BENNINGTON >> One World Conservation Center will kick off its annual "The Valley We Live In" lecture series on Jan. 14, and will continue for four weeks.
The five-part environmental series will explore modern issues regarding water sources and quality, uninhabited areas in the county, and characteristics of the landscape and local animal species.
The first lecture, "The Ghost Town of Glastenbury," will be presented by Jim Henderson of the Bennington County Regional Commission. Glastenbury, a disincorporated town with no local government, has a population of eight people, as reported in the 2010 census.
"He's (Henderson) done quite a lot of work on the history of it. He has some photos of what's left in Glastenbury," said Mary Fuqua, president of the Board of Directors for One World Conservation Center. "It's one of the most intriguing areas. Even though we've hiked up there a lot, we don't understand what the ruins mean."
Glastenbury is now mostly within the Green Mountain National Forest, but it used to be unforested grassland for sheep-herding over 100 years ago, according to Fuqua.
Henderson will also present on Jan. 21 "Managing Stormwater in our Watershed." Fuqua said most of the valley's (Bennington County) water supply stems from Glastenbury mountain and Henderson professionally works on stormwater issues.
On Jan. 28, Alyssa Bennett, a state biologist based in Rutland, will deliver a presentation on "Bats and White-Nose Syndrome." According to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, Vermont bats are endangered by White Nose Syndrome (WNS), which has caused 5.7 million deaths in the northeastern U.S. since 2006. Vermont is home to nine species of bat, and WNS has affected six of them. The disease is associated with a fungus that impacts the bat's skin and damages tissue when they're hibernating.
"We need to think about our water, woods, and bats because that's very much a current issue and we're lucky enough to have Alyssa speak," Fuqua said.
On Feb. 4, Executive Director of the Hoosac River Watershed Association, Steve McMahon will talk about "Our Rivers and Streams." Tributaries in Bennington run down into the Hoosac River and the association works to improve the water qualities.
On Feb. 11, Kerry Woods, Ecology and Evolution faculty member at Bennington College will conclude the series with "Our Post Agricultural Forests."
"There was a time, more than 100 years ago, when most of the hills were cleared and sheep grazed on them," Fuqua said. "Over the years, the forests are becoming mature and not exactly like before. Kerry is going to take a look at the characteristics of the forests today."
Each talk begins at 7 p.m. at One World Conservation Center located at 413 Route 7. The events are free and open to the public, however a voluntary contribution is recommended. The series is sponsored and made possible by the Bank of Bennington.
For more information on upcoming events, visit www.oneworldconservatoincenter.org.