Leave it to beavers to kick off this summer’s popular “Know Your Wild Neighbors” series at the Mount Holly Town Library, Wednesday, July 24 at 7:00 p.m. Chris Bernier of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department will be the featured speaker at the workshop, which is sponsored by the Ninevah Foundation and free of charge.
Beavers played an important role in the early colonization of North America, when trappers came in search of their pelts. At one time, U.S. beaver populations were almost decimated, but today they have rebounded and, in some areas, beavers now create conflicts with humans.
Bernier will explain how beavers accomplish their amazing engineering feats: gnawing down large trees to construct dams that create the ponds where they live, and building domelike lodges of branches and mud that are home to several generations and are reachable only through underwater entryways.
The presentation will also cover how the beaver’s work benefits other wildlife, and what to do about unwanted beaver activity, such as a beaver dam that causes flooding. Beaver pelts, a beaver skull and a sample of “beaver-gnawed” wood will be on display, as well as beaver “baffles” – structures designed to control water level and protect culverts affected by beaver dam-building.
Chris Bernier has been a wildlife biologist with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department for 19 years, working on projects ranging from Atlantic salmon restoration in the Connecticut River watershed to research on bobcat habitat use. In 2011, he became leader of the Furbearer Management Program, and much of his recent field work as focused on determining the distribution of American marten and Canada lynx throughout Vermont.
The Ninevah Foundation (www.ninevahfoundation.org) is a conservation organization dedicated to promoting the wilderness character and tranquil nature of Lake Ninevah and over 3,000 acres of surrounding lands in Mount Holly and Plymouth, Vermont. The “Know Your Wild Neighbors” series is co-sponsored by the Wilderness Community, Inc., the Mount Holly Library Association, the Mount Holly Community Association and the Mount Holly Conservation Trust.