Fall Guided Quest: Trees of Dartmouth Quest

 

Join Vital Communities’ Valley Quest Coordinator Beth Roy on a guided treasure hunt of the trees of Dartmouth. Celebrate fall as we discover many exotic trees around the Dartmouth College Campus and learn about their natural history along with some of the College’s history. This is a great opportunity to complete one of the Quests for the 2019 Super Quest and finish the Questing season with an adventure! This guided Quest is appropriate for families and adults, all are welcome.

Date: Saturday, October 26

Time: 10 am – 12 pm

Location: Meet at the information booth in Hanover on the Dartmouth College Green on College Street

Please register. The event is free but space is limited.

http://bit.ly/2ourQKI

A New Quest to Celebrate the Mascoma River Greenway!

Have you been on the Mascoma River Greenway yet? If not, it is time to check it out. I had a fantastic time follwing the new Quest of the Mascoma River Greenway. I took my bike and had a lovely time pedaling the Greenway. I learned about local history as well as enjoying views of the Mascoma River. The Greenway is not just a great place for a little exercise. You could use it to commute from the center of Lebanon to businesses along 12A. Next time you have an errand to run, try jumping on your bike instead of in the car!

I want to thank Frank Gould who created this Quest. He is a longtime volunteer with the Mascoma River Greenway and created a Quest that is engaging and certain to bring more people out to the Mascoma River Greenway. Thank you Frank!

 

A New Quest in Pomfret, Vermont

Earlier this summer I had the fortune of working with the amazing staff of the Artistree Community Arts Center in Pomfret, Vermont on offering a Questing Camp. Over the week the campers learned about the different historical aspects of the buildings that make up the Center’s campus as well as several buildings in the center of Pomfret. The campers designed maps, learned to carve stamps and, designed the route and fantastic clues that will lead you around the beautiful property of Artistree. Checkout the latest Quest to hit the Upper Valley and discover a new favorite spot.

New Brownsville VT Quest

I’m happy to announce that we have a new Quest! With the help of Mr. Butler’s 3rd & 4th grade class at the Albert Bridge School, there is a new Quest in Brownsville, VT. The Daniel Cady Quest takes you from the Albert Bridge School up to Daniel Cady’s mausoleum. Cady was a poet who dedicated many of his works to describe life in Vermont. When he died in 1934, he had already made arrangements for his casket to rest in the mausoleum at the top of the hill. Originally, the mausoleum would have looked out at the top of Ascutney, but many trees grew in and the view isn’t as clear.

“Cady tree”

The Albert Bridge students learned about the life of Daniel Cady with the help of the Brownsville Historical Society and then completed their teaching clues. We took the kids up to the mausoleum and then helped them create their movement clues. After putting the two parts together, we went back to the school to test their new Quest!

When we got to the mausoleum, we stumbled upon a filmmaker with Vermont novelist, Joseph Citro. Specifically, Citro works with ghost stories in New England — how fitting to find him by the mausoleum!

Looking into the mausoleum

This was quite lucky for us, as he had the key to open the mausoleum. He was able to take the lock off of the main wooden door. There were still bars that prevented us from entering, but we were able to look inside the mausoleum and see his casket. This was an amazing addition to what we thought would be a relatively straight forward Quest check. We hid the box for Questers to find and headed back down.

This new Brownsville Quest is live! Be sure to give it a try. If you’re in Brownsville, check out The Quest for the Kestrel, a Quest on the Super Quest list in the area. If you haven’t signed up for the Super Quest you can find out more information and register your team here

Interested in adopting this box and becoming a box monitor? Check out this page for more information on volunteering for this box or any other boxes without monitors!

Additional thanks go out to Alice Stewart and Rise VT for their generous support of this project!

Intern with Valley Quest!

Are you passionate about the Upper Valley? Do you feel motivated to share our region’s special places with the community at large? Love working with people of all ages? Vital Communities is looking for a summer Valley Quest Intern to help with program outreach, community tours, Quest maintenance, and website improvements. The position offers a mix of office-based and field-based work, with flexible scheduling. Candidates must have transportation and some weekend availability. Small stipend available. Learn more in this job description, and send resume and cover letter to Valley Quest Coordinator, lauren@vitalcommunities.org, for consideration.

 

Thank you, Ben!

This summer we had the privilege of working with Ben Fletcher, pictured second from left. Ben brought an incredibly well suited array of skills to Vital Communities and was a boon to the Valley Quest program. With a degree from the University of Santa Cruz and intern experience from the Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences, Ben quickly became an integral member of the Valley Quest team, applying his interest in ecology and knack for creative thinking right off the bat. He is responsible for getting all 170 Valley Quests live on our website, our new color-coded online Valley Quest map, a slew of Quest updates, brilliantly organized events like the History Tour of White River Junction and the Valley Quest Hawk Walk, as well as a couple new important partnerships for the program…just to name a few!

We are so grateful for the skills and energy that Ben brought, not only for his impact this summer, but for the lasting influence his work has had on Valley Quest—we’re delighted to build off of all the momentum he carried in with him.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Ben! We wish you the absolute best going forward and hope you’ll swing in for a visit next time you’re in town!

Subbasin Spotlight!

This year’s Aquatic Adventure Super Quest showcases the 5 subbasins that make up the Upper Connecticut River Valley, or, more fondly, the Upper Valley. A subbasin is a term used to describe a watershed within a watershed. While a watershed drains to a major river, a subbasin drains to a tributary of that major river. So in our case, the basin that drains to the Connecticut River, and stretches from Canada to the Long Island Sound, is the Connecticut River Watershed, and the Upper Valley subbasins are the mini-watersheds within it. All but one span both Vermont and New Hampshire sides of the Connecticut river, and all ultimately drain to it.

WHAT IS A WATERSHED

These subbasins are named by the rivers that anchor them. Just as all water in the Connecticut River watershed drains to the Connecticut River, all water that falls in a particular subbasin drains to its namesake river(s). Going from North to South we have the following 5 subbasins in our region:

  1. The Wells: Vermont’s Wells River both starts and ends in its own subbasin. Here you’ll also find New Hampshire’s Ammonousuc River, which flows to the Connecticut River all the way from its headwaters in the “Lakes of the Clouds” on the western slopes of Mt. Washington.
  2. The Waits: This subbasin is home to two 25-mile long rivers: The Waits and Ompompanoosuc, both in Vermont. Here you’ll also find Lake Fairlee–a natural lake, it was enlarged by damming a tributary to the Ompompanoosuc in 1939. Towns in this subbasin include Bradford, Strafford, Thetford, Orford…sense a theme? The suffix “ford” in a town name refers to the presence of shallow stream crossings, of which these towns certainly have many!
  3. The White: The White River begins near the crest of Vermont’s Green Mountains and flows 60 miles before it greets the Connecticut River in the aptly named White River Junction. The three branches of this river host an array of sparkling swimming holes and rock formations as they wind through especially hilly terrain. This subbasin connects the quaint towns of Sharon, Royalton, Bethel, Randolph, and many more. This is our only single-state subbasin, and calls Vermont its home.
  4. The Mascoma-Black-Ottauquechee: This massive subbasin is host to five large Connecticut River tributaries: The Mascoma (New Hampshire), Sugar (New Hampshire), Ottauquechee (Vermont), Black (Vermont), and Williams (Vermont) Rivers. The New Hampshire side boasts the highest concentration of lakes in the region, including the largest, Lake Sunapee, where Sugar River gets its start. Towards the southern edge of this subbasin, visit the Williams River’s inlet-strewn Herrick’s Cove for countless bird species and great paddling.
  5. The West: While the 53-mile West River (Vermont) anchors this subbasin, it flows farther South than the Upper Valley. The shorter, more northerly Saxton’s River (Vermont), however, flows through the towns of Grafton, Rockingham, and Westminster, and is dotted with waterfalls, sandy beaches, and deep pools. Steep, narrow gorges and unique outcroppings of bedrock add dimension to the hills in this subbasin.

If you haven’t yet, get your copy of the Aquatic Adventure Super Quest to start exploring the variations between these beautiful, fascinating subbasins today! You can print your own here (11×17 paper), pick up a copy at the Vital Communities office (195 North Main St, White River Junction), or find one at your local library. Then, register your team (pick a fun name!), and start discovering our region anew with our 10 featured Quests. Swimming holes, waterfalls, sun-soaked lakes, mill history, and babbling brooks will guide you through summer fun and learning—you’ve got ’til November 1! Victorious Super Quest teams all win commemorative patches and are entered to win our grand prize!

Happy Questing!

 

Thank you, Chris!!

Chris, back row, with Quest writing students at Sam's Overlook on the Unity Mountain Trail, Unity, NH

Chris, back row, with Quest writing students at Sam’s Overlook on the Unity Mountain Trail, Unity, NH

This spring we have had the great pleasure of working with Chris Jayne. A Hanover-native, Bowdoin College graduate who grew up Questing, Chris brought an aptitude, diligence, and familiarity to our place-based work that has been incredibly valuable. We’ve really lucked out!

Where to begin…he’s gone through every Quest in order to identify the top 50, has been instrumental in every step of this year’s Aquatic Adventure Super Quest (including devising the name!), assisted in a classroom Quest writing project in Unity, NH, and has updated a slew of Quests. He’s got a new Abenaki-themed Quest in the works, has done website and social media work, and has checked a whole bunch of Quest sites, too. We have so enjoyed his presence in the office, and are so grateful to have had Chris on our team these past months.

Chris joined us in February and wraps up today, but we look forward to keeping him on as a volunteer. Thank you for all your great work, Chris! Hat’s off!!

Join Valley Quest as a Summer Intern!

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Are you passionate about the Upper Valley? Do you feel motivated to share our region’s special places with the community at large? Love working with people of all ages? Vital Communities is looking for a summer Valley Quest Intern to help with program outreach, guided Quests, Quest maintenance, and website improvements. The position offers a mix of office-based and field-based work, with flexible scheduling. Candidates must have transportation. Small stipend available. Learn more in this job description, and send resume, cover letter, and writing sample to Valley Quest Program Manager, Lauren@VitalCommunities.org, for consideration.

Super Quest 2018 Aquatic Adventure: The Quests

The 2018 Aquatic Adventure Super Quest is live! This Valley Quest challenge is a tour de force of summer fun. Register your team today for this free guided exploration of Upper Valley swimming holes, waterfalls, streams, and mill town lore. The following 10 Quests highlight various water features, teaching all the way. They are open to the public from May 1-November 1. Download and print the clues from the links here, then collect a stamp impression from each Quest’s hidden box on your stamp sheet to complete the challenge!

  1. The Floodplain Quest, Haverhill, New Hampshire
  2. The Strafford Watershed Quest, Strafford, Vermont
  3. Union Village Quest, Thetford, Vermont
  4. Flat Rock Quest, Orford, New Hampshire
  5. Barnard Academy Forest Quest, Barnard, Vermont
  6. The Energy Quest at Boston Lot, West Lebanon, New Hampshire
  7. The Quest Where the River and Mill Combine, Lebanon, New Hampshire
  8. Beaver Brook Quest, Brownsville, Vermont
  9. Muckross Quest, Springfield, Vermont UPDATE (6/28/18): ONLY ACCESSIBLE ON WEEKENDS THROUGH MID-AUGUST. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS QUEST MONDAY-FRIDAY. There is a temporary active construction site blocking access to the Quest Monday-Friday. We have permission from the Park Manager to Quest on weekends, as the construction site is only active during the work week. Email Lauren@VitalCommunities.org if this is an issue: she has a back-up stamp in her office.
  10. Sunapee Harbor Quest, Sunapee, New Hampshire

Happy Questing!

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