Bittersweet vines are remarkable plants. Shy of enough wood to do the job of a tree they nonetheless rise to the top of the woodlot. When falling autumn leaves bare skeleton branches stark for winter, it is bittersweet's orange and scarlet beacons that li ght the forest in gloomy November's first snows. So too it is with your Environmental Program. Shy of faculty, funds and space we nonetheless continue to bear the glow of optimism and celebrate the beacons of successes that shine so brightly over the year s. Amid these pages of the first ever Bittersweet Vine you will find tales of our mission unfolding, news of students and alumni, news of faculty and staff.
Again this May, as sure as each day's dawn, the Bittersweet's lilacs burst forth for graduation, their fragrance gracing yet another reception for our newest graduates - sixty-one of the most energetic and enjoyable folks you'd ever want to entrust the wo rld to.
And how about last fall - the semester of togetherness! Notwithstanding papers to write, courses to teach, jobs to do, our community rose in united voice to speak for the independence of the Program, and the need to be freely interdisciplinary. Alumni let ters joined students and faculty in a most remarkable hearing on the Program's future. And were you ever heard!
Hard work now awaits the Program, still freestanding, still reporting to the Provost. Self study is underway, to be followed by external review. A new faculty position is authorized, to be filled temporarily next year, then hopefully by a new director. Ad vising help will come from the College of Arts and Sciences, and through first year programs in both CAS and SNR. Faculty scholarship is expanding. All these steps lead to the goal of bringing classes back to more responsible sizes.
Our wee globe shrinks daily like a leaky balloon, threatening nature, indigenous peoples and personal well being. Our duty to inquire, educate and act never has been more clear. On our campus environmental majors, concentrations and courses are sprouting like mushrooms after rain. As always our special challenge is to create perspective and scrutiny on all things environmental. In our courses and scholarship, in our internships and jobs, and in our citizenry, it is our mission to combine comprehensive que stioning with advocacy and action.
Just as the bittersweet vine reaches out to every branch of the tree we must for another quarter century at UVM seek interdisciplinary solutions to the trials of environment. This we will do, and we are excited that this new newsletter will help connect u s all in our common goal.
It was a difficult decision to leave her students, the Environmental Program and larger UVM communities, and her land and early 1800's farmhouse that she has been restoring in Alburg near the Canadian border. But, we know you'll do great there, Leslie! Go od luck; we'll all miss you.
Leslie heartily welcomes all of you in the extended ENVS family to visit her in Prince George. She's bound to greet you with many hugs! Says Leslie, "You will now always have a 'West Coast' refuge and I'm counting on a constant Vermont/B.C exchange!"
Recently Stephanie spent two weeks in Japan as one of twenty invited participants in a working conference, "Religion, Land Use and Conservation," sponsored by the International Network on Religion and Conservation. She was one of two Buddhist delegates re presented. The group developed a statement calling for bold commitment from religious groups in response to the environmental crisis. This was presented to an international summit of world religious leaders as part of the Network's effort to strengthen re ligious participation in sustainable agriculture, land protection and environmental education.
Stephanie reports that "it has been a dramatic and challenging winter," where they "have survived three major rounds of winter flooding." The small creek by which she and Davis live rose ten feet with three foot standing waves. Colorful molds grew abundan tly everywhere! Now that spring has blossomed and songbirds are singing and nesting, "a towhee eats the butter off our outdoor kitchen counter and the raccoons always check if we've left the compost bucket out." Stephanie looks forward to her return to Ve rmont in August.
Currently Tom Hudspeth is working on a book Green Heroes and Heroines from the Green Mountain State which profiles and celebrates individuals and groups in Vermont who serve as role models for living environmentally sustainable lives. With funding from the Vermont Water Resources and Lake Studies Center, Tom and Natural Resource Planning graduate student Emily Cohen are exploring ways of making research by SNR aquatic scientists available and understandable to school children and nonscientif ic, general adult audiences at the Lake Champlain Science Center (LCBSC). A joint venture between UVM and the city of Burlington, this hands-on science museum and research center on Lake Champlain will open this August in the Naval Reserve Building on Bur lington's waterfront
.For the last two years Laura McArthur has been involved with a study of UVM students measuring attitudes toward personally overweight and overweight others that was published in May in the Journal of American Dietetic Association; she is also work ing on two other studies related to attitudes about body weight. She and a co-worker recently received a grant to study the attitudes, knowledge and behaviors of food stamp recipients concerning the 1994 food labels. Based on an ENVS thesis by Julian F ischer '91, Laura is looking to publish a paper on the food habits of the English who colonized New England.
Carl Reidel is busy as Vice Chair of Vermont Governor Dean's Council of Environmental Advisors; as a member of the Governor's joint committee of economic and environmental advisors; and as a member of the Advisory Council to Vermont's Secretary of Natural Resources. He writes a biweekly environmental column for the Vermont Times and is book review editor for American Forests.
Jean Richardson serves as one of five Americans appointed by President Clinton to the NAFTA Environmental Commission, Joint Public Advisory Board (JPAC). Their work with five Mexican and five Canadian members takes her regularly to D.C., Montreal a nd Mexico. Jean spends lots of time working on her perennial gardens at home in North Ferrisburg.
Together Jean and Carl were the Donlon Visiting Professors of Environmental Science for 199495 at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry which took them to Syracuse for several one week stints to guest lecture and give two campus ad dresses. They have also been appointed by the Trustees of the New England Natural Resources Center as the co-directors of the newly formed New England Environmental Policy Center (NEEPC) which will be located in Burlington.
Ethan Swift '91 head teaching assistant for Leslie King's "International Environmental Studies" class had a serious car accident in March. He is recovering steadily under the motherly care of Leslie King. Although he temporarily lost his mobility, with a broken wrist and leg, he hasn't lost his sense of humor, and has been diligent with his physical therapy. Ethan was able to continue his work with the T.A.'s and will pick up on his Master's work in Natural Resource Planning this summer.
Shelly McSweeney '85 worked her last day as the Student Services Coordinator on September 6, 1994, the day before her second child, Tristen, was born at home. She's a full time Mom now and thoroughly loves it. Shelly stayed involved with the Environmental Program this spring as Tom Hudspeth's T.A. in ENVS 204, "Senior Seminar." Shelly is close to finishing her Master's in Public Administration and hopes to go back to work part time in the fall.
Eight UVM students, including Mary Brook '95, and four community members spent spring break working at the Community Tree Nursery (Vivero Comunal) at Burlington's sister city of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. Work included grafting, making fire breaks, triggering fruit production of pineapples and building a chicken coop. The next work brigade to Puerto Cabezas will occur in December, 1995. For information, call Mary Brook at 865-9690.
Directed by Dr. Jean Richardson, EPIC is a three year, community/university partnership project supported largely by a $1.2 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. With a focus on Franklin and Addison Counties, EPIC provides Vermonters with sources, technical assistance and grant money, with the goal of helping them reweave the fabric of rural communities. Over 600 people have been involved with EPIC programs since April 1992. EPIC's project areas include rural marketing techniques, intensi ve pasture management, conservation commissions, youth in conservation, rural leadership demonstrations, rural built landscapes, and seed grants.
EPIC's Seed Grants Program has emphasized innovative, collaborative projects with broad community support. Seed grants of up to $2,000 support grassroots projects which will make a long-term difference. Some of the dozens of projects this year include wor k with two new community newspapers; a cooperative store in Adamant to strengthen outreach efforts; the Montpelier conservation commission involving area residents and students in river cleanup and river study; and the town of Fairfax and its efforts to i ntroduce skills and tools for computer networking. The original 19921995 EPIC grant will likely be refunded for another year, and project coordinators are now exploring the possibility for an extended "EPIC II."