Moore: The challenge of optimism on Earth Day

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Moore: The challenge of optimism on Earth Day

Thu, 04/22/2021 - 10:56am -- tim

Nature Notes by ANR Secretary Julie Moore I recently finished Bill Gates’ new book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster. It was a worthy read. I was particularly struck by one of his concluding remarks: “I hope you will spend more time and energy supporting whatever you’re in favor of than opposing whatever you’re against.”

I am an optimist by nature, and so perhaps it is for that reason this quote spoke to me.

The work of conservation can be rather dour. We are facing myriad environmental challenges – from climate change to harmful algal blooms to the arrival of the emerald ash borer to sharp declines in eastern meadowlark populations.

But I love how the sentiment Gates’ expressed can be used to reframe this view - asking us to spend more time focused on what we are in favor of… where we can have a positive impact and make a difference. I read it as a reminder that while the world is full of wounds and problems and loss, it is also full of beauty and recovery and amazing people doing modest yet incredible work to protect and restore and make things better.

I am fortunate to work with 600 such people at the Agency of Natural Resources. This newsletter provides a sample of their good work and opportunities for you to learn more and get involved. I hope you will take a few minutes today, Earth Day, to read about the Agency’s work and the positive impact that can be had by investing time and energy in whatever you’re in favor of. 

April 22 | 10:00 am: Earth Day Wildlife Trivia on Facebook Live – Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department FB page. This wildlife trivia event will focus on threatened and endangered species. Join this event.
May 3 | 10:00-11:00 am - Vermont Wetland Training for Stormwater Professionals: Learn how to navigate wetlands permitting for stormwater projects. The Wetlands Program will present wetland identification tools, permitting, and tips on how to avoid wetland impacts. This training is relevant for partner organizations implementing stormwater projects with Clean Water Initiative Program funds. Register here.
May 6 | 12:00-1:00pm: Clean Water Lecture. Join this event to hear more about how to reconnect rivers and restore streams, wetlands, and floodplains. Register here.
August 14-15 and August 21-22: Teen Conservation Weekend for ages 15-17. Learn more.
Vermont Municipal Day: This free online experience offers 17 informative videos intended to help new, and not-so-new, municipal officials learn about ANR’s work and the tools available to help communities. Learn more.
Third Thursdays: Vermont Wild Kitchen -- Join the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, Vermont Farm to Plate, and occasionally game wardens, volunteer hunter education and Let’s Go Fishing instructors, and local chefs as they show you tips and techniques for processing and cooking wild meat and fish on the third Thursday of each month.
Fridays in May: The Ask an Arborist webinar series will happen every Friday in May at 10:00 am featuring conversations on topics ranging from tree selection to tree care.
Wood Heat Incentives
If your home or business is ready for a heating update and looking to opt out of oil to help the state meet its goal of 90 percent renewable energy by 2050, many rebates and incentives are available to Vermonters interested in switching to wood heat.
Heating homes or businesses with locally sourced wood fuel displaces fossil fuels, keeps dollars in Vermont, and keeps woodlands intact through sustainable local forest markets and management.
As of January 1, 2021, residential wood heaters including stoves, furnaces, and boilers with at least 75 percent efficiency are eligible for a 26% Federal tax credit. The tax credit and all the rebates can be combined.
Here’s a list of available rebates:
EPA Certified Stoves
  • $200 rebate from Efficiency Vermont when you turn in an older model
  • $250 rebate for Washington Electric Coop members
  • $150 bill credit for Vermont Electric Coop members (pellet only)
  • $150 rebate for Stowe Electric members (pellet only)
Pellet Boilers/Furnaces
  • $3000 from Efficiency Vermont
  • $3000 from the Clean Energy Development Fund (accessed via Efficiency Vermont)
  • $1000/$500 for Washington Electric Coop members for boilers/furnaces
Conservation Corner
Bald Eagles in Vermont
The bald eagle was first listed as endangered in Vermont back in 1972, long before our current list of endangered and threatened species took form in 1987. Species are listed through a rigorous rule-making process with advice from the Vermont Endangered Species Committee and lots of public notice and input.
We currently list 36 animals as endangered and 16 as threatened, as well as 69 endangered and 94 threatened plants. We are a small state with lots of cool stuff, but you already knew that. This year we are proposing the delisting of the bald eagle. This is a huge milestone that represents the efforts of our agency and departments, partners, the banning of DDT, and the efforts of other states.
Earth Day Heroes
On Earth Day, we all have the opportunity to reflect on how our behaviors impact the environment around us. Each year, the Agency of Natural Resources Secretary selects several staff people to receive Earth Day Heroes awards to recognize the work these individuals have done to protect Vermont’s land, water, air, plants and wildlife, and human communities. 
Here are nine stories from this year's Earth Day Heroes.
Job Openings
Civil Rights, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Environmental Justice Coordinator
The Agency of Natural Resources is committed to practicing justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the work we do for Vermonters and the environment. We are looking for an individual to help improve how we integrate environmental justice and equity across all of our regulatory, funding, and outreach programs. Apply now.
Parks Program Technician III (Full time/year round)
The position includes administrative duties, technical assistance, IT projects such as inventory and systems improvements, contracting and purchasing, helping coordinate budget preparation and monitoring, support of seasonal staff training and planning, coordinating annual purchasing of operational supplies, and working closely with the parks team and business office on contracts and requisitions. This position also assists with updates to publications and other materials for visitor information, assists with the state rule making process, responds to public requests for information, assists with infrastructure asset management, and supports or leads a variety of other special project duties to support Vermont's world class park system and amazing team of classified and seasonal staff.
Parks Operations Manager (Full time/year round)
The Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation seeks an energetic, outgoing, positive individual with a thorough understanding of Vermont State Parks' operations who is able to work independently, multi-task, use excellent communication skills both orally and in writing to mediate conflicts, provide excellent customer service and succeed as part of a collaborative team in a fast-paced environment. This advanced operations position is responsible for the recruitment, hiring, training and supervision of seasonal park managers and staff that work in up to 12 state parks in the southwestern region of Vermont State Parks spanning from Woodford to Charlotte. Apply now.
Parks Seasonal Positions
Assistant Park Manager, Alburgh Dunes
Park Manager, Knight Point
Park Interpreter, Lake Carmi
Park Attendants, Various statewide
Recruiting until filled.