The 251 Club: A Species in Every Town

I drive around the state for work, and I like to take the back roads and see different places -- and I've always wanted to join the 251 Club (www.vt251.com). It was founded in 1954 to encourage Vermonters to get to know their state. The goal is to visit all the towns in the state. Doesn't that sound like more fun than just looking at them on the map, or scratching your head and saying, "where is Goshen, anyway?" There are plenty of towns I've only driven through, and I don't know, or remember, much about them. It takes an experience for it to stick. I do remember exactly where on the Stannard Mountain Road I stopped and found an unfamiliar wildflower, and where in Glover a raven flew overhead carrying a large stick for its nest. Those things make life interesting. So I'm going to join the 251 Club (dues are affordable), with the goal of posting several species from each town to the Atlas as I go. I won't commit myself to a number, but enough so I get to leave the highway, go for a walk, and enjoy the place.

Susan Sawyer

Posted by kpmcfarland kpmcfarland, 20 March, 2013 15:48

Comments

I wonder if we can get all of the towns uploaded to iNat so it's easier to see how many we have visited! There is a layer on VCGI. Maybe they can even use them on the maps if we zoom in past a county, but not sure how hard it would be for Ken-Ichi to implement and if he has time.

Posted by charlie almost 10 years ago (Flag)

We used a state bounds coverage from VCGI to better define Vermont in the iNaturalist database. Adding towns would be cool to have for sure. In fact, so much is done in Vermont at town level, it would be great to have this feature for town conservation commissions and others too. For now, if folks want to be in the 251 club, when you have documented at least one species in every town, let me know and I will start a wall of fame online. It will be some feat for sure!

Posted by kpmcfarland almost 10 years ago (Flag)

That could take me a while. I'm never in the southern part!

Posted by charlie almost 10 years ago (Flag)

What a cool idea -- catharus, I wish you good luck, good food and good folks along the way.

Posted by muir almost 10 years ago (Flag)

oh, Kyle just passed me in number of species... oh no!

Posted by charlie almost 10 years ago (Flag)

Yeah, you need to get on it Charlie! Kyle as king? Scary.

Posted by kpmcfarland almost 10 years ago (Flag)

Can I add California species observed in California to the project?

Posted by charlie almost 10 years ago (Flag)

oh, and an actual question, what about planted species. Not to pad species lists, but just as a general question. I have mixed feelings - on the one hand, if tagged as planted they are useful info in knowing what can occur here and what could potentially naturalize... but on the other hand they can clutter up the map and are hard to differentiate from native species on larger scale maps. I don't have a strong opinion either way but I think it will come up at some point. Any thoughts?

Posted by charlie almost 10 years ago (Flag)

Careful guys, the King (with a Kapital K) is monitoring this conversation.

Posted by kylejones almost 10 years ago (Flag)

Elvis?

Posted by charlie almost 10 years ago (Flag)

:-)

Posted by kylejones almost 10 years ago (Flag)

I'd rather not see this project fill up with plants that were known to be planted. An arboretum full of trees is neat to see and use to learn, but not the intent here. However, I do think we should put in plantations and anything we thing is naturalizing (producing offspring) since being planted. Plantations on the landscape are good to know. Things like Red Pine plantation and whatnot.

Posted by kpmcfarland almost 10 years ago (Flag)

Makes sense. I was thinking today that a project to track where planted things are able to grow might be interesting in a way, but is a whole different focus and aim. It would be fun if someone started a project to track which varieties of garden vegetables did well in different places, when they matured, etc, but I agree beyond the scope of this project. Also there'd have to be a way to add veggie varieties to the database which I'm not sure Ken-Ichi wants right now.

I do have at least one planted tree in the project now, but it is a Pin Oak in an area they may or may not possibly exist naturally. It's debatable... there are rumors that somewhere in the greater Burlington area are a few native Pin oaks. I hope someone finds them!

Posted by charlie almost 10 years ago (Flag)

Just found this! and though I haven't yet gotten my official membership in the 251 Club, I've started my project. I've checked off Woodbury (hometown) and added ten observations for Montpelier. The poison ivy was spectacular! 249 to go.

Posted by susan3 almost 10 years ago (Flag)

Hey Kyle, I just noticed I am ahead of you again, and I haven't added many Vermont species to my life list in the last couple of weeks (probably about 50 species, but all in California). Did you remove some observations?

Posted by charlie almost 10 years ago (Flag)

This is weird. Pretty sure my total just dropped about 20 or 30 species this morning without any help from me.
Hey, wait a minute, did you meet up with Ken-Ichi while you were out there and grease his palm?
I have no idea what happened. I knew you would get back in the lead, but this bears investigation (not of you--of my records).
Kent, if you are reading this, can you help?

PS I will be out of VT for a while at the end of April. Here's your chance!

Posted by kylejones almost 10 years ago (Flag)

muahahahahahaha...

All I can think of is maybe it is somehow responding to my new species I recorded in CA, via a bug or something. i certainly did not add them to VAL (and it wouldn't let me anyway)...

weird.

Posted by charlie almost 10 years ago (Flag)

No, it is definitely my total that dropped, not your's increasing. Yet.

Posted by kylejones almost 10 years ago (Flag)

the spring ephemerals are coming, though :)

Posted by charlie almost 10 years ago (Flag)

Yep, I'm preparing for a thorough whuping.

Posted by kylejones almost 10 years ago (Flag)

I just dumped all my sightings back into VAL. We'll see if they stick.

Posted by kylejones almost 10 years ago (Flag)

I will have to run my macro again that I have nicknamed "Operation Charlie".

Posted by kpmcfarland almost 10 years ago (Flag)

I decided to kick of a 251 town survey for eBird, after consulting with Kent McFarland at VCE. During 2012 I managed to survey 94 towns, including Buehl's Gore and Warrens Gore. I had tried to reach Warner's Grant from Warren's, but couldn't get a read on where the boundary lay. I've been 'skunked' or 'dipped' by 3 towns, where I recorded zero bird observations, so they'll be revisited in 2013. My surveys have logged 139 species of birds, according to Vermont eBird.

Posted by bheitzman almost 10 years ago (Flag)

Neat!

Posted by charlie almost 10 years ago (Flag)

Wow Bob. Wicked good effort in year one! You are on the way to being the first!

Posted by kpmcfarland almost 10 years ago (Flag)

By the way, as folks are out 'naturalizing' around the state, please keep an eye out for native orchid species. They've been one of my passions for years, and I would like to eventually see all of the 47 species native to Vermont. Thanks!

Posted by bheitzman almost 10 years ago (Flag)

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