Dead Creek teems with life on annual Wildlife Day

By MICHAEL FRANK

MICHAEL FRANK
From face painting to scientific workshops, Saturday’s Dead Creek Wildlife Day catered to audiences of all ages.

ADDISON— Much of Vermont’s most beautiful fauna are seldom seen in the wild. This is one of the motives behind Dead Creek Wildlife Day, an annual event that the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department hosted last Saturday, Oct. 5 in association with Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreations, and the Otter Creek Audubon Society. The Department of Fish & Wildlife has hosted the event for more than 20 years.

From morning into the early evening, the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) headquarters on Route 17 was home to an array of outdoor events, giving Vermonters a chance to discover and explore their state’s diverse wildlife.

“This is one of our favorite times of the year,” said Nicole Meier, information and education specialist for Vermont Fish & Wildlife.

At 7:30 a.m., early risers got a chance to witness a bird banding demonstration, and had a specialist walk them through the ins and outs of the process. Vermont Fish & Wildlife bands both owls and songbirds for tracking and research purposes.

For the rest of the day, two large tents by the Dead Creek WMA headquarters hosted an array of activities for all ages.

“We have things for pretty much everyone,” Meier said. “We have facepainting and we have the kids make bluebird boxes and duck decoys. But we also do have scientific workshops and hands-on activities for adults.”

COURTESY PHOTO
Visitors had the chance to see wild animals—like this owl—up close on Dead Creek Wildlife Day, as they were carefully handled by wildlife experts.

This year, a native Vermont bear biologist gave a presentation on how to be a good neighbor to the native black bear population.  At the third annual waterfowl-calling contest, put on by event partner Delta Waterfowl, kids competed for prizes with their best goose and duck calls.

The organizers were also excited to welcome back Chief Don Stevens of the Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe to this year’s celebration. At this Dead Creek Wildlife Day, Chief Stevens presented the story of how the Abenaki people were created, along with other pieces of local oral tellings. The story has been told throughout Abenaki history.

Apart from each fall’s Wildlife Day, which takes place the first Saturday of each October, Vermont Fish & Wildlife also puts on a Herricks Cove Wildlife Festival on the first Sunday of every May. Herrick said that event is the “spring kickoff” to all the department’s events.

Meier spoke of her excitement for the opportunity to engage with the community through the event.  

“I think the most important part is just being out there and being available to the public,” Meier said. She stressed that the Vermont Fish & Wildlife staff were at Saturday’s event to answer questions and facilitate discussion. Generally, they hoped to be approachable to attendees.

“I feel like people leave with a great appreciation for living in Vermont, especially in the fall.” Meier said. “It’s something about the changing of the season that helps people appreciate what is around them, and I think this is a great event for making them do that.”

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