Franklin, Addison, Chittenden & Grand Isle counties
Charlotte Clark Hinsdale conserved 59 acres of farmland being rented by Nick Powden for a growing hay business. Nick also rents neighboring conserved land. Conservation means the land will be more affordable for farmers in the future. Over the years, Clark has conserved several other parcels in the area and helped beginning farmers get a start.
Charlotte 400 trees were planted as part of a stream and wetland restoration effort on Philo Ridge Farm. We worked with Audubon Vermont, UVM’s Gund Center, ECO AmeriCorps and Philo Ridge Farm staff on the project.
Colchester After 10 years of leasing Pine Island Community Farm, goat farmers Chuda and Gita Dhaurali worked with VLT to conserve and buy the 220-acre farm, now renamed Dhaurali Goats. In addition to productive farmland, there is a mile of the Winooski River and 120 acres of protected wetlands. VLT will continue to operate Pine Island Community Gardens through a long-term lease agreement with the Dhauralis.
Colchester After removing a dam and restoring a section of Crooked Creek on the conserved Button Farm, we planted over 200 trees, shrubs and other plants to further restore the land and support wildlife. These efforts will slow flood waters and reduce erosion (see video).
Ferrisburgh Linda Hawkins LLC conserved 101 acres of farmland, woods, wetlands near Little Otter Creek. The land has been shaped by its proximity to the creek, and is host to rare plants and animals, including osprey, blue-spotted salamander, and cat tail sedge. A dairy farmer rents the farmland, while the conservation easement sets aside a significant area for clean water and habitat.
Fletcher In 2022, we restored two streams on the conserved Boneyard Farm by installing six wood structures similar to beaver dams. Shrubs and willows were planted in the stream area at the time. This spring, we helped the Franklin County Conservation District plant an additional 3,500 trees. These efforts will expand the wetland, increase plant diversity, slow flood waters, and reduce erosion.
Franklin Matt Laroche’s parents protected the family dairy over 30 years ago when Matt was 24. Over the years, they bought more land to support their growing business. These days Matt runs Laroche Dairy & Son with his son and other family members. This spring, they protected 131 acres in Franklin that they use to grow feed for their 300+ cows. The project included additional conservation protection for land along the Rock River.
Granville, Braintree & Rochester Nearly 7,400 acres with high elevation peaks and headwater streams of the Connecticut River were conserved by Green Ridge Forest LLC. The project was done in partnership effort with The Conservation Fund, which sold the land to Green Ridge at the same time that it was conserved. The land will be managed for timber as well as for its many ecological values, such as providing excellent bear habitat. It is open to the public for hunting and non-motorized recreation.
Granville Tracy Winn, her husband, Joe Rigali, and a group of their friends donated a conservation easement on 116 acres, they have owned together for decades. Tracy and Joe are caring for the woods with the help of a forester. They are increasing tree diversity and fostering old-forest-like conditions; this work will help the land adapt to a changing climate.
Highgate Terry and Julie Rice conserved 498 acres of farmland and sugarbush. Terry grows sweet corn that he sells from a farmstand on site, sugars a 170-acre sugarbush, and rents other land to a dairy farmer. The land has a section of Dead Creek and abuts the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge. There is also a large wetland where the rare Bog Copper Dragonfly has been seen.
Hinesburg Tim and Kay Ballard protected 177 acres of pasture, cropland, and woods that abut the town’s Geprags Community Park. The Ballard family has owned the land, which has stunning views of the Adirondacks, since 1937. A wetland and tributaries of the LaPlatte River were also protected. Neighboring dairy farmers lease the farmland, which will remain available, and be more affordable, to future generations of farmers.
Hinesburg We planted 800 trees along Lewis Creek on a conserved farm. The multi-day effort brought together volunteers from UVM, Ursa Major Skincare, and Trout Unlimited as well as VLT supporters and staff. Tamarack, highbush cranberry, arrowwood, and white pine were planted, among other species. The trees and shrubs will improve water quality in the creek and enhance the land’s ability to handle floods.
Middlebury Third-generation farmer Doug Butler conserved 100 acres of farmland, woods, wetlands, and streams, including headwater tributaries of the Muddy Branch. Three rare and endangered plants have been found on the protected land. He and his son Casey run a beef farm; they sell to the local food co-op and directly from the farm. This is the second time Doug has conserved land; he conserved 148 acres in 2019.
Middlebury Jerry and Bernardine Butler conserved 128 acres of farmland and woods, including some clayplain forest, plus wetlands and streams. Working with their son Calihan and his wife, Kristen, the Butlers grow hay and corn for their dairy herd of 250 cows.
Middlebury We planted 1,000 trees along Muddy Branch, a tributary of the New Haven River, at the conserved LedgEnd Farm. The multi-day effort brought together farmer Hank Dimuzio, volunteers from the citizen science group River Watch, ECO AmeriCorps members, Middlebury College students, and VLT supporters and staff. They planted shrub willow, silky dogwood, nannyberry, and tamarack. The trees and shrubs will help filter and slow water flowing into Lake Champlain.
Monkton Stephen and Janice Linehan protected 92 acres of woodland and pasture; land along a tributary of Lewis Creek was also protected. The Linehans use the land for hay and maple sugaring. More recently, their son Robert has started cultivating table and wine grapes on the parcel’s sunny slopes. Conservation will help the Linehans with the transfer of the business to the next generation.
Richford Jessica Boone conserved 408 acres of mostly forested land on the western flank of the Green Mountains. She runs a sugaring operation, Hi Vue Maples, that has been in her family for many generations. She also serves on the board of Cold Hollow to Canada, a nonprofit focused on land stewardship, wildlife habitat conservation, and forest health in the Cold Hollow Mountains, where Jessica’s land is located.
Sheldon 5,800 trees and shrubs were planted along the Missisquoi River and nearby streams on Philip and Suzanne Parent’s conserved dairy farm. The native species plated included silver maple, cottonwood, silky dogwood, speckled alder, tamarack, shrub willow, and choke cherry. Keeping land along the water forested will improve wildlife habitat and support clean water.
Shoreham Lissy and Bill Heminway conserved 99 acres of rolling farm and forestland. They operate Wiley Side Farm, producing free-range eggs, grass-fed beef, popcorn, honey, apples and cider, a lot of which they sell at their farmstand. The land has over half a mile of the Lemon Fair River and a couple of rare types of forest. The conservation easement designates an area along the river where activities will be restricted for clean water and wildlife. The Heminways will retire about two acres of fields in order to accomplish this.
Shoreham Lorenzo and Amy Quesnel of Richville Farms conserved 308 acres of farmland, woods, wetlands, and streams, including a stretch of Perry Brook. They run the dairy farm with their daughter, Kylie, and son-in-law, Jeremy Chittenden. This project expands a large block of conserved farmland that extends southeast from Shoreham to Orwell and Whiting.
Weybridge Monument Farms conserved 182 acres they use to grow corn and hay for their dairy. The fourth-generation farm family now owns over 1,000 acres of protected Champlain Valley farmland. Monument is the only large-scale milk processor in Vermont that sells milk exclusively from their own herd. This project protected over a mile of frontage on the Lemon Fair River.
Weybridge Farmers Dan and Corinne Kehoe strengthened conservation protections on 34 acres of their previously conserved farm. The acreage has wetlands and 2.5 miles of land along Otter Creek and its tributaries. They are taking several acres of farmland out of active use to protect and restore the land for clean water, improved habitat, and flood resilience.
Weybridge Roger Wales protected 266 acres of farmland, wetlands, and woods on land his family has farmed for about 80 years. Over the years, Roger has produced wheat, oats, corn, and beef, and most recently, goat milk, which he sold to Vermont Butter & Cheese. The Wales farm sits along the Otter Creek, just upstream from the confluence with the Lemon Fair River.