A Valley News Publication

Postal Service to dedicate winter bird stamps at VINS on Saturday

#nerdalert ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

As you might be able to figure out from this post about special pictorial stamps available at the Tunbridge World’s Fair this past weekend and all of our posts about owls, among other birds, I am into this announcement from the United States Postal Service: The organization is dedicating this year’s winter bird stamps at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee on Saturday!

What does that mean, you ask?

At 11 a.m. there will be a ceremony to introduce the stamps (folks must RSVP at usps.com/birdsinwinter to attend). The stamps feature the black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus), the northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), the blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) and the red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus). Some more background on the stamps themselves, via USPS:

The stamp art features four striking designs that highlight the handsome plumage of these resident birds. The vivid contrast with the bright flashes of color found in the digital rendering of each bird evokes the drab feeling of winter with the stark white backgrounds. A limited palette and simplified shapes give the art a bold, fresh look.


In the dead of winter, when trees have shed their leaves and snow has blanketed the ground, the lively sights and sounds of resident birds can be a welcome relief. For serious birders or casual nature lovers alike, spotting these beautiful creatures in backyards, parks, and forests is a treat during the year’s coldest months.


Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamps with original artwork by Nadia Taylor.


The Birds in Winter stamps are being issued as Forever stamps in booklets of 20. These Forever stamps will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce price.


‘You’re worth it’: Upper Valley residents use signs to deter suicides at Quechee Gorge Bridge

Brava to Jess Keene and Jessica Arruda, the two minds behind a newly launched effort to prevent suicides at the Quechee Gorge.

The two have posted dozens of handwritten index card-sized signs — featuring messages like “Step back — you’re worth it!” — along the railings of the bridge in an attempt to discourage people from taking their own lives at the scenic spot.

The women say they were inspired by a British teenager who posted similar uplifting signs at a bridge in the U.K.

If you or someone you know are struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

A collection of Valley News reporting on the Quechee Gorge suicide issue in recent years

While enroute to Woodstock, Vt., bus tour participants stop at the Quechee Gorge in Quechee, Vt., to take a look on a foggy afternoon on October 9, 2015. (Valley News – Sarah Priestap) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Today: Vermont Agency of Transportation officials say they will be installing a temporary fence on both sides of the Quechee Gorge Bridge by the end of the summer as part of continuing suicide-prevention measures. … The recent death at the gorge marks four since January, Hartford Police Chief Phil Kasten said. … Federal, state and local officials continue to work on a long-term plan to make the Gorge safer, and they hope to have a permanent fix by means of a barrier wall or a net below the bridge by 2021-2022, said Kristin Higgins, the structures program manager at the state Agency of Transportation.

January 2018: A 22-year-old Hartford man died by suicide over the weekend at Quechee Gorge, the first such incident there in more than a year, Hartford police confirmed. … “We are eager to see improvements completed,” Hartford Police Chief Kasten said. “One life is one too many.”

July 2017: State transportation officials said they hope to secure federal funding by the end of the week to start designing suicide-prevention measures and other improvements at the Quechee Gorge Bridge.

July 2016: The day after police retrieved the body of a woman from Quechee Gorge, people who pushed for suicide prevention measures at the site questioned why the state didn’t take action by a July 1 deadline established by the Legislature.

March 2016: A call for action to prevent the loss of life at the Quechee Gorge Bridge, which has been the site of eight suicides since 2008, has been answered in legislation now awaiting the signature of Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin.

Click through for a text-version of this infographic about suicide prevention resources.

RELATED: The National Suicide Hotline is 1-800-273-8255