University of Vermont

VMC Annual Conference Hosts All 3 Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Commissioners

VMC Conference attendees fill the room to listen to Commissioner Michael Snyder of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
VMC Conference attendees fill the room to listen to Commissioner Michael Snyder of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.

The Vermont Monitoring Cooperative (VMC) held its 2013 Annual Conference on Thursday, December 12th in the University of Vermont (UVM) Davis Center.  This year’s program opened with a welcome to everyone by VMC Principal Investigator Jen Pontius, followed by a tribute to UVM Professor Hub Vogelmann who passed away recently.  That tribute was delivered by Tim Perkins, Director of the Proctor Maple Research Center, who had known Hub personally as a student and friend.  Tim spoke of Hub’s many accomplishments, including bringing national attention to “acid rain” and its negative consequences to forest health, especially in red spruce, on Vermont’s Camel’s Hump.  Hub’s work and efforts were instrumental in the justification for and later creation of VMC.

The Key Note address, given by RSENR Interim Dean Jon Erickson, focused on the need for a Vermont forest research network to increase coordination and cooperation across disciplines and state, federal, and private organizations.  All three of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Commissioners (Patrick Berry, VT Fish and Wildlife Department; David Mears, VT Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC); and Michael Snyder, VT Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation) spoke about challenges facing each of their departments and also opportunities they saw for great collaboration and cooperation with UVM, other colleges, the US Forest Service, and among their own departments.

The Forest Service was also represented during the morning session with presentations by Colleen Madrid, Forest Supervisor of the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests, and Ryan Hanavan, a forest entomologist with State and Private Forestry working in Durham, New Hampshire, also speaking about challenges for their divisions and opportunities for collaboration.

The afternoon program, arranged in three concurrent sessions (a first for VMC), featured many familiar names from the Rubenstein School (James Duncan, Nathan Reigner, Paul Schaberg, Elise Schadler, Bill Valliere, Sean MacFaden, and Jen Pontius) and UVM (Don Ross and Gus Goodwin), and speakers from state (Neil Kamman – Vermont DEC) and federal (Thom Villars – Natural Resources Conservation Service) agencies, St. Michaels College (Doug Facey), Tufts University (Joshua Rapp), and VT non-profits (Steve Faccio – Vermont Center for Ecostudies and James Andrews – Vermont Family Forests).

The first of three concurrent afternoon working group sessions convened to look at ways to collaborate and cooperate across organizations and with individuals.  A second working group met to delineate key metrics for monitoring forest health into the future.  The third and final working group examined the need for a VMC subcommittee, specifically, to coordinate ongoing and future research and monitoring efforts at the Lye Brook Wilderness Area in southern Vermont, a VMC intensive monitoring site.

For the full VMC Annual Conference agenda please go to: http://www.uvm.edu/vmc/annualMeeting/2013/agenda.php.