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Author Jo Knowles Helps Artists Tell Stories At Vt.'s Center For Cartoon Studies

Fri, 14 May 2021 6:00am

Young-adult author Jo Knowles works closely with students at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction. That may be surprising, given that Knowles is not a visual artist and has no experience in cartooning. But she draws on her experience as a writer to help others tell good stories, whether through prose or a good cartoon.

Poetry & Pensions

Fri, 14 May 2021 4:09am

Former Governor Madeleine Kunin is out with a new book of poetry. Plus, a potential task force to address sexual violence on college campuses, Medicaid funds used for police in schools, and the world’s largest marble exhibit.


VPR News Podcast

Local news, reporting and newscasts from Vermont Public Radio

New Study Pays Medicaid Members Who Want To Quit Drinking

Sat, 15 May 2021 8:40am

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Rewards-based digital coaching for those who misuse alcohol and want to quit is now open to Vermont Medicaid members . The program is part of a research study. Participants are recruited and can remain anonymous. Once selected, they will have access to digital coaching and information and will be given monetary incentives for staying sober. VPR’s Mary Engisch spoke with Scott Strenio, Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Vermont Health Access, about the study, its implications and how the pandemic provided a sort of silver lining in terms of participants' willingness to engage with health care platforms online. Their conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Vermont Edition Podcast

Vermont Edition brings you news and conversation about issues affecting your life. Hosts Jane Lindholm and Bob Kinzel consider the context of current events through interviews with news makers and people who make our region buzz.

Community Organizers Have Been Critical To Vt.'s BIPOC Vaccination Efforts. What's Next?

Wed, 12 May 2021 9:17am

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New reporting from VPR's Abagael Giles examines the critical role community organizers have played in helping shrink the vaccination gap between BIPOC and white Vermonters. In our weekly health update, we talk with Giles. We also hear from two of the visionaries behind Burlington's BIPOC clinics and consider how their recent efforts might serve as a model for building health equity in Vermont.

Eye On The Sky Podcast

The Eye On The Sky is Vermont's weather service. It is a production of the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium and Vermont Public Radio.

Brave Little State Podcast

What if you could decide what stories Vermont Public Radio should be covering, before they're even assigned? That's the idea behind Brave Little State.

Meet And Greet

Thu, 06 May 2021 12:37pm

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Normally you hear a mixture of VPR reporters on this show, and that’s not gonna change -- but you’ll also be hearing a lot from our new producers, Myra Flynn and Josh Crane.

Vermonters On The Edge Of The Benefits Cliff

Thu, 22 Apr 2021 12:16pm

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What if you had to choose between working full time and keeping your benefits? We take on a question from Matthew LeFluer of Alburgh about the conundrum facing some Vermonters with disabilities who rely on federal benefits.

The History Of French Canadian Immigration In Vermont (Encore)

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 2:42pm

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It's an aspect of Vermont history that some say is overlooked.

The Vermonters Lost To COVID

Thu, 18 Mar 2021 4:36pm

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More than 200 Vermonters have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. How did they live?

NEXT New England Podcast

<p><strong>NEXT</strong> is a weekly radio show and podcast about New England, one of America's oldest places, at a time of change. It's based at Connecticut Public Radio in Hartford and is hosted by Morgan Springer.</p> <p>With New England as our laboratory, NEXT asks questions about how we power our society, how we move around, and how we adapt. It's about trends that provide us challenges and present us with new opportunities. New England has old rules and customs, with well-worn pathways forged centuries ago, and its population is aging fast.</p> <p>Through original reporting and interviews, on NEXT we ask important questions about the issues we explore: <em>Where are we now? How did we get here? And what's next?</em></p>

‘It’s Like Climbing Up A Mudslide’: Pandemic Pushes Women Out Of The Workforce

Thu, 13 May 2021 9:51am

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Millions of people in the U.S. left the workforce as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A majority of them were women. This week on NEXT, we hear from women who left their jobs and talk with an expert about the stressors  — and what recovery might look like. Plus, high school English teacher Takeru Nagayoshi on what he’s learned in this past year of hybrid teaching. And we remember trans activist and ballroom icon Jahaira DeAlto. See for privacy information.

Alison Bechdel On ‘The Secret To Superhuman Strength'; Advocates Push Colleges To Hire More Black-Owned Firms To Oversee Investments

Thu, 06 May 2021 9:43am

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Alison Bechdel’s new graphic novel depicts her life through fitness. This week on NEXT, we talk with Bechdel about ‘The Secret to Superhuman Strength,' which is more about a state of being than six-pack abs. Plus, advocates make the case for colleges to hire more diverse financial firms to manage billion-dollar endowments. And scholar-activist Katharine Morris reflects on her experience at the intersection of racism, environmental justice and public health, and her framework for moving forward. See for privacy information.

‘The Happiness Lab’ Professor On Ways We Can Be Happier; How Jonny Sun Is Learning To Balance Work And Rest

Thu, 29 Apr 2021 9:47am

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When Professor Laurie Santos first offered a course about psychology and happiness at Yale University, over a thousand students signed up. This week on NEXT, Santos gives us tips  on how we can be happier in our lives. Plus, we’ll hear dream experts discuss the evolution of COVID-19 dreams. And we talk to author, illustrator and TV writer Jonny Sun about his relationship with work and free time — and the things he’s unintentionally inherited from his family. See for privacy information.

‘It’s My Future’: Young Activists Take On Climate Change; How We Can Adapt To Electric Vehicles

Thu, 22 Apr 2021 9:04am

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By the time today’s teenagers are fifty, they’ll be living in a very different New England. This week on NEXT, we hear from young climate activists around our region about how they’re responding to the threat of climate change. And after a year of no travel, why some climate researchers are reconsidering how much they fly. Plus, listeners reflect on their experiences with electric vehicles, and we talk with an expert about the future of EVs. See for privacy information.

How The Lost Kitchen’s Star Chef Is ‘Finding Freedom’ After Hitting Rock Bottom; Pushing Past ‘The White Colonial Imagination’ To Enjoy Nature

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 6:00am

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Erin French’s ascent to rock star chef almost didn’t happen. Before becoming the owner of The Lost Kitchen in Freedom, Maine, she lost nearly everything that mattered in life. This week on NEXT, we talk with French about her journey and new memoir “Finding Freedom.” Plus, as a way to diversify staff and address inequality, more employers are dropping degree requirements for certain jobs — and gaining a market advantage. And we hear from Mardi Fuller, a volunteer leader with Outdoor Afro, about enjoying nature despite the prevalence of the “white colonial imagination.” See for privacy information.

But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids Podcast

But Why is a show led by kids. They ask the questions and we find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there. On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world. Know a kid with a question? Record it with a smartphone. Be sure to include your kid's first name, age, and town and send the recording to!

How Do You Whistle?

Fri, 07 May 2021 4:03pm

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How do people whistle? How does whistling make a sound? Why does your tongue change a whistle higher or lower? Can you get a trophy for whistling? Can people with laryngitis whistle? Get ready, we learn all about whistling with musician and champion whistler Emily Eagen and musician Yuki Takeda. And who whistles our theme song? We'll hear from musician Luke Reynolds, and a kid whistling chorus from our listeners! Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript How do you whistle? - Aurelia, 6, New York Emily says the first thing you should do is lick your lips or use lip balm. "If your lips are dry when the air passes it doesn't feel good," she says. Then you'll make your lips kind of into a pucker, circle your lips tightly. Next, stick your tongue touching your bottom teeth.  Then you make kind of a yuh, yuh, yuh sound. "But instead of saying the words, make it with a little stream of air. You want to let air pass over the top of your tongue and out your lips. You're making a tiny little instrument by curling your tongue." "I like to think about between your nose and your lips, that's a little body part called a philtrum. I like to pretend that my whistle is coming out of that. That helps me make the sound have a little focal point," she says. Emily says it helps to make little sounds when you practice.  "Pretend your sipping tea with that little tiny space there. You don't want to push too much. If you blow too much air it won't work. You have to be really gentle." Once you find your first whistle, it's all about practice and playing around to see what sounds you can make. "If you move your tongue forward, the notes go up, and if you move your tongue down, the notes go down," she says. If you can make a variety of notes, then you can start putting them together to make music!

How Are Rocks Formed?

Fri, 23 Apr 2021 11:01am

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How are rocks made? Why are some rocks hard and others soft? How do rocks shine? How are geodes and crystals made? Why do some rocks have gems in them? Answers to your rock questions with Hendratta Ali, rock doctor! Ali is a geologist who studies and teaches at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript

Ethics: Is It OK To Break A Rule?

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 8:30am

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Is it OK to do something that you were told not to do and then never tell anybody? In this episode we tackle that thorny question from 10-year-old Finn from Seattle. We'll also wrestle with the question, "Why do people make really bad choices and want other people's lives to be harder?" Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript We're tackling some ethical dilemmas in this episode and we're letting kids give the answers! We also get a response from ABC Radio's Short & Curly, a podcast devoted to ethics for kids. Here's how some of our young listeners answer the question about whether it's ever okay to break a rule and lying about it: "No, because it usually just means you get in trouble." - Juniper "I think so. If you're protecting somebody or keeping a surprise." - Camille "It depends who told you. Like if your parents told you, then you shouldn't do it. Or if you do it, you should tell them you did it. But if it's like a mean person you met on the street it's ok. And it depends what it is. Because if it's a bad question, you shouldn't do it either way if it's a bad thing. If it's a good deed you should do it. And if you did that, why wouldn't you tell anyone?" -Sylvie "No, not really. If you don't tell anyone about it. It's mostly the doing it and then not telling anybody about it. Mostly what isn't the good thing about it. It's a little bit worse, if you don't tell someone you might get a feeling where you feel kind of embarrassed. And you don't tell anybody and it just sticks with you the rest of your life."  - Piper

Why Do We Compete?

Fri, 26 Mar 2021 1:07pm

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Have you ever felt competitive with a friend or a sibling? Competition comes up in a lot of different ways in life. Maybe you're running a race with a friend and you want to beat them! Maybe you're trying to play a song without making a mistake and you're competing against yourself. Sometimes competition feels good and fun. It can make you want to do better, and make a game more enjoyable. But not always. Sometimes competition feels bad. Like it's too much pressure, or takes away from the fun of being with your friends. Some people really don't like competition at all. 3-year-old Kai from Tokyo, Japan asks: "Why do we need to compete with other people, especially friends, for example on a sports day or at gym class?" In this episode we discuss competition with anthropologist Niko Besnier. And we'll hear from 12-year-old Harini Logan, a competitive speller from San Antonio, Texas, and 10-year-old Del Guilmette, an athlete from Monkton, Vermont. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript We put Kai's question to Niko Besnier, anthropologist at the University of Amsterdam.  One of his books is called The Anthropology of Sport, written with Susan Brownell and Thomas F. Carter. He says there are two reasons that people take part in competitions: "One is that sports are fun. It's fun to play with your friends and classmates, to run, jump, play ball. We've all experienced this rush of pleasure and fun doing these things. But the other aspect that's contradictory to the fun part is that it enables us to measure our strength, our speed, our physical ability against those of other people. It's the competition part of sport, and competition can become extremely serious. Frequently, the fun part of sport gets lost." Besnier says when competition gets out of hand it can lead to hurt feelings, and on a larger scale, competition can lead to things like war and inequality. But with the right attitude, competition, especially when we compete against ourselves, can help us get better at sports and academics. That's how it is for Harini Logan. She's a competitive speller who has made it to the Scripps National Spelling Bee twice! "Competition teaches you a lot, whether it's the preparation leading up to that competition or the outcome," Logan says. "It can teach you a lot about not only your abilities, but also new things that can change the way you look at life. When you're preparing for a competition you can learn how to work hard, and how not to give up on something. And during the competition you learn teamwork. That's one thing you learn in spelling bees, because you want to be with your community, your friends. One thing to learn if you win: sportsmanship! You don't gloat about it, you still appreciate yourself but you don't overdo it so others don't feel bad. And if you don't win it doesn't matter. [You just say:] I'm going to try harder next time." Competing also helps us get better. That's how 10-year-old Del Guilmette views it. He likes to play against tough teams when he plays sports, because that's how you get better. "The best players at the game, whatever sport it is, they didn't get better because they played teams that they knew they were going to beat. They played those teams that were better than them. They got better and they practiced!" Listen to the full episode to hear more about how these mature young competitors think about the value of competition.

Why Are Mammoths Extinct?

Fri, 12 Mar 2021 3:39pm

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In the ice age, megafauna roamed North America: mammoths, saber-toothed cats, even giant land sloths! What happened to them? In this episode we answer questions about the ice age: What was it? Did birds live during that time period? How about giraffes? Did people live with woolly mammoths? Why did mammoths go extinct? We'll answer your questions with Ross MacPhee, senior curator at the American Museum of Natural History and author of End of Megafauna: The Fate of the World's Hugest, Fiercest, and Strangest Animals. And we'll hear from Nathaniel Kitchel, a Dartmouth researcher who used carbon dating to discover the age of a mammoth rib. Plus, John Moody, of the Winter Center for Indigenous Traditions in Norwich, Vermont, on how mammoths appear in the oral history of the Abenaki people. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript "What was the ice age?" -Karen, 5, Wilmington, Delaware In the Pleistocene era, which lasted from 120,000 years ago to 15,000 years ago, ice covered the landscape in much of the northern hemisphere. Ice covered all of Canada down into the Northern United States and all of northern Europe. And there were smaller ice sheets in Russia. How did this happen? Scientists think it was a buildup of ice over time. "The theory is that the winter never ended," explained Ross MacPhee. "You would have snowfalls in the winter and it never really got warm enough to get rid of it completely. The next year that would be built on, built on and built on. And the thing about snow is that it kind of makes its own weather. If you have snow it gets very cold! And that preserves the snow pack for a very long time." The weight of that snow would compact into ice, eventually covering parts of the world in great sheets of ice. It might help to think of the process as a little bit like what happens when you have a favorite sledding hill: the snow is light and fluffy when you start, but if you sled down it enough times (and walk up the hill, too), eventually the paths get icy from the footsteps and sleds continually packing the snow down. It wasn't just ice sheets that were a feature of the ice age. All of that water caught up in the ice made sea level drop 300 feet lower than it is now. That exposed lots of land that is now covered in water, including a land bridge connecting Alaska and Russia! This land bridge allowed a number of species to move into North America from Asia, like bison. And some North American animals went into Asia, like camels and horses! Bear species traveled in both directions. Humans also used the land bridge to migrate into North America, though scientists think some early humans probably used boats too. Mammoths also migrated over that land bridge! They originated in Asia and came into North America. But there were other species of megafauna that roam the landscape as well, like giant condors, saber toothed cats and even giant sloths. These species went extinct at the same time as mammoths, as the ice age was ending. Listen to the episode to learn more about the theories of why so many large animals went extinct around the same time.

Outdoor Radio Podcast

The Vermont Center for Ecostudies and VPR unite the sounds and science of nature in this monthly feature. The program is hosted by biologists Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra, who share their knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm for wildlife education and conservation.

Outdoor Radio: Invasive Zebra Mussels

Wed, 16 Dec 2020 10:39am

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Zebra Mussels are an invasive species in Lake Champlain. Not only do they consume a great deal of the food supply in the lake, but they also attack native mussel species by sticking to them and robbing them of fresh water and food. The Zebra Mussel can reach a density of 100,000 per square meter, covering exhaust and intake pipes for water treatment and power plants.

Outdoor Radio: On The Hunt For Invasive Worms

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 9:17am

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There are 19 species of worms in Vermont. Three of them are considered invasive; they are known as snake worms or jumping worms. These busy, invasive worms change the forest floor and the content of the soil, making it difficult for new growth to take root. This affects the habitat and food source of wildlife and the future of the forest itself.

Outdoor Radio: Little Bee On A White Flower

Fri, 28 Aug 2020 8:00am

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Fen grass-of-Parnassus has a beautiful white flower that blooms from mid-August to mid-September in Vermont. It is the sole food source for a rare species of bee, which are only referred to by their Latin name, andrena parnassiae.

Outdoor Radio: "Backyard Biodiversity"

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 10:17am

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In these times of social distancing, when people can feel disconnected from one another, it's important to realize that nature is just outside your door. From bird songs to green frogs' croaking chatter, stay connected to the outdoors by exploring your own "backyard biodiversity."

Outdoor Radio: Red-winged Blackbirds "A True Sign Of Spring"

Wed, 29 Apr 2020 12:13pm

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Birdwatchers know that when they see the Red-winged Blackbird return, spring is on its way. These birds are numerous and everywhere. The males are stark-black with a red epaulette, a striking flash of color on their wings, that they use to attract mates and ward off other competing males.

VPR Classical Timeline Podcast

Join VPR Classical host James Stewart on a journey into the events, characters and concepts that shaped our Western musical tradition. We'll start at the very beginning and trace the steps of music through history. This music, and its history, is ours.

192 - Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959)

Mon, 10 May 2021 9:35am

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Heitor Villa-Lobos was a Brazilian guitarist, cellist, composer and conductor. He’s not just one of the most celebrated South-American composers of all time, but also one of the most prolific. Villa-Lobos composed over 2000 works, and his music is the soundtrack for a period of great upheaval and change for Brazil in the 20th century.

015 - Maddalena Casulana

Mon, 03 May 2021 10:22am

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The Renaissance was a time of re-birth as science and the arts changed the face of culture. However, some old ideas persisted in the midst of this change; especially beliefs about the roles and intellectual capacity of the genders. Even though the Renaissance saw many female heads of state it was still held as common knowledge that women were inferior to men, physically, mentally and artistically. As a result we have very few examples of female composers during this period of music history. There is an exception though, the work of Maddalena Casulana.

191 - Maria Grever (1885-1951)

Mon, 26 Apr 2021 3:33pm

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Maria Grever was the first Mexican, woman composer to earn international attention. You’ve probably heard her melodies and lyrics sung and performed by so many popular musicians from the United States and Latin America. We know her tunes, but very few of us know her name.

003 - Hildegard Von Bingen

Mon, 19 Apr 2021 11:02am

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Originally aired on June 1, 2015 Hildegard of Bingen was a writer, composer, philosopher, mystic, abbess, polymath and a literal visionary of the 12th Century.

190 - Manuel Ponce (1882-1948)

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 9:57am

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Manuel Ponce was the first internationally recognized Mexican classical composer. Ponce’s music bridged the gaps between categories like popular, classical, folk and orchestral. He was called the “creator of the modern Mexican song.”

JOLTED Podcast

A five-part podcast about a school shooting that didn’t happen, the line between thought and crime, and a Republican governor in a rural state who changed his mind about gun laws.

Update: One Year Later

Wed, 13 Mar 2019 8:00pm

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How the events of last year changed Vermont schools and law enforcement. Also - where's Jack?

Part 5: Threat Assessment

Wed, 26 Sep 2018 10:11pm

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How do you know if a young person is plotting a school massacre? And what do you do then?

Part 4: The Reversal

Wed, 19 Sep 2018 11:11pm

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How a Republican governor who had been rated "A" by the NRA decided that Vermont, one of the most gun-friendly states in the nation, needed gun control laws.

Part 3: Thought, Or Crime?

Wed, 12 Sep 2018 10:40pm

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When does planning a school shooting become attempted murder? The question went all the way to the Vermont Supreme Court.

Part 2: How We Got Here

Wed, 05 Sep 2018 10:02pm

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Who is Jack Sawyer, and why did he want to kill his former classmates?

My Heart Still Beats Podcast

A six-part series from Writers for Recovery and VPR, featuring conversation about addiction and original writing from the recovery community around Vermont.

Bonus Episode: Voices From The Series

Thu, 16 May 2019 5:55pm

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What role does storytelling have in addressing the opioid crisis? In March, Vermont Public Radio hosted a gathering at the Turning Point Center of Burlington to talk through that question with the team behind My Heart Still Beats .