August 05, 2022

July 2022 Photo-observation of the Month


A group of American Mink frolic in a field. ©
@hobiecat

Congratulations to iNaturalist user @hobiecat for winning the July 2022 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! Their photo of a playful band of American Mink received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.

Vermonters seem to have a particular fondness for the American Mink, as this is the 3rd time the photo-observation of the month contest has been won by a photo of this charismatic species! This series of images, which presumably shows a family of mink, demonstrates how Mink kits will stay with their mother until the fall. During this time they’ll often play together, and this play behavior helps them develop many skills that will be necessary when they head out on their own. Mink are aggressive carnivores seeking out prey on land and in the water. They’ll prey on muskrats, rabbits, small rodents, waterfowl, birds, crayfish, insects, and fish. They’re excellent swimmers which allows them to feed in and along rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. Learn more about Mink and add your observations on iNaturalist Vermont.


With 34.070 observations submitted by 2,056 observers in July, it was very competitive. Click on the image above to see and explore all of the amazing observations.

Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ star on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!

Posted on August 05, 2022 14:30 by nsharp nsharp | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 03, 2022

Identification Resources for Vermont

Even the most confident naturalists need some help identifying plants, animals, and fungi from time to time. That is why we compiled this list of helpful resources. Whether you want to learn how to recognize Vermont bee species or differentiate between grasses, we are sure that there is a resource waiting to assist you. Can’t find a resource on the topic you’re curious about? Don’t see your favorite guide on our list? Then please send us an email! We are always looking for new suggestions.

See the list with links at https://val.vtecostudies.org/about/identification-resources/.

Posted on August 03, 2022 19:16 by kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 2 comments | Leave a comment

July 29, 2022

Join the Vermont Mission Monarch Blitz (July 29- August 7)

The International Monarch Monitoring Blitz invites community scientists from across North America to come together with the shared goal of helping to protect and conserve the beloved and emblematic Monarch butterfly. Data collected by volunteers each year support trinational efforts to better understand the Monarch butterfly’s breeding productivity, range, and timing in North America. Learn more about our Vermont efforts and join the Blitz today at https://val.vtecostudies.org/missions/vermont-mission-monarch-blitz/.

Posted on July 29, 2022 13:23 by kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 2 comments | Leave a comment

July 27, 2022

Vermont Moth Blitz 2022 (July 23-31)

Explore Vermont's astounding moth diversity! By participating in our annual Moth Blitz - https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/vermont-moth-blitz-2022, you will help the Vermont Moth Atlas develop a better understanding of the moths that call the Green Mountain State home. Over 2,200 moth species have been documented in Vermont with new species being found all the time. Who knows, maybe you will find one! We encourage everyone, from experts to amateur enthusiasts, to find, photograph, and share their moth discoveries with the Vermont Moth Blitz during National Moth Week (July 23th-31th). Can we beat last years' tally? Check it out at https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/vermont-moth-blitz-2021. The Vermont Moth Atlas is a project of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies' Vermont Atlas of Life.

Posted on July 27, 2022 17:17 by kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 15, 2022

eButterfly Webinar on July 21st, 4 PM (EST)

Do you want to learn about the latest features released on eButterfly (https://www.e-butterfly.org) such as computer image recognition, a discussion forum, eBLabs, and more? Or maybe to learn how to use eButterfly at its full potential? If so, join our upcoming Webinar on Thursday, July 21st, at 4 PM (EST). Preregister here: https://bit.ly/3IxTUSj

eButterfly Overview
A real-time, online checklist and photo storage program, eButterfly is providing a new way for the butterfly community to report, organize and access information about butterflies in Central and North American and the Caribbean. eButterfly provides rich data sources for basic information on butterfly abundance, distribution, and phenology at a variety of spatial and temporal scales across the region.

eButterfly is maximizing the utility and accessibility of the vast numbers of butterfly observations, photographs, and collections made each year by recreational and professional butterfly enthusiasts. With your help, we are amassing one of the largest and fastest growing insect data resources to inform our understanding of ecological and agricultural systems in the region.

Through time, each participant, each observation and photograph, each checklist, and each identification builds the database. eButterfly then shares this treasure trove of butterfly information with a global community of community scientists, educators, students, lepidopterists, conservationists, and land managers. In time, this information will become the foundation for a better understanding of butterfly distribution and population trends across the region.

How Does It Work?
eButterfly documents the presence or absence of species as well as abundance through checklist data. A web-interface engages participants to submit their observations through interactive questions and answers. eButterfly encourages users to participate repeatedly by providing tools to maintain their personal observations and photo records as well as providing tools to enable them to visualize data with interactive maps, graphs, and bar charts. All these features are currently available in English, French and Spanish.

An eButterfly user logs into their account and enters when, where, and how they observed butterflies. Then they are prompted to create a checklist of all butterflies seen or photographed during the outing. eButterfly provides several options for data gathering including transects, area searches, timed searches or even incidental observations. Just like in a museum with specimens, other users and experts help to verify the identity of each observation. Users can even discuss observations and checklists with each other.

Posted on July 15, 2022 15:33 by kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 1 comment | Leave a comment

June 18, 2022

Vermont Lady Beetle BioBlitz Kickoff

Our third annual Vermont Lady Beetle Bioblitz is certainly off to a dreary start. “When it is raining and below 55, it is usually rather difficult to rustle up lady beetles,” said Julia Pupko, Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas Project Coordinator. “Even though today's conditions were not optimal (or even average) for lady beetle searches, we still had 7 observations of 6 different species! I would say that the first day of the BioBlitz went very well.”

Today, naturalists across the state found non-native Seven-spotted, Fourteen-spotted, and Asian Lady Beetle species, along with the native Polished, Spotted, and Parenthesis Lady Beetle species. Check out the observations on the Vermont Lady Beetle BioBlitz 2022 page. While you are there, don’t forget to join the project!


Polished Lady Beetle © redeft23 on iNaturalist

Posted on June 18, 2022 23:57 by jpupko jpupko | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 13, 2022

2022 Lady Beetle BioBlitz Events

Breaking news - our 2022 Vermont Lady Beetle BioBlitz starts in just under 5 days! From June 18 to June 26, we will be scouring Vermont for lady beetles. We hope you will join us in our search, whether you look in your backyard or at the peaks of the mountains. Join the 2022 Lady Beetle BioBlitz project by following this link.

Want to join VCE biologists and ECO AmeriCorps members for lady beetle walks/ bioblitzes? Register for one or both of these events here:

Don't know where or how to start searching for and documenting lady beetles? Check out this post for some more information.

Want to learn more about Vermont's lady beetle species so you know what to look for? Check out:

Email Julia Pupko at jpupko@vtecostudies.org with any questions!

Posted on June 13, 2022 14:19 by jpupko jpupko | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 06, 2022

New lady beetle species discovered in VT, lady beetle bioblitz 2022, and upcoming events

On May 13, I wandered through a neighbor’s yard, looking for lady beetles, known to most people as ladybugs. I had not found a single beetle in over an hour, which usually means that I will not find any if I continue surveying. I was about to dump the contents of my net when I noticed a tiny black speck with pale yellow spots. “Aha! An Octavia Lady Beetle,” I thought to myself. After scooping the tiny beetle into a vial and photographing her, I realized that this was a new species to me. As it turns out, this was also a new species to the state of Vermont—Hyperaspis troglodytes—which only has a total of three observations in iNaturalist across its range, which stretches from New England to the midwestern U.S..


Hyperaspis troglodytes © Julia Pupko

My neighbor may not be the only person to have a rare lady beetle in their yard, you may have one in your own backyard as well! From June 18 to 26, 2022 the Vermont Atlas of Life team is holding their annual Lady Beetle BioBlitz. Participation is simple—whenever you find a lady beetle, simply photograph it and upload your observations to iNaturalist. Your observations will be automatically pulled into the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas and the Vermont Lady Beetle BioBlitz 2022. You can search anywhere from your favorite natural area to your own backyard! Be sure to join the Vermont Lady Beetle BioBlitz project to stay up to date with bioblitz events.

Follow this link to learn more about how to search for and photograph lady beetles. For more information on our search for missing lady beetles, check out this blog post. The Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas website can be found here.

Upcoming Events:
June 24: Lady Beetle walk at Round Pond, South Hero VT (check back for details soon!)
June 25: BioBlitz at Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge - event details here

Posted on June 06, 2022 18:38 by jpupko jpupko | 1 comment | Leave a comment

June 03, 2022

Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist Suprasses Half a Million Research-Grade Records

This spring Tom Scavo snapped a photo of a Trout Lily and shared it to the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist and Tom Norton soon agreed with the identification. It was something the both of them have done thousands of times, but this one was special. It was the 500,000th research-grade record for our project, making this the largest biodiversity database likely every collected for the state.

This is something we’ve all made together, but it’s larger than any one of us. Together, we've created a unique window into life in Vermont and thousands of species with whom we share the this amazing place. Thank you!

We are now approaching 1 million observations overall. Let's keep it going. You can help by sifting through all the observations of others and help to verify any that you can so we can keep growing our research-grade data. Add more observations of your own, no matter how common or rare the species is, every observation is important. And you can help annotate observations with life stages, phenology of flowering, associated species, and many more annotations that help make the data even more rich for research and conservation.

Let's make it a million, and learn about life in Vermont together!

Posted on June 03, 2022 12:29 by kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 02, 2022

May 2022 Photo-observation of the Month


A handsome portrait of an American Black Bear. ©
@ckhunt

Congratulations for the second month in a row to Craig Hunt for winning the April 2022 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His stunning portrait of an American Black Bear received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.

While it’s been said many times before, it bears repeating (apologies, I couldn’t help myself) that American Black Bears should not be approached, bothered, or habituated to humans. Craig’s full-frame portrait of this bear moving through the forests of Townshend, VT was made possible by a 600mm camera lens which allowed him to make these gorgeous images from a safe distance. While there are ways to discourage bears from visiting or damaging your yard, outlined here, these highly mobile mammals often wander through wooded properties throughout the spring and summer, providing an opportunity to admire one of Vermont’s largest mammals. If you’ve had a recent black bear encounter, feel free to tell us more in the comments below! To hear about a visit to an American Black Bear’s winter den, check out this episode of outdoor radio on VPR.


With 27,517 observations submitted by 1,941 observers in May, it was very competitive. Click on the image above to see and explore all of the amazing observations.

Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ star on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!

Posted on June 02, 2022 18:56 by nsharp nsharp | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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