Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Families Engage in Citizen Science During Christmas Bird Count

Posted By on Tue, Dec 12, 2017 at 4:55 PM

  • Camilla Cerea/National Audubon Society
  • Christmas Bird Count
Kids get a chance to practice more than just math skills during the National Audubon Society's annual Christmas Bird Count, taking place across Vermont between December 14 and January 5. The information they collect will help ornithologists and conservation biologists track the health of bird populations. 

Vermonters will join more than 70,000 bird counters at more than 2,400 sites across the Western Hemisphere as part of the 118th annual event. The practice started in 1900 on Christmas Day, as an alternative to the traditional Christmas “side hunt,” in which hunters would divide into teams to see which one could kill the most birds and animals. Ornithologist and Audubon Society officer Frank M. Chapman proposed a "Christmas Bird Census" to count birds instead of hunting them. The census is now the nation’s longest running citizen science bird project. Citizen science, says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is when “volunteers partner with scientists to answer real-world questions."

Each bird count is conducted in a circle with a diameter of 15 miles. At least 10 volunteers break into small groups and count every bird they see along an assigned route or at a bird feeder.

Interested families can find contact information for Vermont's 23 bird count sites here. In mid-February, the Great Backyard Bird Count gives avian enthusiasts another opportunity to count birds, this time on their own property.

Learn more about Audubon Vermont at

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Friday, December 8, 2017

New Store in Shelburne Offers One-Stop Shopping for Families

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 10:58 AM

Relish Threads
  • Relish Threads
Need a kids' winter jacket? A baby shower gift? A birthday present? A fashion-forward pair of earrings? Relish Threads, a new store in Shelburne that opened in late November, offers these items and more.

Jamie Wilhite, who runs her Relish gourmet hot dog cart during the warmer months, says she envisions the new store as a warm and welcoming place where parents can bring their kids, without worrying about someone asking them not to touch things. It's located in the Tennybrook Square Plaza on Shelburne Rd., next to La Villa Bistro and Gymstar Gymnastics.

At the front of the store, a pair of velvety couches, small area with books and toys, and chalkboard wall provide spots for parents to relax and kids to play. Wilhite's sons, 8-year-old Jameson and 6-year-old Clayton, often hang out at the store after school.

Owner Jamie Wilhite's sons, Jameson and Clayton, in the store - ALISON NOVAK
  • Alison Novak
  • Owner Jamie Wilhite's sons, Jameson and Clayton, in the store
Relish Threads stocks both new and gently used clothing, size newborn to 14. In addition, Wilhite carries an eclectic assortment of kids' items, from wooden toys to baby blankets. Goods from independent female designers are also featured — including leather bags and tassle earrings from Hinesburg-based Ma & Pembum, upcycled pants for toddlers from Pineapple Designs VT and girls' cotton dresses from Petit Peony. For the shopper looking to grab a last-minute present, the store even sells gift bags and wrapping paper.

Relish Threads (3762 Shelburne Rd., Shelburne) hosts an open house on Friday, December 8, 4-7 p.m, with a wine tasting and snacks.

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Bernie Sanders Asks High School Students to Weigh in on State of the Union

Posted By on Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 12:39 PM

Senator Bernie Sanders at last year's round table discussion for contest finalists
  • Senator Bernie Sanders at last year's round table discussion for contest finalists
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is asking local high schoolers to opine on the major issues facing our country in his annual State of the Union essay contest.

Since Sanders launched the contest eight years ago, more than 3,000 students have submitted essays on topics ranging from climate change to the rising cost of college education. “We need our students to be engaged, to help find solutions for the problems that face our country," said Sanders, who sits on the Senate education committee. "That’s what democracy is all about.”

In 250 to 500 words,  students should describe what they believe are the most pressing issues facing the United States and what solutions they'd propose. Essays can be submitted through an online form on Senator Sanders' website. The deadline to enter is Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

Senator Bernie Sanders with last year's second place winner Musa Muyange of Winooski High School
  • Senator Bernie Sanders with last year's second place winner Musa Muyange of Winooski High School
A panel of local educators will choose a winner, based on the students' ideas and arguments, not their political views. Twenty finalists will be invited to participate in a roundtable discussion with Senator Sanders at the Vermont Statehouse in February and have their essays entered into the Congressional Record, the official archive of the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

In August, Senator Sanders released Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution, a young-adult counterpart to his book Our Revolution. In it, he characterizes America's young people as "the smartest, most idealistic and least prejudiced generation in the modern history of the United States."

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Congratulations to our November Coloring Contest Winners!

Posted By on Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 10:15 AM

Seven-year-old Arabella’s “Happy Ducks” embodies the sparkling spirit of this month’s spectacular art submissions. Her feathered friends are decorated with rainbow wings, bright gold bodies, and glossy red and blue stars. Hayden, 10, created a yellow bird with a rainbow-colored baby, against a wide, blue lake and starry sky. Five-year-old Patty decked out her duck in a top hat and bright orange and red plumage. Keep up the creative coloring, kids, and mail us your imaginative masterpieces in December and January.

The winners of an annual family memberships to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium are…

“Land of the Giant Birds”
Ella Daly, 5, Essex Junction
"Land of the Giant Birds"
  • "Land of the Giant Birds"

“Creative Critters”
Elise Cournoyer, 8, Richmond
"Creative Critters"
  • "Creative Critters"

“Always Together”
Ellie Samora, 9, Lunenburg

"Always Together"
  • "Always Together"

Find our latest coloring contest in the "Just for Kids" section of our November issue! Deadline to enter is January 15.

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Congratulations to our November Writing Contest Winners!

Posted By on Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 10:06 AM

In last month’s issue, we asked kids to write about their perfect Thanksgiving meal. Below, find the winning entries. Max and Eliana each receive a $25 gift certificate to Crow Bookshop in Burlington.

Max Clegg, 8, Bolton
Thank You Thanksgiving
I smell the sweet smell of Thanksgiving turkey, potato, cranberries, stuffing and apple pie with whipped cream. I wait in line, getting hungrier and hungrier. Finally, it’s my turn so I stuff my plate with turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing and Craisins with apple pie. Then I sit down and eat. I savor every delicious bite. After that, I decided that I LOVE THANKSGIVING.

Eliana Mina, 3, Burlington
The table would have lots of treats so that I can eat them after. Dumplings, cauliflower, some eggplants, juice, lemonade, milk, strawberries and turkey. Doda and Sharp Tooth* are going to be there. They’ll be there in three minutes because they live far awat from us.
*Note from Eliana’s mama: Doda and Sharp Tooth are Eliana’s imaginary friends.

Find our latest writing prompt in the "Just for Kids" section of our November issue! Deadline to enter is January 15.

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Stern Center for Language and Learning

Stern Center for Language and Learning

Williston, VT

We offer a variety of services to meet our learners’ educational and social needs. From academic instruction to social communication groups to speech and language support, our highly trained and qualified staff helps your child sharpen skills while building confidence to thrive in school and in the world. Working with…(more)

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