Posted: 11/12/2022 10:00:15 PM
Modified: 12/11/2022 22:00:13
As a biologist who manages the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s 826-acre Windsor Grasslands Wildlife Management Area (WMA), I am writing to remind the public that target shooting is prohibited on the property.
WMAs are stored and managed for many uses. Activities such as hunting, hiking, and wildlife viewing are all permitted in the Windsor Grasslands WMA and the other 100 WMAs in the department. Participants in these and other activities have enjoyed them side-by-side on the roads, trails and no-trail areas our WMAs provide.
However, target shooting requires additional infrastructure for safety and to minimize environmental impacts – infrastructure that is not present at Windsor Grasslands WMA.
This is why the ministry prohibits target shooting at Windsor Grasslands WMA. Since acquiring the property in 2018, we have installed signs to clarify the rules for public use of this property. Our game wardens investigated target shooting reports on the WMA and issued warnings and tickets to offenders. Unfortunately, illegal target shooting continues.
In October, department staff met with city officials, legislators and WMA users to discuss solutions. As a result of this meeting, I ask the public to take two steps to ensure the WMA is enjoyed safely and responsibly.
First, I ask local target shooters to choose the department’s Hammond Cove Range as a safe place to practice. Just a 15 minute drive from Windsor Grassland WMA, Hammond Cove has the infrastructure necessary for safe, responsible and enjoyable target shooting.
Second, I encourage all visitors to the Windsor Grasslands WMA to help stop illegal target shooting on the WMA by reporting offenders. Reports must include a license plate number and can be made by calling 802-828-1000 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, hunting remains legal on the property and does not have to be reported.
Caring for our public lands for the enjoyment of all Vermonters and for the well-being of our state’s natural resources is everyone’s responsibility. Following the rules under which these lands are conserved ensures their continued access to the public and the benefit of Vermont’s biodiversity.
The author is a wildlife biologist with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and oversees the Windsor Prairie Wildlife Management Area.
Join us if you think it’s wrong to use half of our federal taxes to fund wars and 800 military bases around the world while families in Vermont and New Hampshire live on the streets. Join us Tuesday mornings at the Ledyard Bridge with our “No War” message. You will find, as we do, that many of the hundreds of people who pass during the morning rush hour respond positively to the message “No War” and “Defuse Nuclear War”. In fact, given the strong pro-war message from the mainstream media, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
But there must be more than one outcry against the war. After all, we the people are paying for this army while the White House (Republicans and Democrats) always leaves the door open for visits from the big arms manufacturers. A case in point, and a conflict of interest you might agree, is our current Secretary of Defense who recently served on the board of Raytheon Technologies. These politicians are supposed to be civil servants and not corporate employees. We the people will not sit idly by while our youth and our tax dollars are wasted in these wars overseas.
If you would like to express words of peace to your neighbours, bring a sign and join us – weather permitting – on Tuesdays anytime between 7.30am and 9.30am on the Norwich side of the Ledyard Bridge. For a list of sponsors and their contact details, please see the announcement in the Valley News Calendar.
attend a local school
As the high school fall sports season draws to a close, families are looking forward to the holidays and anticipating the winter sports season. We start thinking about gifts and getting out the warmest clothes; trying to figure out what can be accomplished before sunset at 4:30.
Amid this flurry of late fall activity, I ask that you consider attending an arts performance at your local school, whether it be the fall play or an orchestral concert. and choir during the holidays. At a time when support and value for arts programs seem to be waning, community support for the work of these students is incredibly significant.
As with our sports teams, these students also practiced and rehearsed for months, working to achieve the desired level of perfection. All the while, perhaps unknowingly, they are learning skills that will serve them well beyond their middle and high school years. Our school communities are not just the budgets and building renovations we vote on every year. It is mainly the students inside and the families concerned. Consider supporting this slice of your community.
Our teachers and school staff work very hard every day to support these students in the classroom and, as a former teacher, I know that the school day does not end at the last bell. I also ask our teachers and staff… to please take an hour and a half after the last bell. Take a moment of your closely defended and deserved personal time and attend a performance by your students. That brief moment of support could mean the world to one of your student performers.