Signs abound nature is transforming into autumn

Snapping turtles are emerging from eggs laid in June. With a temporary egg tooth, hatchlings cut an exit from their leathery homes of several months.

In all the years our neighborhood snapper has laid eggs in our gravel driveway or by the side of the road, we have yet to see a juvenile emerge. Instead, we usually find spent egg casings in late summer, the aftermath of a raccoon or another critter’s meal. But we always look and always hope.

Beavers are indeed busy as they try to gain weight in preparation for winter confinement in lodges with a finite amount of stored food. Charlotte Park and Wildlife Refuge is home to an active population of beavers. Keep your eyes open for pencil-like stumps of trees and shrubs and trails created by dragging food back to winter lodges. A number of new dams are easy to spot from the walking trails.

High temperatures in early September plus huge amounts of phosphorous washed into Lake Champlain by heavy rains this summer have created ideal conditions for cyanobacteria to flourish. In recent reports from dozens of Lake Champlain Committee’s volunteer monitors, nearly 50% of locations on the lake indicated the presence of these potentially toxic microorganisms. Not all cyanobacteria blooms are toxic but those that are can be harmful if swallowed, a risk to young children and pets. According to Lake Champlain Committee’s website, cyanobacteria blooms “threaten water quality, public health, recreation, the economy and quality of life. Monitoring is not the end result of the Lake Champlain Committee’s work, it’s foundational for our nutrient reduction advocacy.”

Migrating loons are rafting, gathering to feed together, rather than to compete with each other, prior to migration. The juveniles remain after their parents’ departure, gathering strength and plumage before flying to salt water just before fresh water lakes and ponds freeze. I’ve recently paddled near several families of loons, watching the brownish juveniles mimic their parents in diving for dinner.

I write often and with hope about Shelburne Farms and its energy goals. In addition to being a beautiful place to walk and possibly dine or stay, the educational nonprofit has a goal of carbon net zero by 2028. This complex project has many prongs and challenges, not least the measurement of animal emissions and carbon sequestration. The farm’s path includes both long and short-term strategies. If the topic is of interest, I recommend this link:

Looking for more hope as it relates to climate change? Molly Wood hosts the podcast, Everybody in the Pool. A longtime tech and business journalist for The New York Times and National Public Radio’s Marketplace, among other media, Wood explains her goal, “Enough with problem porn. We all know the climate crisis is a big deal. This podcast is entirely about solutions and the people who are building them. Entrepreneurs are inventing miracles; the business world is shifting; individuals are overhauling their lives; and an entirely new economy is being born.”

Episodes in the 20-30 minute range include alternatives to plastics, climate-solutions investing for individuals, divesting of 401K plans from fossil fuel companies, alternatives to airplane fuels and the right to repair so that we can keep and continue to use our stuff.

Wood delves deeply into climate change solutions as a reporter, an investor and an explorer of solutions. She is smart, fun, well informed and a source of hope. What is better than that?