About Peggy Farabaugh

She is a CEO who brakes for salamanders, has bottle-fed rescued squirrels and spent her vacation building furniture for a rural school in Costa Rica. She believes in the future and in the people who will build it. A former distance-learning professor at Tulane University with a master’s in environmental health & safety, she turned an interest in forest conservation and endangered species into a growing, local business. She delivers rainforest statistics at breakneck speed, but knows how to slow down and appreciate the beauty of a newly finished piece of heirloom furniture.

Monarch Butterflies in Vermont

Click on the National Geographic video above to learn about the amazing 2000 mile annual migration of the Monarch butterfly. 

Vermonters over 10 years old will remember the colorful Monarch butterflies that used to grace our fields and backyards every summer and fall.  But unfortunately, many young children have never even seen a Monarch.  What a shame!  I remember when Kendall and Riley were in grammar school we used to bring their entire class to a field across from the school playground and every child would find a Monarch caterpillar to watch as it went through metamorphosis (the inset above shows Kendall with a Monarch that has just emerged from it’s chrysalis and is waiting for it’s wings to dry before it’s first flight).  That was only 10 years ago and now there’s nary a Monarch to be found in all of Vermont.

Could Vermont’s state butterfly be heading toward extinction?

Recently a legal petition was filed seeking Endangered Species Act protection for monarch butterflies.  “Monarchs are in a deadly free fall.  The 90 percent drop in the monarch’s population is a loss so staggering that in human-population terms it would be like losing every living person in the United States except those in Florida and Ohio” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Milkweed: The Monarch’s Elixir of Life

Plant Milkweed for the Monarchs
Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed and it is the only plant on which the butterflies will lay their eggs. But over the last several years, milkweed has been eradicated by the increased use of herbicides on genetically modified corn and soybean crops (GMO’s).  This is the only field of milkweed I could find in Vernon today.

“Fewer monarch butterflies are crossing North America to winter in Mexico, and the biggest culprit seems to be the disappearance of milkweed in the United States” according to Lindsay N Smith’s recent article in National Geographic.  “Although illegal deforestation and severe weather have contributed to the decline, research… suggests that the overwhelming concern is U.S. farms’ large-scale use of herbicides that destroy milkweed.”

It’s hard to believe that milkweed has nearly disappeared from Vermont’s landscape in just a few short years.   In the Green Mountain State, corn crops are everywhere and along the edges of those fields, we used to find lots of Monarch caterpillars feeding on milkweed.  Not anymore.  The Midwest has lost much of it’s milkweed too, as more land is being planted with (GMO) corn and soy to meet the world’s increasing demands for biofuels.

Monsanto and Round Up

The Monarch’s decline is being driven by the widespread use of genetically engineered crops that are made to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, a uniquely potent killer of milkweed, the monarch caterpillar’s only food. The dramatic surge in Roundup use with Roundup Ready crops has virtually wiped out milkweed plants in corn and soybean fields.

Sean, Douglas, Loryn and Michelle are preparing milkweed seeds to be donated to the seedbank at Monarch Watch.
Sean, Douglas, Loryn and Michelle are preparing milkweed seeds to be donated to the seedbank at Monarch Watch.

Plant Milkweed

Those of us who eat corn or soy (or any of the foods that contain them) can’t very well blame the farmers for milkweed’s eradication. So scientists, conservationists, and butterfly enthusiasts are encouraging road crews and property owners to grow the plant in their own yards, gardens and along roadsides.  Are you up for that?  If you need seeds, visit us at Stonehurst and we’ll give you as many as you’d like.  You can also contact the Monarch Watch Seed Bank where you can donate or request seeds.  Directions for planting milkweed seed can be found at LiveMonarch.com.  Vermonters can support Elizabeth Howard and her Journey North organization by reporting their sightings online.  Together and with a little help from Mother Nature we can bring back the Monarchs!

Let us know your thoughts on Facebook or in the comments section below.

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Lyndon Furniture is Best Seller at Stonehurst
Douglas Fletcher & Dennis Shanoff of Vermont Woods Studios and Christine Drown & Brian Ball of Lyndon Furniture.  These guys work incredibly hard to promote Vermont’s sustainable furniture economy.  Today they’re taking a lunch break at Brattleboro’s favorite eatery: the Whetstone Station.

Lyndon Furniture was one of our very first partners when we started Vermont Woods Studios as an online fine furniture store.  That was nearly 9 years ago and since then we’ve created a close partnership with Brian Ball, Dave Allard, Christine Drown and the whole Lyndon Furniture crew.

Truth is, I started Vermont Woods Studios out of a passion for forest and wildlife conservation.  I really didn’t know anything about furniture.  But Dave Allard, who owned Lyndon Furniture at the time, took us under his wing.  He too, had grown up loving Vermont’s woodlands and like me, he chose a line of work built around forest conservation.

Lyndon’s sustainable, handcrafted wood furniture fills a special niche in our new fine furniture gallery at Stonehurst.  Lyndon’s bedroom, dining, living room and home office furniture is known for it’s simple elegance and classic American shaker style.  It pairs beautifully with other elements of Vermont home decor including Simon Pearce glassware, Hubbardton Forge lighting and JK Adams wooden tableware.

Today we celebrated our strong partnership with Lyndon Furniture over a handcrafted harvest table full of locally grown food at Brattleboro’s Whetstone Station.  We are looking forward to the next 9 years of collaboration and success with our friends from Lyndon, Vermont!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS
Before your visit to VINS, check out their calendar of events so you can schedule a critter feeding or raptor show.

I’m not sure how summer slipped away so quickly, but there’s no getting around it… leaf peeping season is upon us!  Thousands of visitors will soon be motoring around the Green Mountain state enjoying the brilliant colors our maple trees are dressing up in.  If you’re one of those lucky leisure travelers be sure to add the Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences VINS in Quechee (near Woodstock) VT to your itinerary.

Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS. Helping nature stay  in balance.
In addition to live raptor shows, raptor habitats, nature trails and playgrounds, you’ll find many interesting exhibits like this one on helping nature stay in balance.

I started volunteering at VINS when Kendall and Riley were in the Vernon Elementary School, so over 15 years ago.  They had a wonderful program called ELF (Environmental Learning for the Future) where parents would come into their childrens’ classrooms and give hands-on training using various wildlife artifacts we managed to come up with.

Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS. Wendy runs the beautiful and interesting gift shop at Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS.
Wendy runs the beautiful and interesting gift shop at Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS.

Today the VINS mission is mainly focused on bird conservation: “motivating individuals and communities to care for the environment through education, research, and avian wildlife rehabilitation.”  It’s a “nonprofit, member-supported, environmental education, research and avian rehabilitation organization headquartered at the VINS Nature Center in Quechee, Vermont. Open year-round, the 47-acre campus, adjacent to Quechee State Park, features 17 state-of-the-art raptor enclosures, 4 exhibit spaces, 2 classrooms, and ¾ miles of interpretive nature trails. VINS places a priority on making high-quality, compelling, and fun environmental education programs and learning opportunities accessible to more people and communities.”

Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS. Helping nature stay  in balance. How big is an eagle's nest?
Ken and I visited VINS last weekend. For Ken it was a good excuse to get out on his Harley but he also found some cool trails to hike, including this one with a life-size replica of an eagle’s nest.

At Vermont Woods Studios we support VINS through their Adopt a Raptor, citizen science and other environmental programs.  If you’re interested in learning more about VINS, becoming a member or visiting their beautiful Nature Center in Quechee, VT check out their website today!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Boys twin bed donated to Make a Wish Vermont
Come bid on this Vermont made pencil post bed that we donated to Make a Wish Vermont. The auction is Saturday, September 20th at World Learning in Brattleboro, starting at 6pm with the Brattleboro Celebrity Waiter Dinner.

September is a big fundraising month for the Vermont chapter of Make A Wish and they’re hoping to get a little help from you.  “We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.”  What could be a better mission than that?  The Make a Wish website shows a couple recent wishes & dreams that have come true, locally:

  • Aaron, a 16-year-old boy suffering from cancer who always dreamed of going to Comic Con in New York City was flown there with his family.  They met celebrities at the show and attended Spiderman on Broadway
  • Lexi, a 15 year old girl, also suffering from cancer was flown to Spa Atlantis in the Bahamas to swim with the dolphins.  “We will always have the great memories and many pictures of the Bahamas, and when she goes back to the hospital next week, she will have all her stories and pictures to show the doctors. Lexi’s trip has re-energized her for what lies ahead.”

At Vermont Woods Studios we’re attending the annual Brattleboro Celebrity Waiter Dinner on September 20 and donating the pencil post bed shown above to the auction that night.  A few details about the dinner and auction:

Come and enjoy a gourmet meal at World Learning served by a team of “celebrity waiters”, including Steve “Corm” Cormier and Dave Manning, Jerry Goldberg and David Brown, Tom Nasiatka and Mary Linney, Gina Pattison and Karen Henry, Stephan Morse and Bob Woodworth, John Benouski and Steve Sweet, Diedre Baker and Laurie Blair, and Jane Baker and Kate O’Connor. Plus Corm will be Master of Ceremonies and co-host the auction. Saturday, September 20th at World Learning in Brattleboro. Beer and wine cash bar at 6pm; dinner served at 7pm. COST: $50 per person (cash or checks only). Proceeds from the dinner as well as any tips earned by the waiters will go toward granting the wishes of Vermont children with life-threatening illnesses. You will also have the opportunity to bid on gift certificates and other items to be auctioned off during the evening. For more info or to RSVP: contact Barb Harris @ 257-7803, e-mail: bharris115@yahoo.com

If you can’t make the dinner, there’s also the Wallace Golf Tournament at the Mount Snow Golf Course which takes place tomorrow, September 12 and the 2014 Walk for Wishes at the Shelburne Museum on Sunday, September 13.  We hope to see you at one of these fun events!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Sustainable, Organic Furniture from Vermont
At our Stonehurst home decor store, we’re lucky to be able to show Vermont’s sustainable furniture in a natural environment…  our showroom is in the middle of meadows & woodlands!

Vermont’s natural, sustainable furniture is simple and elegant.  It’s history hails back to the Shakers but today’s interior designers are re-discovering it, as modern green design trends continue to flourish. When it comes to bringing the outdoors in, what could be better than organic, real wood furniture?  How about…

Wildflowers at Stonehurst | Fine Furniture Store | Vermont
Here’s today’s view of Nina’s Stonehurst garden which customers love seeing from our showroom.  Trenton mowed a path through the meadow for anyone wanting to wander down and have a closer look.  Check out “Before Pictures” on Kelsey’s earlier post about planning the garden with  birds, bees and butterflies in mind.

Organic, Real Wood Furniture Embellished by Colorful Wildflowers

This Spring Nina designed and planted a wildflower garden in the backyard at Stonehurst, Vermont’s newest furniture & home decor store.  She and Dennis asked other staff members to tear themselves away from their computers now and then and help till, plant, weed and water (check out Kelsey’s story about how Nina chose flowers that would provide food and habitat for our birds, bees and butterflies).  Their efforts have really paid off as the garden is now in full bloom, providing beautiful floral arrangements for the showroom (as well as pollen & nectar for our friends in flight).

Rebecca Arranging Wildflowers at Stonehurst | Fine Furniture Store | Vermont
Rebecca’s arranging wildflowers for Stonehurst:  it’s a place to find both traditional & modern styles, organic & sustainable materials, honest craftsmanship and friendly people who are passionate about what they do.

We’ve had a lot of fun trying to integrate the sustainable furniture in our showroom with other elements of Vermont’s natural landscape this summer.  Being in the midst of a 100 acre woodland allows us to offer customers a real appreciation for where their furniture comes from.

If you’re interested in sustainability and looking to incorporate green products into your home decor, come and visit us at Stonehurst.  Any questions give us a call.  Oh yes… you certainly can bring a picnic lunch and a bottle of wine!

 

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.