On March 27-29, several students, led by prof. Valorie Titus (biology), attended the Northeast Wildlife Society Student Conclave at Paul Smith’s College. The students enjoyed multiple workshops, including radiotelemetry, GIS, molecular techniques, winter ecology, maple sugaring, captive animal care, and woodsmen skills. Valorie gave a welcome in the plenary session as New York TWS chapter president, and led a workshop on firearms safety. They had a great time in their first Quiz Bowl competition, and Megan Roy ‘15, Lindsey Pekurny ’16, Megan Muller ’16, and Anya Beale ‘18 made a great showing. Megan Roy participated in a tree ID competition and placed third.
Sally and Tucker tend to draw a crowd when they come to GMC, which this semester is each Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. in Withey Hall, just outside the dining hall entrance. Sally is Sally Achey, a retired statistics analyst from Middletown Springs, and Tucker, or “Tuck” for short, is her 10-year-old Australian Shepard. “Tuck is naturally a very active dog. We’ve done a lot of agility work, we’ve done a lot of herding, which is a natural instinct,” Sally explains. (During our interview, she takes care to spell out the word F-R-I-S-B-E-E—she hasn’t brought one with her and Tuck gets excited when he hears the word). But Tuck is not an ordinary dog—he’s been trained by Sally as a Pet Partners dog. Pet Partners is the largest national nonprofit organization evaluating multiple species for field work. Among other skills, Tucker has learned to greet strangers; work in crowded, often noisy environments; and to accept petting. Tuck and Sally are a team—when Tuck is “working” Sally is there too, not so much to manage the dog’s behavior, but because the relationship between pet and owner is an important dynamic when interacting with others. The pair began training when a West Rutland librarian told Sally about a “read to a dog” therapy program. The dogs serve as relaxed and non-judgmental listeners to children who have difficulty reading out loud. Tucker has another job as a live demonstration subject for animal CPR classes that Sally teaches. “With CPR you can use a ‘dummy’ dog, but they don’t have pulses and they don’t move when you bandage a leg. A live subject is really preferable.” While doing some training with Tucker for the Pet Partners program evaluation, Sally met prof. Sam Edwards, director of the College’s new animal studies program. “Sam and I got to talking about the potential for having us work with students at GMC, and I began working with the Wellness Center to schedule visits." Since then, Tucker and Sally have made lots of friends. “There is more and more research being done on the effects animals have on people in high-stress situations,” Sally says. “You’ll see therapy animals in dental offices or medical waiting rooms. People tend to experience lower blood pressure and less stress when they are interacting with animals. And the animal benefits from the socialization as well.” Look out for Sally and Tuck tomorrow at noon in Withey. Just don't shout out the word "frisbee!"
Last Friday, seven students from Prof. Sam Edwards’s Wildlife Law and Policy class, the animal studies program, and the pre-law program made the trip up to the Vermont Police Academy for a seven-hour, animal cruelty investigation training. While the police cadets were doing push-ups and attending class, we GMC students were getting lessons on how to collect evidence, utilize technology, and educate the public. The chief of police in South Burlington and representatives from the Humane Society were there to lead us in learning this new skill set.
The rules at the start of class made it clear that this would be a different experience. The rules included “no unsecured weapons in the classroom.” more...
Professor Edwards and students from his Wildlife Law and Policy course will be attending an Cruelty Investigation training on September 7, 2012 at the Vermont Police Academy. This workshop on investigating animal cruelty will cover all the basics of an investigation, including, but not limited to: An overview of the problem of animal cruelty, including its connection with human violence, a review of Vermont's criminal animal cruelty statute, the needed elements for a strong animal cruelty criminal investigation; and A review of resources available at the local, state and national level to assist in responding to incidents of animal cruelty.
John Anderson, W.H. Drury Professor of ecology and natural history at the College of the Atlantic, will speak on Tuesday, November 29 at 5 p.m. in the East Room. The title of his talk is "In this Broken Archipelago: Birds and Humans among the Maine Islands."
The discussion will cover his research on seabird ecology and human/wildlife interactions in the Gulf of Maine.
Anderson's appearance is part of a new faculty exchange program sponsored by the Eco League, and Anderson is GMC's first Eco League Scholar in Residence. He will spend the day on campus visiting classes and meeting with students and faculty prior to his public lecture.
The Eco League is a consortium of five small liberal arts colleges that share a mission of environmental stewardship, social change, and educating students to build a sustainable future. The member schools are College of the Atlantic, Green Mountain College, Northland College, Prescott College, and Alaska Pacific University. The Eco League Scholar in Residence Program provides an opportunity for Green Mountain College faculty, staff, students, and community members to meet professors from one of the other four colleges.
Steven Rinella is an avid outdoorsman with a deep respect for wildlife. He’s also a hunter. Rinella will present a talk “Hunting for Food: An Ancient Path through Modern Life” at GMC.
Rinella uses humor punctuated with stories of amazing and sometimes absurd adventures, ranging from falling through the ice in Michigan to getting poisoned by wild mushrooms in Alaska. Above all, he is a serious journalist and incisive observer. Rinella is the author of The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine (Miramax Books, 2005) and American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon (Random House, 2008). The latter title won the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award and the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award. His writing has appeared in a wide variety of popular publications, including Outside, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Salon.com, along with traditional hunting and fishing publications such as Field and Stream and Bowhunter.
Students in Prof. Michael Blust’s Ornithology class recently took a trip to the Parker River Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport, Mass., and caught quite the surprise on camera.
While observing a White-faced Ibis, a waterfowl rare to the area, a one-eyed Peregrine Falcon came out of nowhere, taking out the Ibis.
According to Blust, it took about five minutes for the Peregrine to subdue the Ibis.
The video was posted to the Massachusetts Audubon Society website last week, and has received thousands of hits on YouTube.
See the video here. Viewer discretion is advised.