This is one of Vermont’s largest publicly owned areas, encompassing almost 30,000 acres, and seven unique state parks. The forest and parks offer plenty of variety for adventurers, who come here to hike, bike, paddle, fish, camp, and relax.
I spent a blissful couple of days in Groton State Forest this summer. My home base was Ricker Pond State Park, but I spent lots of time exploring the lakes, ponds, mountains, bogs, and woods that make this place so special. Here are my favorite adventures in Groton State Forest.
Peacham Bog 
I love exploring the flora and fauna of bogs, and Peacham Bog is one of the largest and most beautiful bogs in all of Vermont. Peacham Bog Natural Area encompasses 728 acres, but the bog itself is about 200 acres. It’s considered a dome bog, …

Guest Blog: Woodford State Park, part 2 (plus Silver Lake State Park too!)

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By photography intern Matt Parsons 
Ann was getting water when our neighbour approached her about giving away their firewood to us. Apparently they weren’t having as much luck with the green wood as were having. The two ladies said they were going out for the night and wouldn’t be back until late. They were leaving the next day and wouldn’t need to have a camp fire. Ann accepted and when they left, we went up to help ourselves. Even though we had permission, it did feel a little uncomfortable to us. I managed to have one bar of cell service so I called our friends at Townshend to confirm that Music night was still at 7. I told Pat where we were and she said come on down.

We had fun taking short cuts that our GPS sent us on. I will never remember how we got there but we got there! When we approached the pavilion Pat greeted us with a big warm hello. She proceeded to tell us that someone else camping at Woodford was here. To our surprise we were introduced to our neighbours who gave us …

Guest Blog: Exploring Woodford State Park, Part 1

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By 2016 Guest Blogger Matt Parsons

This camping trip was full of surprises right from the start. This Spring our calendar was filled with birthdays, graduations and weddings. There was only a short window of opportunity before our calendar would be filled again. In our world that is NOT a surprise. Looking ahead we decided to seize the moment and combine a camping trip with a visit to my brother and sister in-law who live in Massachusetts. It was a pleasant surprise to see the “skies” in our calendar part and make room for our plans. Camping in a lean-to in another state was not our first desire but it was the most logical, To our surprise we could not find a Massachusetts State Park with lean-to’s. Throwing logic out the window we opted for our first desire; a Vermont State Park.
We always love to explore new parks and the southern part of Vermont has plenty to choose from. We had recently helped our son buy a car from a good friend in Woodford. The park was not open at the time and we…

Vermont State Parks Night Sky Watch Part 1: The Perseid Meteor Shower

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If you pay attention to science or astronomy news, you are probably already looking forward to the annual Perseid meteor shower, which will peak on the night of August 11th (Thursday night.) Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere even have a good chance of seeing more meteors than average. This is a great chance to get outside at night and practice your stargazing skills, no telescope required! (In fact, a telescope isn’t recommended for watching a meteor shower, since the goal is to view as much sky as possible, not a close-up of any particular object.)
Meteor activity will peak on Thursday night, August 11th, though it is always unpredictable, and you will still have a chance to see meteors on the nights before and after. Experts recommend finding a spot away from the bright lights of cities and towns.. (like a park, perhaps?)
The instruction guide for viewing the Perseids is simple: go outside sometime before midnight, and stay outside as long as possible. Normally we would expect…

Guest Blog: Day Trip to Green River Reservoir

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By 2016 guest blogger Matt Parsons

Our Expedition took root from a “reconnaissance” mission a year prior. We had left nearby lake Elmore and wanted to check out another Park before going home. Having a current car tag from Lake Elmore afforded us the privilege to enter Green River for free. This was the perfect time to check out the park. Our initial visit was short, as it was late in the afternoon and we didn’t feel like unloading our kayaks again. We stayed long enough to visit with the staff, take a few pictures and check out the boat landing. That was enough to wet our appetite for a longer visit. Further investigation through the Vermont state parks website made us hungry for more.
Green River is a reservoir surrounded by 5,503 Acres of preserved Wilderness; 653 acres of which is reservoir itself. With 19 miles of primitive shoreline we knew we had to get an early start. Our Spring had been very busy and I was beginning to show signs of withdrawals. This was going to be primaril…