Vermont farmers & climate, new damselfly species, story arcs and more...
- By Richard A. Watts
Vermont farmers are concerned with increasing ecological and economic risk due to climate change, new research says. A study conducted by UVM researchers sought to investigate Vermont farmers perceptions of climate-related risk after Tropical Storm Irene and see how their decision-making and on-farm management strategies have been influenced by these perceptions.
A University of Vermont study found that the emotional arcs of all stories can fit into six basic shapes. Researchers at the Computational Story Lab ran books through a database called a hedonometer--which ranks words based on their positivity. They were then able to organize the stories into six categories. Read the Burlington Free Press article here.
The findings of two newly released George Mason University studies have significant implications in Vermont. They show that Certificate of Need (CON) laws—which aim to control wasted resources by restricting entry for new practices to enter a state’s health care network—actually decrease the quality of care and increase costs. Vermont has over 30 CON laws, the most extensive of any state.
The documentary film “Peter and the Farm” directed by Tony Stone, focuses on Peter Dunning and his experiences running Mile Hill Farm in Vermont. The film highlights both the beauty and hardships of running an organic farm on the VT landscape. See the piece in Modern Farmer for a sneak preview and more information.
A study conducted by UVM researchers found evidence of racial bias in mental health clinics. According to their findings, therapists are more likely to respond to patients with a white-sounding name, like Allison, than those with a black-sounding name, like Lakisha—suggesting that the issue of social justice must be more widely incorporated into psychology programs. The study is to soon be published in The Counseling Psychologist.
ENERGY & THE ENVIRONMENT
The Vermont Center for Ecostudies has just released their 2015 Annual Report, which includes details on their historic discoveries on the migration ecology of Blackpoll Warblers and Bobolinks and their documented record of Common Loon numbers in Vermont.
The Research on Adaptation to Climate Change project released a report on the water quality of Lake Champlain. The report argues that the Lake Champlain Basin should be viewed as a social ecological system that is in the process of adjusting to climate change in order to best address the steady decline in water quality.
A new damselfly species--the Double-striped bluet has been discovered in Vermont by field naturalist Joshua Lincoln. The confirmed finding was added to the iNaturalist Vermont database where Vermont biodiversity observations can be recorded and accessed by the public.
Once shockingly close to extinction, Vermont bald eagles have made an unprecedented comeback in raising 34 young birds this year, detailed in a recent report by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. The previous record was 26 in 2013. Though the bald eagle has been removed from the federal endangered species list, it remains listed on that of the state.
The benefits, barriers, and effective public policies of grass-based dairy is the subject of a 2016 thesis by UVM graduate Serge Wiltshire. The study found that policies which enhance peer-to-peer learning opportunities, especially among small farm owners, can be an effective and affordable means by which to bolster farm profitability and reduce environmental degradation.
Research on the implementation of four drug courts in Vermont recently found the programs to be effective in reducing and treating the state’s opioid epidemic. A recently published thesis by UVM graduate Jacqueline Collins concludes that the drug courts are a less expensive solution to aiding opioid problems than criminal sanctions.
RECENT BOOKS & ARTICLES BY CENTER MEMBERS
Grafting Memory, a new collection of essays by Vermont authors Bill Lipke and Bill Mares, analyzes the ways in which the American War and the Great War of 1914-1918 together altered the practices for honoring the dead as individuals. The two authors will be speaking about their book at Phoenix Books on November 11th.
Historian Elise Guyette writes about the enduring legacy of racism in Vermont in the just published edition of Vermont History, in an article titled: The Power of Erasure: Reflections on Civil War, Race, and Growing up White in Vermont. Guyette is also the author of Discovering Black Vermont.
Moses Robinson and the Founding of Vermont by Vermonter and Superior Court Judge Robert Mello tells the story of one of the most important, unsung founders of the state. This full-length biography is published by the Vermont Historical Society.
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.
Send your news items to editor Kirsti Blow.