April 1 - April 30, 2020

Peter Bergstrom

Upper Valley Climate Action 2020

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 536 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    with people
  • up to
    spent learning
  • up to
    spent outdoors

Peter's Actions


Document roadside trees in my village, make slide show

I was hoping to document spring wildflowers, but the areas that have them are all closed. Instead, I Have been taking photos of roadside trees in my village and putting them in a slide show, so others can learn about them.


Action Track: Building Resilience

Earth Day Art Project

Complete an art project using found objects, waste and other materials you have at home. Share what you create on the Virtual Earth Day Art Show at AVA Gallery.

One-Time Action


Learn the Truth About Expiration Dates

I will spend at least 15 minutes learning how to differentiate between sell by, use by, and best by dates.

One-Time Action


Leave No Trace

I will respect and protect biotic communities by practicing the seven principles of Leave No Trace when doing nature activities alone or with family and friends.



Explore My Area

I will explore at least one new hiking trail or nature walk in my area while following CDC guidelines for social distancing.

One-Time Action

Action Track: Building Resilience

Connect While Social Distancing

I will connect with at least 1 person/people a day through phone call or video chat to support mine and other’s mental and emotional health during this challenging time.



Document spring bird migration

Create a bird list for a local birding hotspot at least twice a week, and report it on eBird. Visit hotspots within 10 miles of home to minimize driving. Visit at least 1 new hotspot during April.


Action Track: Building Resilience

Watch a Documentary about Food Sovereignty

I will watch 2 documentary(ies) about food sovereignty: the right of local peoples to control their own food systems including markets, ecological resources, food cultures and production methods.

One-Time Action

Action Track: Building Resilience

#onethingforearth Photo & Video Challenge

The purpose of the challenge is for people to record a short video or take photos of themselves doing one thing that is good for the earth, then in the video, challenge their family, friends and others to do their own video. People who accept the challenge should post the videos on any or all of their social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter) and use the hashtag #OneThing4Earth and tag NHDES (@NHDES for Twitter; @NHenvironmentalservices for Facebook and Instagram) The worldwide response to the coronavirus pandemic is and should be all of our priorities. NHDES hopes that a social media-based video challenge, like the #OneThing4Earth, will provide people practicing social distancing with a way to recognize the importance of Earth Day. You do not have to be challenged to participate, but remember in your video to challenge your friends, family, coworkers and others to join in. This challenge was created by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES).

One-Time Action


  • Peter Bergstrom 4/30/2020 8:58 AM
    Note--if you're not already using iNaturalist to record your observations of flora & fauna, I highly recommend it. I just discovered that it has state guides such as this one for VT trees, showing all the locations where each species has been reported in VT. https://www.inaturalist.org/guides/313
    2019-06-06_2019-06-06_larch branch 2.jpeg 4.91 MB
    When you see a tree and want to check its ID, you can look here to see if others have reported what you think it might be nearby. Note that unless an observation in "Research grade" the ID has not been confirmed by 2 reviewers yet, and anything that appears to be planted probably will not be reviewed (the app is mostly for naturally occurring species). This larch from my yard was planted.

    • Peter Bergstrom 4/30/2020 2:16 PM
      Lyn, I hope you find the iNaturalist app useful. People in cities used it last weekend in a “City Nature Challenge” to see which city can submit the most plant and animal  IDs. San Francisco is the US leader.  https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020

    • Evelyn (lyn) Swett 4/30/2020 12:15 PM
      Peter - - Thank you for inspiring me in so many ways. I just downloaded the iNaturalist app and am excited to use it. I have a terrible time identifying plants and am trying to create an inventory of what we actually have on our less than two acres in Hanover. So cool that there are state guides on iNaturalist as well. Can't wait to explore the tool and the local area more closely. 

  • Peter Bergstrom 4/30/2020 8:25 AM
    Through my slide show about local trees, I inspired someone in Springfield, and someone in Westminster, to work on putting tree ID signs along local trails. http://www.vosssigns.com/products/stock/tree-identification/ I'll probably help both of them with tree ID and choosing which trees to label. This sign went on a tree along a trail in Maryland, where I used to live, for a species that's rare in Vermont but common there. I'm also hoping to present the slide show as part of a museum webinar series, and have it available online.
    Tulip tree sign.JPG 1.17 MB

    • Evelyn (lyn) Swett 4/30/2020 12:21 PM
      Peter - - It is an interesting issue, this idea of identifying things. It's so satisfying to know somethings name, just as it is pleasing to remember a person's name when you run into them in a random place. That said, I sometimes feel as if I spend more time worrying about the name and less time paying attention to the plant itself and appreciating it for what it is. It's like going to an art museum and saying "oh look, there's a Van Gogh, a Rembrandt, a Hopper, etc" and not noticing the details of the colors or composition. Is it about seeing and being seen, or something deeper? I don't have an answer, but I know that I am happier being oblivious when in the woods, so I can pay attention to smells and sights and the feel of things, and being more conscious when in a domesticated space, where I am curious about names and relationships between plants. That may of course be because I'm more of a flower/veg/grasses person than I am a tree person. Nonetheless, my work with permaculture has inspired curiosity about fruit tree and other guilds. So much to think about. Anyway, thank you again for your commitment during this ecochallenge and for sharing what you learned with others and, in the process, inspiring others to do more as well. Yay!!

  • Peter Bergstrom 4/29/2020 12:09 PM
    On my weekly birding trip to the Bellows Falls Riverfront Park today, I saw a double-crested cormorant and got this photo, a bit out of focus but you can see the orange throat patch. This was only the 2nd time this species has been recorded there; first was when I saw one sitting on the same rock last July. I've reported 75 of the 351 checklists from this birding hotspot, or over 20% of the total. I'd rather keep going to the same nearby spot for birding, and get to know it well, vs. driving all over the place. I've seen 63 of the 87 species reported there, and 9 of the last 11 new species reported there.
    Cormorant BFRP 4-29-20 b.JPG 3.07 MB

  • Peter Bergstrom 4/27/2020 12:01 PM
    Today I discovered that what had been the state champion American elm, just north of where I live in Saxtons River, died last summer.  So sad!! That leaves this much smaller American elm, just over half its size, as possibly the largest elm in our town. You can check the VT or NH state "big tree" lists to see if there are any state champion trees in or near your town, and you could share photos of them here. https://fpr.vermont.gov/forest/vermonts-forests/vermont-big-trees

    Elms from Roadside trees in Saxtons River V3_Page_1.jpg 168.57 KB

  • Peter Bergstrom 4/26/2020 6:24 PM
    Yesterday I explored a new road near my house for the first time. It's being built to construct a new cell tower on the ridge above my house. I'm not a big fan of new roads being carved out of the woods, but at least this one will provide a good hiking trail, once the construction is done.
    Hartley Hill new road 4-25-20.jpg 504.88 KB

  • Peter Bergstrom 4/22/2020 9:03 AM
    Happy Earth Day! 
    50 years ago I was in high school and marched in a parade with a black arm band. A local nature museum had a clean & a dirty aquarium to teach about water pollution. I worked in the environmental field for over 30 years, and I'm especially proud of the work I did on restoring underwater grasses in Chesapeake Bay (also called SAV or Submerged Aquatic Vegetation). The best planting success of the small projects I supervised was in a small creek at the mouth of the Patapsco River near Baltimore. We planted small plots of grasses there from 1999-2003, and the graph shows a huge increase in the area of SAV in 2004, with fluctuating but steady levels since then, and no additional planting. The photo shows me kayaking over one of the beds we planted, in 2008 on a monitoring visit.

  • Peter Bergstrom 4/22/2020 5:25 AM
    I added another conifer to my tree slide show, red cedar. I had walked past this tree for years and never looked at it closely!  I decided the slide show was “finished” enough to share with some other local tree lovers for comments, and it inspired one of them to start a similar slide show of trees in her town! Happy Earth Day!
    52471184-38FB-46BC-8A67-CA84F63ABD1F.jpeg 209.1 KB

  • Peter Bergstrom 4/19/2020 6:48 PM
    I’m puzzling over telling whether an elm is American or Slippery elm. Their seeds look different but I could not find any today. Tomorrow I’ll bring my zoom camera and a tripod to try to get close-ups of the flowers, which are out now. Attached is a photo of the larger elm I found, probably American.
    E40F6AC7-3840-42D7-8A1C-F6C8809A1C96.jpeg 7.81 MB

    • Peter Bergstrom 4/21/2020 10:27 AM
      No need for photos of flowers, a state forester who lives nearby looked at all 3 of the elms I found and said all were American. He said he only sees slippery elms in the woods. This elm has a circumference of 129”, much less than the 210” of the state champion, also in Saxtons River.

  • Peter Bergstrom 4/17/2020 7:25 AM
    I'm still working on a slide show of the more common roadside trees in my village. I found a new species to include the other day, red pine, with long needles in pairs. This weekend I hope to walk the village with a local forester to review the trees and learn from him, walking on opposite sides of the street. I hope to share a draft next week for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
    Red pine--Roadside trees in Saxtons River.jpg 411.62 KB

  • Peter Bergstrom 4/13/2020 3:15 PM
    I created an action to document spring wildflowers but the areas I know that have them are both closed. So I started working on a new action to make a slide show of the more common roadside trees n my village, Saxtons River. I had some photos already and I’ve taken quite a few more, and learned some new tree species and how to ID them.  The photos show a black cherry in our cemetery that I had not noticed before; its characteristic bark is described as “burnt cornflakes,” like a casserole topping left in the oven too long.