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Letter to the Editor: An afternoon on the Bissonette Farm

I am a Middlebury College student, and though I get out a fair amount, I am glad for an excuse to head up to Hinesburg. Working with the Hinesburg Land Trust on the acquisition of the Bissonette Property, I have discovered this wonderful place where I can catch the afternoon sunshine on the now yellow beech leaves or chase Monarch Butterflies through the clover. While the Bissonette Farm is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon in October, my goals today are to learn about a unique aspect of the forest: the ecology and habitat requirements of the federally endangered Indiana Bat that roosts and breeds here in the summer. I meet up with wildlife biologist Kristen Brisee of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Service, who points out three trees where a female was raising a pup this summer. Characterized by a large forest patch surrounded by meadows and agricultural land, the Bissonette Farm provides a unique and important habitat for these bats. The attached wetlands also provide important foraging habitat for the bats, which can eat their weight in insects each night during pregnancy. The discovery of the presence of the Indiana Bat on the Bissonette Property allowed the state to receive a $500,000 grant to help acquire the land. Preserving the property will also expand recreational opportunities and protect the scenic rural landscape of Hinesburg. The Hinesburg Land Trust wants to hear your opinions and thoughts on the use and value of the Bissonette property. Please fill out a survey at the town hall, the library, or online. Please participate in the planning of your land and let us know what you think! Kristin Link

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