Vermont Research News - October 31, 2017


What if Vermont seceded from the United States? This is the question Bill McKibben explores in his new book Radio Free Vermont, a fictional story about a radio host and activists who decide that their state might be better off as it’s own republic. See also Out! The Vermont Seccession Book by Frank Bryan, Bill Mares and Jeff Danzinger,  The Vermont Manifesto by Thomas Naylor and the on-going 2VR movement.

Assorted Halloween candy



Americans spend $2.7 billion on candy during the Halloween season. According to arecent survey  by candy supplier, the most commonly purchased Halloween candy in Vermont is the Milky Way candy bar. collected an entire decade of Halloween candy sales in all 50 states to determine which was the most popular.

As the spookiest season of the year culminates with Halloween night, take a look at the Vermont Ghost Guide. Written in 2000 by Vermont author Joseph Citro, it chronicles hauntings in dozens of towns across the state. Among the most famous sites are Emily’s Bridge in Stowe and the “Bloody Tower” in Brattleboro.



Vermont’s fall foliage has been impressive this year—but the eye-catching red coloring in the leaves of maples and other trees may be doing more than meets the eye. Research by UVM ecologist Abby van den Berg suggests that reddish-hued anthocyanin pigments may help protect leaves from sun damage, enabling them to carry on important functions like sending nutrients back into the tree before the leaves die. Check out other theories about red foliage in this New York Times article.

Speaking of leaves, tree regeneration is essential for sustainable forest management, but it can be hindered by ecological and harvesting effects. A study by UVM researchers on the regeneration responses to management for old-growth characteristics in hardwood-conifer forests of Vermont found that structural complexity enhancement is a successful method for holistic forest management.


The Gervais Family of the Gervais Family Farm stand by their farm.Researchers Cheryl Morse and Jill Mudgett found that place-based factors and family ties were the main determinants in causing individuals to stay in their home state. Those “contented stayers” placed emphasis on the emotional aspects of living near family in Vermont, and outlined the ways in which they exercise mobility to remain happy at home. 

And speaking of Vermont researchers, the Center recently interviewed Castleton University’s Rich Clark on the concept of “Vermont,” UVM’s Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux on climate change and Vermonthistorian Nick Muller on Ethan Allen and Bill Mares on the Full Vermonty. (If you have an idea for a researcher video contact us).



Should Amazon’s far-reaching influence on the U.S. marketplace face limitations?A recent study details the company’s hegemony over retail distribution—half of all dollars spent on-line. VT Digger is joining Phoenix Books in a discussion of this report on November 13th at 6 pm. Vermont is one of the handful of states that taxes online sales.

Windmills on a hilltop in Vermont.


Could “new regionalism” be the key to developing and promoting sustainable energy practices? Researchers from Saint Michael’s College examined the hub of green energy resources along the Vermont-Canadian border, and analyzed the emergence of this identity as a tool in promoting sustainability on a greater scale—as well as a drawback in directing resources away from neighboring states.



Vermont’s policy decisions allow for the state to have a high-performing health system, according to a recent study done by The American Journal of Managed Care. The system is supported by the multi-payer delivery system and working towards higher quality care with lower costs for the patients with the help of public commitment.


Sophia A. Trigg