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Classic Post: Preparing Meals at Seyon Lodge State Park

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In honor of spring and the return of farmer's market season, we're sharing this blog from Tiffany Soukup originally posted in 2013. Let's dig in!

Tiffany Soukup spent last summer working as an innkeeper and cook at Seyon Lodge State Park in Groton, Vermont. She shared some of her experiences harvesting and serving locally-sourced food to guests with us:
Living in the Pilbara, about 2000 kms north of Perth in Western Australia I worked as a barista and my husband Chris in the kitchen of an old train car called the Silver Star. Little did I know my choices over the past year to live remotely in the dusty mining town of Port Hedland, Australia would help prepare me for my role in Vermont State Parks this season as the Inn Keeper at Seyon Lodge State Park.
Now I live (perhaps not quite as remotely) at the end of a dirt road, nestled next to Noyes Pond in the 27,000 acres of Groton State Forest. Just as my head cook used to call out to me if I grabbed a plate too quickly to get ba…

Spring Crafts in Full Bloom

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Spring Crafts in Full Bloom
The sun is shining, critters are coming out of hibernation, and the birds are migrating back for the summer. Longer days mean one thing: more time outside in the sun! Inspired by spring, but not quite sure what to do? Here’s a few crafts to connect your inner artist with nature. 
Remember: For crafts involving natural materials, only use materials that are already on the ground and no longer living. Tempted by the beauty of a beautiful bloom? Snap a picture to cherish later and leave it for others to enjoy. 
Nature Sculpture A great nature keepsake or gift!
1. Separate clay into golf ball sized pieces. 2.Find leaves or twigs on the ground to press into the clay.  3.Let pieces air dry and turn them into fridge magnets or paperweights.
Note: Homemade clay is cheap and easy to make. Growing A Jeweled Rose has an easy to follow recipe! 
Tic-Tac-Toe Set A fun game for the road or at home!
Materials needed: 4 sticks, 8-10 stones, paint (hint: acrylic dries quick), brushes 1.…

Wildflower Wonders at Niquette Bay

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Join Vermont State Parks for the grand opening of Niquette Bay State Park on Saturday, May 4th and Sunday, May 5th. As Park Staff prepared for the park season, Niquette Bay State Park began filling with spring wildflowers. Niquette Bay State Park houses many wildflower colonies that put on a beautiful show for just a few weeks this time of year.
Learn what makes these short-lived beauties so special and what types of flowers you might find!
What are Spring Ephemerals? These are unique early blooming wildflowers that grow, flower, and seed all in the very short 6-8 week window before the shade from leaf trees covers the forest floor.  By the time deciduous trees have leaves, these flowers will be gone.
Where do they grow? The best location to find these is in a predominately hardwood, deciduous forest with large trees and little undergrowth.  They can grow very well on rocky ledges in less than ideal soil conditions. These plants are usually very small and begin growing under the cover …

Seeking Volunteers for State Park Cleanup Days

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Contact:Brian Crouse Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation | Agency of Natural Resources (802) 622-4023, brian.crouse@vermont.gov Rutland, Vt. – Looking to get outside while doing something good for your community? We could use your help. It’s been a long winter, but Vermont State Parks will be opening soon. We’re seeking volunteers to help with park clean up on several May weekends. Tasks include raking leaves and litter removal. We’ll provide the tools; you’ll just need to wear your work clothes and sturdy shoes and bring some work gloves if you’d like, along with some water and snacks.
Not only will you feel great about your contribution, but for those who are participating in the Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge, you’ll earn 10 Bonus Points! The cleanup schedule is as follows:
Saturday, May 4. 10:00 am Button Bay Branbury Half Moon Bomoseen
Saturday, May 11, 10:00 am DAR Lake St. Catherine Lake Shaftsbury Woodford
To learn more and to sign up, contact Brian Crouse at brian.crouse…

Natural Connections Program: Bringing New Life to the Groton Nature Center

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Natural Connections Program: Bringing New Life to the Groton Nature Center
Over 75,000 people visit the state parks in Groton State Forest every summer. A restored Nature Center can play a critical role in teaching visitors about the outdoors and inspiring a love of nature in all those visitors.” —Craig Whipple, Director of Vermont State Parks The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation has developed conceptual site and building plans for improvements to the Groton Nature Center and would like your input and comments. Through the link below, you can review the plans for the Groton Nature Center and provide comments via email. Public comment will be open from April 18 to May 10, 2019. View the plan. Vermont State Parks is working together with Vermont Parks Forever and ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain to re-design and update the Groton Nature Center that will feature new interactive learning opportunities highlighting Groton’s geology and its natural and cultural histor…

Mud Season is Here: Help Protect Fragile Trail Environments

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CONTACT
Jessica Savage Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation 802-249-1230 Keegan Tierney Green Mountain Club 802-241-8320
MONTPELIER, Vt. – Today the Green Mountain Club (GMC), the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR), and the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) call on Vermonters and recreational tourists to be wary of the return of mud season to the Green Mountains and to respect associated trail closures and advisories.
The wet soils on and around hiking trails are very susceptible to erosion at this critical time of year. To protect fragile soil and surrounding vegetation, some trails may be closed by land managers. We ask everyone toplease respect the signage you see. Hikers walking on saturated soils or on the sides of trails cause damage to surrounding vegetation, widen trails, and inhibit natural drainage of our beloved hiking trails.
“Even though it might feel warm and dry at your house, the trails at higher elevations are still very wet and vulnerable. It can …

Mud Season Hiking 101

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It's time for our yearly PSA: Please, stay off muddy trails during mud season! Conditions are variable this time of year: dry in places, snow and mud in others. Respect trail closure signs, and turn around if you encounter muddy conditions. 

Suggested Hikes:

NW Vermont Burlington Bike PathMissisquoi Valley Rail Trail: 26 miles from St. Albans to Richford, just south of the Candian border. Lots of open land through rural northern VT, and some great views. Mt. Philo Park RoadAlburgh Recreational Trail: 3.5 miles in northern VT, good opportunities for wildlife watching. Mallets Bay Casueway- The Burlington Bike Path and Colchester Causeway take you out over Lake Champlain. Great views in all directions! Trail around Middlebury- 16 miles in several different sections, around the town of Middlebury. 
NE Vermont Cross-Vermont Trail- At the name suggests,  a patchwork of trails traversing the state, from the Connecticut River to Burlington, 90 miles altogether. South Shore Trail, Willoghby St…