FNEPs at the 2023 Northeast Natural History Conference


Northeast Natural History Conference
April 21 – 23

Burlington, Vermont

Check back for updates! (Last updated 2/13/2022)

Keynote Program: The Biology of Climate Change
Thor Hanson (Cohort N)

“Polar bears on shrinking icebergs are a potent symbol of climate change biology, but anyone who spends time in nature knows that there is a lot more to the story. In this plenary, author and biologist Thor Hanson explores the fraught and fascinating ways that species are responding to the climate crisis. Drawing on current science and stories from his latest book, Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid, Hanson shows how plants and animals are moving, adapting, and even evolving in real time, and how the sum of their reactions will determine the future.” More Information

Alumni and Student Presentations Presentation Abstracts

  • Session: Bedrock to Birds: Dispatches from the Field of Natural History Education
    • Alicia Daniel (E): Moderator; Let Them Eat Cake: Cooking up the Vermont Master Naturalist Program
    • David Moroney & Evan Horne (AM): How to Train a Naturalist
    • Heather Fitzgerald (Q): Teaching What We Need to Learn
      • There’s an old saw that we tend to teach the things we most need to learn, and darned if I haven’t found it to be true over and over again. Lately I have been feeling compassion for my students who want to know everything about nature instantly. I’ve been experimenting with giving them permission to slow down, let go of expectations that they will key out a tree in a particular way or interact with a certain number of mammals while at their sit spot, and appreciate learning small things. I will share my journey through the Valley of Rigorous Teaching to my current approach, and offer you time to explore the messages hidden in your own teaching.
    • Teage O’Connor (Z10): Invasive Species as a Conduit for Connection
      • The term “invasive species” often invokes a knee-jerk response of righteous indignation, a sense of paradise lost, ecological doom. But in a landscape defined by anthropogenic influence, we might better be served by shifting our focus to the immediate and accessible opportunities for profound and transformative experiences with wildness that these species can provide. In my work as a naturalist and educator, I am drawn to exploring ways we might rethink our connection to invasive species, adding nuance to our understanding of local ecosystems, and exploring the world through earth skills (think: Phragmites canoes, Norway Maple syrup, Common Barberry jam, Narrow-leaved Cattail sleeping mats, Norway Spruce spoons, Japanese Knotweed cosmic blow galls, and Common Buckthorn dyes).
    • Thor Hanson (O): The Storytelling of Science
    • Rosemary Mosco (Z10): Pigeon Watching: How it can Make You A Better Naturalist (Really)
      • A good naturalist looks at the pieces of the landscape and asks, “What processes brought them here?” The city pigeon is an often overlooked piece of the landscape that has a remarkable story to tell. A domesticated species, its history is every bit as complex and dramatic as the history of humanity. Come learn what the humble pigeon can tell us about genetics, inequality, evolution, behavior, and more.
    • Kate Burnaby Wright (P): Rewilding Our Narratives
      • The stories we tell ourselves, the ‘truths’ we absorb from peers and parents and popular paradigms, hold deep power. Kate — ecologist, experiential educator, resilient systems advocate and UVM Field Naturalist alum — will share tales from her career path, then facilitate a brief interactive inquiry into the role field ecologists can play in rewilding the narratives that influence our communities.
    • Carly Brown (AC): “Wait, We’re Going Outside Today?:” How using Natural Phenomena Can Bridge the Classroom and the Outdoors
  • Session: Ferns in the Northeast
    • Cathy Paris & Dave Barrington (Faculty): Moderators 
  • Session: Peatland Ecology
    • Grace Glynn (AJ): Moderator; Presenting
    • Laura Hatmaker (AK): Balch Head Heath: A Coastal Maine Raised Bog
    • Nancy Olmstead (AC): Maine’s Freshwater Peatlands
  • Session: Every Cog and Wheel: Celebrating, Cataloging, and Protecting the Biodiversity of VT
    • Bob Zaino (X8) Vermont Conservation Design
    • Shelby Perry (AF): Moderator
    • Susan Hindinger (N): The Vermont Atlas of Life
  • Session: Catamounts: Extirpation & Restoration—Past, Present, and Future
    • Shelby Perry (AF): Presenting
  • Session: The Field Naturalist Program: Connecting Conservation Needs with Moxie
    • Charlotte Cadow (AL): Black Ash Community Conservation
    • Dylan O’Leary (AL): Restoration Prioritization in the Sagebrush Sea: Geospatial Techniques and Ground Truthing
    • Erica Hample  (AL)Montpelier PLACE: Ecological Assessment, Management, and Connection in Vermont’s Capital City
    • Hayley Kolding (AL): What First: Spring and Stream Conservation on a Half-Million Acre Ranch
    • Sonya Kaufman (AL): Forest Health in the Ossipee and Waterboro Pine Barrens

Field Walks

  • Alicia Daniel (Cohort E) | An Integrated Landscape Approach to Rock Point
  • Bob Zaino (X8), Eric Sorenson, and Liz Thompson (Faculty) | Niquette Bay State Park
  • Grace Glynn (AJ) & Jill Bubier (E) | Colchester Bog
  • Sean Beckett (AG) | Lake Champlain Waterfowl Watch
  • Stephen Wright (Faculty) | Geology of Mount Philo


Stay tuned for more details about a special alumni reception on Friday or Saturday evening.

Please reach out to us if you are in need of financial assistance to attend.