University of Vermont

Center for Research on Vermont

Vermont Research News: Immigration, women's leadership, food deserts and more...

Vermont immigrants contribute annually more than $655 million in wages and $192 million in taxes according to a report by the New American Economy. Vermont is home to about 24,000 people not born in the US, the report finds, a key reason why Vermont’s population continues to slightly grow, according to research by UVM economist Arthur Woolf. Employment and education levels are above Vermont averages and more immigrants fit into prime wage-earning years.


With immigration and refugees in the news we present here some recent work in this area. UVM geographer Pablo Bose discusses New Americans and what it means to be a Vermonter in a recent article in the Northeastern Geographer Journal. Writing in the same journal, St. Michael's college faculty Herb Kessel and Vince Bolduc examine migration patterns in Vermont. For more on Dr. Bose's work examining refugee resettlement programs see this site.

The Vermont Folklife recently Center hosted an exhibition featuring the work of New American artists. A comprehensive piece in Seven Days on Vermont’s refugees programs and people can be found here. VPR explored refugee resettlement programs in a special Vermont Edition here and hosted a show on the travel ban executive order here.

Speaking of immigration, the French Connections conference (March 20) is looking at the major impact immigrants from Quebec (almost 100,000) have had on Vermont and how that past informs present immigration conversations, information here. Here is a link to a Vermont History article examining the settlement of French immigrants in Burlington and Colchester.

Other Vermont organizations with comprehensive information on immigration into Vermont include the American Immigration Council; New Farms for New Americans and the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program.


As women’s rights and leadership continue to be in the spotlight, researchers Marla Solomon of Five Colleges, Inc. and Kerry Secrest of Watershed Coaching conducted an analysis of the Women’s Leadership Circles of Vermont program. Their research--featured as a chapter in Leading and Managing in the Social Sector--focuses on understanding the development of women’s leadership through networks of support.

A recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists explores how renewable energy can work financially for Vermont. According to the report, $7 million of public investment could swell to $148 million over 15 years, with the help of the private sector. If implemented, this initiative could reduce carbon emissions to a degree that is the equivalent of taking 21,300 cars off the road.

A case study of Rutland County, Vermont used a GIS-based methodology to refine the concept of rural food deserts. Led by researchers at Green Mountain College, the study proposed defining food deserts by calculating the distance to different kinds of food providers and evaluating whether consumers have access to healthier food options.

Activists in Vermont raise human rights claims in their efforts to pass health reform legislation. A study by researchers at Simmons College and the University of St. Thomas examined this activity to better understand the values and vulnerabilities of human rights organizing for universal health care programs.

While Vermont’s Governor and legislature struggles to address the opioid crisis, many addicts are forced to wait for months to receive medical care. The problem is not unique to Vermont--96 percent of all states have opioid abuse rates that exceed their capacity for treatment. The Chittenden Clinic, Vermont’s largest buprenorphine treatment facility, recently expanded its volume from 400 to 1,000 patients. Despite this step forward, waitlists remain heavily populated.


More than 200 species from the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont and the Finger Lakes National Forest provide resources to make special forest products (SFPs)--defined as the human use of wild plants and mushrooms. A report by Northern Research Station researchers studied the management of harvesting and allocation of SFPs in these regions.

Moose are highly susceptible to parasitic winter ticks, according to an ongoing study spearheaded by New Hampshire and Maine. Vermont has recently opted to join in the moose mortality research; results at this time have shown severe vulnerability, finding 63,000 ticks on one moose, with the “lethal” limit hovering around 50,000. The state is fitting 30 calves and 30 cows in the Northeast Kingdom with a GPS monitoring system.

Looking at the Lake Champlain Basin as a social ecological system--one that is affected by human activity--that is adapting to climate change may help watershed planners better anticipate the region’s water quality challenges, says a report by members of the Research on Adaptation to Climate Change Project found in the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law.


Celebrated Vermont author Howard Frank Mosher passed away last week. Yvonne Daley, author of a key book on Vermont writers wrote a moving tribute to the Northeast Kingdom author in the Rutland Herald. Chris Bohajalian wrote a column in the Burlington Free Press here.

Broken Wing by the late Vermonter David Budbill was published in December, two months after the author’s death. Broken Wing tells the story of a man who lives alone in the northern mountains, his love for birds, and his journey to save a blackbird that can’t fly south. See a series of tributes to the poet and playwright in Seven Days.

25,000 Miles in Vermont: The Walking Diary of Dr. Edward A. Keenan compiled by Edward’s daughter Kathleen Keenan, was published this fall. The book contains the complete diary that Edward kept over 40 years while he walked every road in Vermont. Check out the review in the Burlington Free Press.


Although the number of dairy farms in Vermont has been declining--due to opportunities for alternative ways of life for the younger generation, unstable milk prices, and rising cost of living--some young adults are still entering into the industry. A thesis by UVM graduate Mikayla Peront explores why young people in Bethel, VT are choosing to stay on dairy farms.

A recent thesis published by UVM graduate Kate Cudé explores the rapidly rising costs of tuition at four-year colleges and the discrepancies in perceived causes for this phenomenon between academic literature and university decision-makers. Academic literature tends to place the blame on both institutional factors and economic forces outside the university’s control, while university decision makers tended to hold only the national government responsible.

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.

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