Vermont Research News - December 6, 2017


Although a major volcanic eruption isn’t likely to occur in Vermont anytime soon, researchers recently found a mass of warm rock rising below Vermont. The formation is estimated to be a couple hundred miles in width, spanning across different states in New England. The new discovery is striking, researchers say, because the Atlantic Margin of North America has not experienced intense geological activity in nearly 200 million years.


Since 1970, Burlington, Vermont has had the largest increase in average winter temperature across the nationBurlington’s average has increased by 7°F in the past 47 years, slowing the onset of winter.

Researchers have also recently examined how Vermont’s maple syrup industry may adapt to the changing weather patterns, interviewing 15 maple producers in the Northern Forest region of New York and Vermont. More than half of the producers expressed concern over climate change, worrying about the resiliency of their sugarbush and their ability to develop new technologies—and two-thirds planned to or had already made changes to their businesses


Vermont has been ranked as the safest state for online dating, based on factors including crime rates, infection rates for the most common STIs, and the frequency of identity theft. Many of the other states ranked at the top are more rural and less urban.


Portrayals of Vermont’s forests contribute to how we understand "Vermont," according to a new study. Two UVM researchers analyzed 150 brochures from 62 recreational tourism sites placing the visual interpretations into four categories—the natural forest, the recreational forest, the productive forest, and the dependent forest. They also identified a fifth category—the forest as a representation of Vermont as a concept and a distinct place.

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 tiny house movement continues to grow—but can the small units withstand brutal Vermont winters? recent study characterized the movement as a push toward downsizing and decluttering and evaluated the lifestyle as a sustainable practice. Mary Murphy, a tiny house advocate and Vermont researcher—whose home cost $5,000 to build—said she spent $15 on a thrift store space heater, with a heating bill of just $80 per month in the dead of winter.


Vermont was recently ranked as the least religious state in the U.S. (at 21%), according to survey data by Gallup. Maine (23%) and Massachusetts (25%) follow Vermont. On the other side of the spectrum, the most religious states are  Mississippi (59%) Alabama (56%) and Utah (54%).


The economic costs of good agricultural practices (GAPS) audits on small and medium-size farms in Vermont have been the focus of a recent study conducted by UVM researchers. Results showed that the cost of GAPs range between $37 and $54 per acre, and an additional 7 hours were required each week during the growing season.


Vermont adolescents experiencing polyvictimization—defined as experiencing two or three forms of victimization such as bullying, cyberbullying, and harassment—are more likely to be female or transgender, multiracial, and/or identify as doing “worse” academically. The report by UVM and Harvard researchers used data from the 2015 Vermont Middle and High School Pilot Climate Survey to conduct the study.


If the 2016 made-for-TV movie “Christmas in Vermont” is on your queue for holiday watching, it might surprise you to know that the movie—starring Chevy Chase, set in the fictional town of Chestnut, Vermont and full of homey, small-town holiday cheer—was actually filmed at locations in upstate New York.  Here’s a partial list of movies that really were filmed in the Green Mountain State; some may surprise you.

“Made Here,” a recently launched series of Vermont-made, independently-produced programs on local PBS stations, was a recent finalist in a public broadcasting “Local that Works” showcase. Starting in 2016, Vermont filmmakers submitted films for a 3-hour primetime block weekly—with about 5 shows debuting each month. According to a recent article in the public media journal Current, the “Made Here” films have helped build the station’s brand, while boosting ratings and the all-important pledge-drive traffic.

The Vermont Movie
Speaking of Vermont Movies, The Vermont Movie is an award-winning six-part documentary series about Vermont that covers some of the key stories of Vermont’s past and present. More information here.


Sophia A. Trigg