Category Archives: News

News and events around the Lake Champlain Valley of northern New York and Vermont and southern Quebec

Volunteers Needed for Turtle Beach Clean Up Day

Volunteers Needed for Turtle Beach Clean Up Day


Volunteers Needed for Turtle Beach Clean Up Day

Once again it’s time for the annual spiny softshell turtle beach cleanup day, and Vermont Fish & Wildlife is looking for volunteers to help on Saturday, October 22. Participants are asked to arrive at North Hero State Park between 10 and 11 AM, because the group may move on to another site by 11 o’clock.

Volunteers will help by pulling up vegetation on nesting beaches to prepare the turtle nesting sites for next year. They may also find a few hatchlings that have remained in nests underground this late in the year. In addition to threatened spiny softshell turtles, these nest sites are also used by map turtles, painted turtles, and snapping turtles.


Volunteers Needed for Turtle Beach Clean Up Day Spiny Softshell Turtle

Spiny Softshell Turtle

Vermont Fish & Wildlife biologist Steve Parren will have hatchling spiny softshell and other turtles on hand and will talk about his long-term recovery efforts with the species. Some hatchling turtles will be raised in captivity by the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center while they are small and are most vulnerable to predation. They will then be released back into Lake Champlain next spring.


“This is a great way to help conserve a threatened species right here in Vermont,” said Parren. “It’s also a fun way to learn more about the turtles and to see some recently hatched baby turtles.”


Volunteers Needed for Turtle Beach Clean Up Day Snapping turtle hatchling

Snapping turtle hatchling next to my granddaughter Gabby’s foot.
Photo taken in North Hero, Vermont by Molly McHugh

What You’ll Need For The Turtle Beach Clean Up

Participants are asked to dress in layers of warm clothes and to bring work gloves, a leaf rake, short-handled tools such as trowels, and their own lunch. Families and kids are welcome. The cleanup may run until 4 p.m., although participants can choose how long to help.

“This has turned into a very popular annual event for people interested in conservation,” said Parren. “We’ve had nearly 100 people show up to help in recent years, so we’re glad to see so many people care about wildlife.”

How To Get To North Hero State Park

To get to North Hero State Park, follow Route 2 north past Carry Bay in North Hero. Take a right on Lakeview Drive, just before Route 2 swings west toward Alburg. Follow Lakeview almost to the end until you reach the North Hero State Park entrance sign on the left. Drive to the end of the road always bearing right.

For more information, please contact Eric Lazarus at 802-658-8505 or

Other Lake Champlain Wildlife Articles:

Newest free fishing day in New York State

Newest free fishing day in New York State

Free Fishing Days

During Free Fishing Days/Weekends, anyone can fish the fresh or marine waters of New York State and no fishing license or recreational marine fishing registry is required! All other freshwater and saltwater fishing regulations still apply.

Upcoming Free Fishing Date

  • November 11, 2016
a instructor showing a child how to use a fishing pole on Newest free fishing day in New York State

Ideas for Free Fishing Days

  • Try fishing for the first time.
  • Haven’t fished in a while? Remember the joy of catching a fish again for free!
  • Become an ambassador to the sport; take a friend fishing for the first time.
  • Invite a friend to New York to fish.
  • Take a spouse or significant other fishing.
  • Take the family fishing…and don’t forget the grandparents!

For more information:

Learn to Fish

Free Fishing Clinics

Taking a Child Fishing

Places to Fish

Fishing Regulations


Other Lake Champlain Fishing Articles:

Saving Wetlands for 30 Years

Saving Wetlands for 30 Years

Saving Wetlands for 30 Years

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department recently celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Vermont Duck Stamp program at Mallet’s Creek Wildlife Management Area in Colchester. The Duck Stamp has raised $4.5 million and helped conserve nearly 12,000 acres of wetlands and surrounding habitat in Vermont.

Several founders of the program were honored at the event.  Moe Harvey and Carl Pagel were two of the founders of the program.  The Nature Conservancy, and their staffers Jon Binhammer and John Roe, have been crucial partners in purchasing and restoring wetlands.  And the members of the Waterfowl Advisory Committee were thanked for their continued commitment to conservation.

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More Lake Champlain News:  

Vermont’s Snakes Are on the Move

Vermont’s Snakes Are on the Move

Vermont’s Snakes Are on the Move

Help biologists document them by reporting a sighting

Fall marks the time when Vermont’s snakes may travel long distances to return to their den sites for the winter. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is asking people to keep an eye out for snakes while driving to avoid running them over and also to report any snake they see while out and about. These sightings will help to document the distribution of different snake species in Vermont.

According to Jim Andrews, coordinator of the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas, roads can be great places to find snakes in the fall, but they can also be deadly for the reptiles.

“To a snake, a road is essentially a warm and sunny ledge that serves as a perfect place to bask and raise its body temperature,” said Andrews, who is collaborating with the Department to document and conserve snakes in Vermont. “Sadly, this often results in a fatal encounter with a car. We’re asking people to please try to avoid hitting them on the road whenever safely possible.”

Wildlife biologist Doug Blodgett works to conserve snakes for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. According to Blodgett, snakes provide important services to people like eating disease-carrying rodents and garden pests. He believes that while some people may fear snakes, the creatures are too often misunderstood.

“Vermont’s snakes are generally harmless. Even timber rattlesnakes, which live only in isolated pockets of western Rutland County, are extremely shy and nearly always try to hide or avoid an encounter with people,” said Blodgett. “Despite their low profile, snakes are extremely important animals in the ecosystem.”

Blodgett and Andrews are asking the public to help efforts to conserve snakes by submitting sightings that document where different species are found. Citizen reports will also be useful in indicating where important road crossings exist so that appropriate road crossing structures can be considered. These sightings might also raise early warning signs, such as if species seem to be absent where they used to be common, or other trends that indicate when additional conservation action may be needed.

“Our knowledge of the current range of snakes is largely dependent on photos provided by citizens who happen to find them during their day-to-day activities outdoors,” said Andrews. “Keep your eyes open this fall and, if you do encounter a snake on the road or anywhere else, please snap a photo and send us a report.”

To send a report, go to, or email Andrews directly at