WOODBURY — Flanders Nature Center and Land Trust, 5 Church Hill Rd., is participating in a new study under the supervision of Dr. Oswald Schmitz, the Oastler Professor of Population and Community Ecology in the Yale University School of the Environment.

The goal of the study is to examine how adaptations and resiliency levels of eight populations of red-legged grasshoppers are affected by climate change.

According to Dr. Schmitz, “Flanders offers field sites that are a strategic part of a network we are using throughout New England that enables us to study how climate change will affect the plant and insect composition of meadows and their health and functioning.”

Starting on Tuesday, June 1, and continuing to November 30, 2025, the “Hidden Field” at Flanders’ Van Vleck Farm and Nature Sanctuary will serve as the epicenter of this study. 

The field will be filled with 75 grasshopper cages until October. This number will decrease to 30 cages which will be left for the remaining time of the study in hopes that the personnel from Yale will be able to gain as much knowledge as possible. The data collected from Flanders will be compared to data collected at a location in northern Vermont.

The use of Flanders’ property by Yale University will provide visitors of all ages with new learning experiences. 

Since the cages will be left in place for an extended period of time, it is important that members and nature enthusiasts understand the purpose of the cages.

In order to offer an interactive learning experience for all, Yale personnel have posted informative sheets that include contact information and a scannable QR code so that this study can be understood by all.

In addition to the information sheets and scannable codes, Nathalie Sommer, a Ph.D. candidate; MESc students Stan Gosliner and Quint Doan and James Lichtenstein, a Gaylord Donnelley Postdoctoral Fellow, will be onsite periodically and willing to answer questions about the study.

“What is especially appealing about Flanders,” Dr. Schmitz noted, “is that we have access to all kinds of young students — the budding scientists of the future — to show them how to do field experiments and inspire them to pursue careers in environmental science. 

“I was lucky to have such a formative experience with a nature center near my hometown while growing up.”

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