Heather Anne Caulfield of Hinesburg, Vermont, is the winner of the 2011 Ralph Nading Hill, Jr. literary prize awarded annually by Green Mountain Power and Vermont Life magazine.Caulfield’s winning story, titled “Fetching Lambs,” describes a teenager on a Vermont family farm leading the sheep into the shed for the night. As she walks in the frosty darkness, her path illuminated by her flashlight, starlight, moonlight and the glow through the window of the distant farmhouse, she thinks about the family’s life on the farm through the seasons.Mary Hegarty Nowlan, editor of Vermont Life, commented that the judges were taken by the strong sense of place that came through in Ms. Caulfield’s writing. “We were impressed with her ability to perfectly capture a scene and evoke a feeling that is familiar to anyone who has spent some time on a farm in Vermont. Her unadorned, precise prose made her story an absolute pleasure to read.”Caulfield, 29, grew up in Putney and Dummerston, and worked at her family’s farm stand after school. She graduated from UVM’s Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources, and the SIT Graduate Institute. She has taught English as a Second Language in Mongolia. Caulfield is currently the administrative coordinator at VHB in North Ferrisburgh, an engineering and environmental consulting firm.Caulfield said: “I began writing fiction in my early teens, but poetry became my first love by the time I left for college. I’ve written about the ordinary moments such as neighbors, car trouble and gulls in a field, as well as life’s deepest moments, such as the death of my father and the sale of our family farm.” Caulfield describes her winning story as “creative non-fiction. I was trying to recapture a memory from my early teens and I found myself reimagining certain details I couldn’t recall. Although I set the story in early winter, the actual event most likely occurred in during spring lambing.”Ms. Caulfield will receive a $1,500 prize for the short story. The award is named for the late Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., a Vermont historian and writer and long-time member of Green Mountain Power’s Board of Directors. It is considered by Vermont writers to be one of the state’s premier literary prizes.The selection was made by an independent panel of judges: Mary Hegarty Nowlan, editor of Vermont Life; Tom Slayton, past editor of Vermont Life; Tony Marro, retired executive editor of Newsday; Alison Freeland, a 1994 winner of the Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., award; Brian Vachon, retired vice president of communications at National Life of Vermont and a former Vermont Life editor; and Steve Terry, retired Green Mountain Power senior executive.”Fetching Lambs” is available on the Vermont Life website, www.vermontlife.com(link is external), and will also be included in Vermont Life’s September newsletter.The deadline for this year’s Ralph Nading Hill, Jr. Literary Prize is November 15, 2011. The contest, now in its 22nd year, is open to all Vermont residents, including seasonal residents and students enrolled in Vermont colleges. Entrants may be amateur or professional writers. Submission may include essays, short stories and poetry that focus on “Vermont — Its People, the Place, Its History or Its Values.” Entries must be unpublished and less than 1,500 words long. Employees of Vermont Life or Green Mountain Power and previous winners are ineligible. Send entries to the Corporate Relations Department of Green Mountain Power, 163 Acorn Lane, Colchester, VT 05446.
Calf of critically endangered whale born + 87-acre tract of land conserved in NC after 20 years of effort
This marathon runner has a training partner that turns headsSarah Hites and Penny the goat Photo from Runnersworld.comSarah Hites of Tuttle, Oklahoma sets out for her runs with an unusual running buddy named Penny, a 1.5-year-old Nigerian Dwarf goat. Hites told Runners World that she adopted the goat when it was just a baby because her daughter wanted to make goat lotion, milk, and soap. It wasn’t until later that they realized the goat had to be mated in order to do that, so she just became a pet. One day while Hites was starting her run she noticed Penny chasing after her. It happened a few more times before Hites let the goat come along on the run. Hites reports that Penny can make it about 4 miles before she starts “huffing and puffing,” at which point Hites sends Penny back to the house on her own. The runs are clearly good for both Hites and Penny, but they bring a lot of joy to other people too. “People slow down a lot when they see us,” said Hites. “They’ll wave or laugh or give a thumbs up.” Second right whale calf of the year spotted off the coast of FloridaA critically endangered North Atlantic right whale calf and its mother have been spotted off of the coast of Florida. The sighting marks the second confirmed newborn of the winter birthing season. Scientists, researchers, and conservationists were hoping that right whales would be born this year after there were zero documented births last year. The estimated population of the right whale is only 411. The natural lifespan of a North Atlantic right whale is longer than 30 years but they can and often do die earlier when struck by ships or wrapped in fishing rope. Researchers have linked the decline in birth rate to female whales exhausting their energy while swimming entangled in fishing rope. Animal conservationists also warn that pending seismic tests along the east coast could have a devastating effect on the right whale. After 20 years of effort, 87-acre tract of land conserved in Madison County, NCThe town of Mars Hill, NC has purchased an 87-acre tract of land on 3,500-foot Bailey Mountain. The property will be added to a 197-acre tract on the southern slope of the mountain to create a public park. Protection for Bailey Mountain became a priority in the 90’s as housing developments began popping up in Madison County and around Western North Carolina. Hoping to protect the iconic peak, the Richard L. Hoffman Foundation bought the initial 197-acre tract of land in 1996. The newly purchased 87-acre tract borders the originally protected tract of land. The town of Mars Hill is now working on a recreation plan. Due to the cold winter weather, any grand opening celebration for Bailey Mountain Park will be scheduled sometime in the summer.