Wildlife Watch: Dead Creek WMA to host hands-on interpretative trail

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 6:54 PM EDT
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ADDISON, Vt. (WCAX) - Planning is underway for a new interpretative nature trail in Addison County that offers more than just facts, but provides visitors suggestions to help wildlife conservation in their own back yard.

“We just passed the pollinator garden and we are heading into the upland habitat,” explained Amy Alfieri, a wildlife biologist at the Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in Addison.

We are walking along the path of a future first-of-its-kind in Vermont interpretative trail. “Our mission is to conserve and protect all species in Vermont and we had the opportunity to convert our lawn here at the visitors center into a habitat that would help support that mission,” Alfieri said.

When completed, she says the trail will give visitors a chance to see work they can do at home to help nature. “The motivation behind it is to really to provide opportunities for people to come and look at examples that they can do in their back yards to help support wildlife,” Alfieri said.

“Here in Vermont, our homes are connected to where animals are -- just the way that our state and forests are -- and it really does make a difference, everything that people do on their properties,” said Andrea Shortsleeve, a Vt. F&G habitat biologist. “A lot of times we are working with private landowners on a variety of scales of parcels and they want to know what they can do to improve wildlife habitat. So, this is a great opportunity for people to see what it looks like in action before they put time and money and resources into doing that.”

Shortsleeve says the amount of work people can do at home varies. “Depending on what people are interested in. If it’s native pollinators, native songbirds, we are going to have plant lists and resources of where you can buy those plants,” Shortsleeve said. “It does make a difference everything people do on their property. Enhancing pollinator habitat and giving places for birds to eat native foods as they migrate through is a really good way, this a great way for people to connect to wildlife that they don’t always see.”

Alfieri says that while some plantings are happening now, the goal is to be ready to go with signage and benches in a year and a half. “Before the snow flies we are going to get all of the plants and the seeds in the ground,” she said. “I think it’s going to be so beautiful and a great place to visit. It’s going to be hard for me to leave the trail.”

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