WOODSTOCK — Christmas at the Farm, the traditions of a late 19th-century Vermont Christmas, will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, and daily Dec. 18–Jan. 2 (closed Christmas Day), at Billings Farm & Museum. For more information, visit billingsfarm.org online.
Christmas tree permits
RUTLAND — U.S. Forest Service officials in Vermont are welcoming the public to select and cut a Christmas tree on the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) with the purchase of a $5 permit. Permits are now available for purchase either online (an additional $2.50 service fee applies) or in-person at our GMNF offices in Manchester or Rochester, Vermont.
In support of the Every Kid Outdoors initiative, this year, the Forest Service will provide fourth-grade students with a free Christmas tree voucher by registering here: everykidoutdoors.gov. Fourth-graders who register must present a printed voucher to redeem a Christmas tree permit.
For fees and availability, rules for harvesting, permit conditions, tree cutting area maps, planning your trip and helpful cutting tips, call Rutland Forest Supervisor’s Office (802) 747-6700; Manchester Ranger Station (802) 362-2307; or Rochester Ranger Station (802) 767-4261.
WOODSTOCK — The eight-day Hannukah celebration, “Be the Light!,” begun Nov. 28, continues at Woodstock Area Jewish Community/Shir Shalom. Every night at 6 p.m. the lighting of Hannukah candles are on Zoom. Upcoming events are:
Friday, Dec. 3, “Celebrate the Light” at Shir Shalom and on Zoom, Shabbat Hannukah, 5:30 p.m. Kids Party inside, 6 p.m. party for all outside.
Saturday, Dec. 4, “Enlighten Ourselves about Energy,” Havdalah Hannukah, Shrinking Our Carbon Footprints with Dan Gottlieb.
Sunday, Dec. 5, “Stories about the Light,” L’dor V’dor, Poetry, stories and music from Hannukahs past.
For more information, visit www.shirshalomvt.org online.
Adaptive Sports donation
KILLINGTON — Community members from across the country raised more than $200,000 for Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports #GivingTuesday campaign to support the organization’s year-round adaptive sports and recreational programs and athlete scholarships. The organization had its best #GivingTuesday results, raising $67,000 more than last year’s $135,000 tally. The results included a collective matching donation of $50,000 from The Sills Family Foundation, the Kimpton Family Fund, Dave and Melissa Baker, and Sarah DeBlois and Arthur Sills. All monies raised will go toward supporting a $1.5 million operating budget for 2022.
PITTSFORD — The Rutland County Humane Society announced a $7,000 grant investment from the newly named, Petco Love, to support their lifesaving work for animals in Rutland County. Petco Love is a national nonprofit to make communities and pet families closer, stronger and healthier.
Peer mentorAlison Merritt, of Rutland, is serving as a University of Vermont College of Nursing and Health Sciences peer mentor for the 2021-22 academic year. Known as “LINKS,” mentors provide first-year students with friendship, guidance and a connection to the UVM community.
Farm technical aid
University of Vermont (UVM) Extension and the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture recently launched a new program to provide free on-farm technical assistance for Vermont farm business owners and managers to improve their bottom line through changes in management practices.
The program’s technical service providers will work one-on-one with farmers to answer questions and provide technical assistance in areas including milk quality, grazing and pasture management, dairy nutrition, animal housing and facilities, animal husbandry and personnel management. In addition, they may source grant funding for fences, waterlines and barnyard improvements and help farms enroll in state and federal programs, such as those that provide payments for rotational grazing and excluding livestock from waterways.
Tony Kitsos heads up the team, which includes two recently hired dairy herd management educators, Whitney Hull and Kelsie Meehan. Kitsos and Hull are available to work with medium- and large-scale cow dairy operations while Meehan will assist small-scale, small ruminant, organic, grass-based and/or transitional cow, goat and sheep dairies.
Vermont’s loons are thriving with a record 109 nesting pairs recorded in 2021, the highest since loon monitoring began in 1978, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE). VCE leads the Vermont Loon Conservation Project in partnership with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.
Loons were removed from Vermont’s endangered species list in 2005 following decades of recovery efforts. One of the main threats still facing loons as they continue to recover is human disturbance during the breeding season. People should avoid lead fishing tackle. Loons sometimes swallow stray fishing tackle and suffer the effects of lead poisoning. Lead sinkers weighing one-half ounce or less are prohibited for fishing in Vermont. Anglers are advised to not attract loons to their bait and lures, and especially don’t leave any fishing line behind as fishing tackle does kill loons.
Hunters still have several days of archery and muzzleloader deer hunting in Vermont. Archery deer hunting continues through Dec. 15, and muzzleloader deer hunting happens Dec. 4 to 12.
Archery season: An archery deer license and a hunting license are required. An antlerless deer or a legal buck, if you did not take one earlier, are allowed.
Muzzleloader season: A muzzleloader deer license and a hunting license are required. A legal buck may be taken if you did not take one earlier, and an antlerless deer may be taken in a designated Wildlife Management Unit if you have a muzzleloader antlerless deer permit and you have not already reached your annual limit.
Vermont has an annual limit of four deer, including only one legal buck annually, during its deer hunting seasons.
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