Food waste, smart meters, new plant species and more....
- By Richard A. Watts
More than 14 million pounds--or 7,000 pickup trucks’ worth--of vegetables and berries grown in Vermont go uneaten every year. In the first empirical study on food loss on Vermont Farms, Salvation Farms and Isgood Community Research sought to explore why a huge amount of edible, quality crops are neither sold nor donated. For more information see also the article in VT Digger.
Vermont researchers continue to examine the factors that drive people to stay, leave, or return to their rural communities in Vermont. A case study by UVM researcher Cheryl Morse examines state migration patterns to identify the risks and rewards of using social media in rural migration research.
A recent study of residential electricity customers in Vermont sought to better understand how residents are using smart meter information. Conducted by UVM researchers Qingbin Wang and Samantha Lewandowski, the study shows that smart meter technology is underutilized by Vermonters, many of whom do not know they have them, are unaware of the benefits--such as reduced cost for electricity consumers, and have not changed their electricity consumption as a result.
ENERGY & THE ENVIRONMENT
Vermont locals are uniting to help the monarch butterfly make a strong comeback in light of years of research highlighting the state butterfly’s struggle. Vermont Woods Studios of Vernon, Vermont is a local furniture business dedicated to environmentally sustainable products. Now, they've added saving the monarch to their cause. For more information on the state butterfly, check out the work of Elizabeth Howard, a scientist who has written at length on the plight of the Monarch.
The visual appearance of Lake Champlain--specifically how clean it’s water looks-- has been found to have a significant effect on Vermont’s economy. A study led by Brian Voigt and other UVM researchers at The Gund Institute for Ecological Economics found that the summer outbreaks of algal blooms would cause Vermont lakeside communities to lose $16.8 million in economic activity and 200 full time jobs--in July and August alone--for every three-foot decrease in water clarity.
A new species of Goldenrod: Solidago Brendiae has been identified in Vermont. A report by biologists John C. Semple and Arthur Gilman details how the specimen collected in Granby, VT in 1973, originally identified as Solidago canadensis, was reanalyzed when Gilman suspected it had been misidentified. This is the first report of Solidago Brendiae in the state.
Pharmaceuticals have been found in drinking water, ground and surface waters, and soil around the world, including areas that require wastewater treatment. In response, ecological treatment technologies have been developed as an alternative. A study by researchers from Lyndon State, Norwich University, and the Vermont Genetics Network was conducted to analyze the effectiveness of the ecological wastewater treatment plants potential to metabolize pharmaceuticals.
In 1853, Vermont became the nation’s second dry state, but when some locals refused to adhere to the law, ineffective law enforcement led to consequences. Vermont Prohibition by Adam Krakowski tells the story of the state’s tumultuous temperance movement. The author will speak at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT at 7pm on August 26th.
Picking Up the Flute: A Memoir with Music by former Middlebury English professor, John Elder, sets to music Elder’s reflections on retirement, relationships, literature and the natural world. The recently published book explores the culture and landscapes from Elder’s home in Bristol, Vermont to Ireland’s Connemara coast. For more information see the review of Picking Up the Flute by VPR.
Unintended pregnancies are a significant national public health issue, and while Vermont is doing slightly better than the U.S. average, the rural nature of the state is a barrier. A recently published thesis by UVM graduate student Erin O’Brien assessed Vermont healthcare professionals’ knowledge of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), which are first-line recommended for reducing unintended pregnancies.
The Vermont Research News is a bi-monthly curated collection of Vermont research -- focused on research in the Vermont "laboratory" -- research that provides original knowledge to the world and research that adds to understanding of the state's social, economic, cultural and physical environment.
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Funding provided by the Lintilhac Foundation, the Humanities Center and the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Vermont.