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Kent McFarland

There is currently a study going on in the Green Mountain National Forest investigating the impact of wind turbines on black bear use of important foraging sites. These sites draw bears from 20-to-30 miles away when the beechnuts appear. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is concerned that the turbines might be disturbing the bears' ability to get to their feeding habitats.

All Images Public Domain - Collage by James Stewart

Our ability to hear patterns, recognize words and focus our auditory perception is thanks, in large part, to a very specific region of the brain, the superior temporal gyrus. It’s located just behind and above each ear. It’s the site of our auditory association cortex, in other words it’s the place that helps us understand language, speech and music.

Young Writers Project: 'What Is A Right?'

Apr 21, 2019
 Orwell, Vermont, Faith Holzhammer takes us to a gritty place this week as she contemplates the future of Earth and its youngest inhabitants.
YWP Media Library, watercolor by Nathaniel Steele, Danville, Vermont

Daylight swims in puddled rain,
milking Sunday afternoons with pain,
shattering the weakest segment of chain. 
Daylight questions dreamers' answers.
Dogs of hellfire, moonlit dancers.
Feet pounding the Earthlight into cancer.

Jackie Harris / ISTOCK

If there ever was a sure thing in the perennial flower world, it's the daylily. Unlike the lilium or "Easter Lily," hemerocallis or daylilies are easy to grow.

VPR Cafe: Finding Success With Farm Diversification

Apr 19, 2019
In addition to maple syrup, Gateway Farm in Bristol also produces birch syrup which tends to be more tart than maple.
Caleb Kenna / Seven Days

The idea of farms diversifying their offerings is not a new one, but it's always interesting to hear how the concept is put into practice. After a challenging start, one Bristol farm is standing out with everything from grass-fed beef and laying-hens, to a sugar house that produces both maple and birch syrup. 

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the American people the right to freedom of religion - but that is not to say that bigotry does not persist in our midst, as this week's 13-year-old poet Narges Anzali, of Weybridge, points out.
YWP Media Library, photo featuring Narges Anzali

To all the people who hate Muslims:
Do I scare you? They call it Islamophobia after all.

Timeline: Synesthesia

Apr 15, 2019
U.S. Public Domain

1915 saw the New York premiere of Alexander Scriabin’s Prometheus: Poem of Fire. The performance featured a new instrument of Scriabin’s invention, the clavier à lumières, a keyboard with lights. Rather than playing music or sound, this instrument emitted a different color of light based on the note pressed on the keyboard. Some say that Scriabin created this instrument to express his own synesthesia.

Young Writers Project: 'Beautifully Heartbreaking'

Apr 12, 2019
Burlington, Vermont-based poet, Addie DeLeonardis-Page, wants readers to relish and melt into the pages of the stories they hold between their hands.
YWP Media Library, photo by Autumn Degree, Essex Junction, Vermont

Pick up a book and start to read.
Close your eyes and let yourself feel.
Let the story take you through it all.
Be encompassed in the bliss of love.
Get lost in the fantasy that is fiction.
Feel the tears spill down your cheeks.

josefkubes / ISTOCK

If you'd like to start an edible garden, but your yard is limited in space or sun, think up. Vertical gardening has become popular in urban areas around the world. I see vertical gardens everywhere, from small balconies to skyscrapers. You don't have to live in a city to grow vertically. It's a good way to maximize any space and keep your favorite edibles within reach.

Phnom Penh owner, Sarin Tin, serves a Vietnamese-style bahn mi sandwich at the restaurant's new White River Junction location.
Tom McNeill / Seven Days

Growing from a farmers market stand, to a food truck, to a full-fledged restaurant, Lebanon, New Hampshire's Phnom Penh Sandwich Station recently crossed the Connecticut River to open a second location in Vermont. Taking over the space once occupied by the legendary Polka Dot restaurant, Phnom Penh's Cambodian cuisine is now available in White River Junction. 

U.S. Public Domain

December 6, 1997, Japanese television aired the 38th episode of the uber-popular animated program Pokemon, entitled “Denno Senshi Porigon.” In the middle of the episode there was a short, five second shot of flashing red and blue lights accompanied by a high-pitch sound. This visual and audio stimulus caused some watching to experience photosensitive epileptic seizures. Over 700 children ended up in the hospital with countless others reporting side effects such as; headaches, dizziness and nausea. It’s estimated that 10 percent of those who viewed the broadcast were affected in some way. As a result, the Japanese government made new rules around their animated programs and the company Nintendo took an immediate hit on the stock market. The incident has become infamous for what is now called “Pokemon Shock.”

Julija Dmitrijeva / ISTOCK

Peas are one of our most ancient vegetables. Archeologists have found them in tombs and caves dating back 5000 years. The earliest peas were used as a dried vegetable in soups. Their popularity as a fresh vegetable caught on in the 1600's in Europe and we've been eating them that way ever since.

VPR Cafe: Farming Without The Field

Apr 3, 2019
Jake Isham, Holly St. Jean and Greg Kelly under LED lighting in the climate-controlled space of Ceres Greens in Barre.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / SevenDays

In a 12,500-square-foot former granite warehouse in Barre - free of sunlight, rain and insects - with cement floors, artificial lighting, and a sensor-controlled climate, you'll find trays upon trays of beautiful greens. The vegetation found in this space includes various styles of lettuce and basil, and is part of a wave of a new style of farming.

VPR's Norwich studio is located at King Arthur Flour at 135 US Rt.5 South, Norwich, VT. For precise directions to the studio, or if you get lost on the way, call the Norwich studio at 1-800-426-7820.
David Hall

The American Marten is about the size of a mink with a long body, short legs and a thick, furry coat. They can be brownish or reddish in color and have a buffy patch of fur around their throat. They are quite cute, with pronounced eyebrows that give them a quizzical look. Deforestation and hunting brought the marten close to local extinction by 1900. In the late 1980's, the marten was re-introduced into Vermont forests.

Stefan Rotter / ISTOCK

We’ve all been there, driving down the street listening to music while moving our fingers to the rhythm, sitting in a concert hall tapping our toes to the music, working out in the gym making our reps or steps match the background beat around us. I’ve caught myself falling into step with random music coming out of a shop or coffee house just by simply walking past. We call this rhythmic entrainment, the tendency to sync up with the beat around us.

Young Writers Project: 'A Knock On Society's Door'

Mar 29, 2019
Twelve-year-old Montpelier, Vermont, poet Hazel Green points unflinchingly at some of American society's most prominent flaws, and commits her voice and efforts to the enactment of change.
YWP Media Library, photo by Ciara Ertle

Everyone gets a chance to knock,
but only some are let in.
When it is my turn, I knock once –
once for the one individual each of us can be.

lovelyday12 / ISTOCK

Everyone should be planting native trees. They're good for the environment and global warming, add beauty and shade to our yards, provide food for wildlife and homes for birds and other creatures. But there's nothing worse than buying a tree, planting it and having it suddenly die a few years later. This happens more than we'd like to admit, so I think we need a tree healthcare plan.

Paul Orgel - used by permission

Chopin’s birthday is celebrated on the 1st of March and J.S. Bach’s on either the 21st or the 31st, depending on which calendar you use. That’s a long story for another episode. We’ve spent this entire month exploring the music and lives of these two composers. All of this has come together around a concert that VPR Classical hosted last month called “The Alchemy of Genius.” This concert featured…

annalovisa / ISTOCK

Hydrangeas are common landscape plants that hail from Asia. While many know the shrub versions of hydrangeas, such as "mophead" or blue hydrangea, the smooth leaf or "Annabelle" hydrangea and the panicle hydrangea, fewer gardeners are familiar with the climbing hydrangea.

All Images Public Domain - Collage by James Stewart

We are continuing to celebrate the life and music of J.S. Bach and Chopin, listening to excerpts from a recent concert I hosted with pianist Paul Orgel in VPR’s Stetson Studio One while also featuring highlights from an interview I had with pianist and Chopin scholar Marjan Kiepura. You can listen to all of Paul Orgel’s performances from “The Alchemy of Genius” pairing Nocturnes by Chopin with excerpts from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Book II here.