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Our 2023 Land Stewards awardees

  • 5 Min Read
  • June 21, 2023

Awards given to ten students

Since 2005, we have honored Vermont students who are dedicated to farming, forestry, and land stewardship with our Land Stewards Award. Juniors and seniors at farming and natural resource programs are nominated by their teachers. This year, 10 students were honored with $300 checks.

Samantha Flint, Brookfield

Samantha was raised in a farming family and has continued to steward the land in her teens, working with cattle, horses, swine, and at a sugarhouse.

In nominating the senior from the Randolph Technical Career Center’s Diversified Agriculture program, her instructor Ryan O’Malley noted that she worked hard and was fully engaged. She also looked to see where she could lend a hand.

Samantha is a member of the National Honor Society as well as the National Technical Honor Society. She plans to pursue a major in Natural Resources Conservation at Castleton University.

“I was raised around my grandparents’ farm and I’ve always loved working outside, doing chores as well as working with all of our animals,” she said.

“I enjoy working outside throughout the year, whether it’s sugaring in the early spring or haying in the summer. I love being outdoors, listening to the birds and watching the cows in the fields.”


Morgan Foster, Hardwick

Morgan thinks we live in a beautiful state. The senior in Green Mountain Technology and Career Center’s Forestry program grew up around farming, horses, logging, hunting, and maple sugaring. Her family has a 1,000-tap sugarbush, and she has helped them with the operation since they collected sap with a horse-drawn sleigh.

In nominating Morgan for the Land Stewards Award, her Forestry and Land Management instructor, Meghan Luther, called Morgan a go-getter with an impressive drive to get things done. Outside of class, Morgan has judged horses for 4-H and works for family members in the livestock, logging/sawmill and land management industries. She recently worked at Laggis Brothers Farm in East Hardwick in the calf barn and at Hope Grows horse farm in Hyde Park.

Morgan plans to continue her involvement in butchering with her grandfather, as well as her work at Laggis Brothers Farm and Hope Grows. She hopes to become a large animal veterinarian and has applied to Vermont Technical College’s Veterinary Technology program.

“There need to be more local farms that are family owned,” she said. “I enjoy working outside and being out in the beautiful nature of Vermont. Maintaining the lands improves the lives of the animals and the state.”

Noah Gagne, Highgate

Noah is a third-generation sugarmaker who beams with pride when talking about his family’s history in sugaring, according to his Forestry and Natural Resources instructor, Joshua J. Goss.

“I have been in the woods logging and maple sugaring with my dad and grandfather since I can remember,” Noah said.

He is a junior at Cold Hollow Career Center in Enosburg Falls, and was nominated for a Land Stewards Award by Goss who said Noah was a leader in class. Through the program, Noah has worked on multiple occasions with the Franklin County Sugarmakers and Vermont Maple Sugar Makers associations.

As a member of the Cold Hollow FFA (Future Farmers of America) chapter, he was the top placing individual for the program and the state in the land judging competition. He was also the top scoring student in the program for the winter forestry competition.

After graduation, Noah plans to expand his family’s business and improve sustainability on their land. He also plans to look into a certificate or degree in diesel technology.

Kyle Goulette, Norton

Sam Nijensohn, Natural Resources instructor at Newport’s North Country Career Center, first met Kyle Goulette a few years ago through the local FFA (Future Farmers of America) club. Now a senior at the Career Center, Kyle was nominated by Sam for the award.

According to Sam, Kyle is focused on quality work and doing his best, and has a thoughtful and caring personality that lends itself to wanting to be a good steward of his community, his animals, and our forests.

Kyle participated in a “job shadow” last spring, joining consulting foresters in the field. He was the school’s FFA president, promoting the natural resources program to incoming prospective students and travelling to the National Convention to represent the career center and state.

Kyle will be attending Paul Smith’s College in New York State next year, to major in Forest Operations. He plans to immerse himself in the forest products industry as a logger, trucker and sawmill operator.

“With the opportunities I received and hard work I have put into the forestry program, I have found a love for the work it includes,” said Kyle. “My career goal is to one day own and operate my own forestry-related business.”

Cary Longley, Fairfax

Cary is a senior at the Center for Technology in Essex. He was nominated for the award by his Forestry and Horticulture Instructor, Brian Japp.

In his nomination, Brian cited Cary’s ability to navigate technical, academic, and social challenges, and added that Cary provided excellent peer-to-peer instruction and encouragement.

During his senior year, Cary was inducted into the National Technical Honor Society and completed his OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) 30 certification.

According to Brian, Cary’s connection to the land is a family affair. He grew up working with his family on their sugarbush. Brian added that Cary is calm, confident, and happy when working in the woods, and that he enjoys hunting and fishing.

Next year, Cary hopes to continue and expand the family sugaring business.

“This business that I run along with my dad has been in my family since he was a little kid,” he said. “Since I was a little kid, he has been teaching me ways to harvest and produce this product. We don’t just do this for the money, we do it to better our learning and health from natural resources.”

Cady Pitner, Middlebury

Cady was nominated by Aaron Townshend, her Natural Resource Management program instructor at the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center.

In his nomination, Arron said Cady was a fierce and committed advocate for wildlife and natural communities, and that she has been a passionate and capable student of natural resources who is fluent in climate change.

Cady has been active with FFA (Future Farmers of America) and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps.

“I want to do something meaningful with my life,” she said, “and working on the land not only helps enhances ecosystems, but provides connection to place and history.”

Next year, the senior will enroll in the Rubenstein School of Natural Resources at UVM.

“Exploring the natural wonders the land holds never ceases to amaze me,” she said. “Being able to help conserve and protect it [brings] so much purpose and joy into my life.”

Emma Seward, Wallingford

Emma grew up sugaring and working on farms. Her family milks around 70 Holstein cows “on the rocky hillside of East Wallingford Vermont,” she said.

She is a junior at the River Bend Career and Technical Center in Bradford, though this is her second year in the program. She was nominated for a Land Stewards Award by her Diversified Agriculture and Natural Resources program instructor, Ian Blackmer. According to Ian, Emma helped develop the programs’ tree identification materials and has been an enthusiastic sugarmaker. Outside of school, she placed first in the state for the 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl team.

Emma’s short and long-term goals are to work the land. Next year, she will move on to Vermont Technical College’s Vermont Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) program, where she can continue in her field of study while earning a high school diploma.

“I am a dedicated and determined young individual who is extremely dedicated to the agriculture industry,” she said. “I have always been driven to creating a stronger agricultural community and to give back to the land we use every day!”

Trevin Shute, Hartland

Trevin has been an integral part of his family’s dairy farm. He knew from a young age that he wanted to continue running the farm with his father, as his father did before him with his grandfather.

Trevin was a senior at the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center in White River Junction. His natural resources instructor, Matthew Dragon, said that over the past two years Trevin has worked with the White River Partnership on water-quality monitoring and cleanup projects and also monitored for invasive species. He harvested crops for Willing Hands, performed forestry work for the Hartford Town Forest, learned about maple sugaring, and assisted with a local lake trout breeding program. Trevin also worked through the school for Lemax Dairy in North Hartland, where he learned skills he hopes to bring back to his family farm, such as artificial insemination.

Trevin plans to stay and work on his family’s dairy farm.

“We have a 130-head [herd] and growing,” he said. “This is the most Shute Farm has ever had. My hope is to continue growing the farm. There’s nothing better than working on your own land with your own animals every day!”


Caleb Steves, Fair Haven

Caleb was a senior in the Forestry and Natural Resources program at Stafford Technical Center in Rutland, completing his second year there. He was nominated by his instructor, Mike Stannard.

Caleb represented the program in Game of Logging and Vermont Envirothon competitions this past May. He also completed two cooperative work experiences, first with Garland’s Farm and Garden of Rutland and more recently with Gagnon Lumber of Pittsford.

Mike cited Caleb’s quiet leadership and sense of responsibility, adding that he was respected and looked up to by his peers.

According to Mike, Caleb spent his childhood in Fair Haven working the land, hunting for deer and turkey, fishing for bullhead, caring for apple trees, and cutting firewood. He currently has a maple sugaring operation at home.

Caleb has been accepted to Paul Smith’s College in New York State and plans to study forestry there this fall.

“I want to pursue forestry work in the future because I really enjoy being outside and active,” he said. “I also feel that we need more people to pursue this field, to help protect and manage our forests.”

Phoebe Weinberg, Putney

Errold Nelson, Forestry and Natural Resources instructor at the Windham Regional Career Center in Brattleboro, has been amazed by how much his student Phoebe Weinberg has accomplished so far. In his nomination, Errold said Phoebe handled projects with great intention, skill and a strong work ethic, and that she cares about nature while understanding the demands on natural resources.

As a senior at the career center, Phoebe has been an FFA (Future Farmers of America) state champion in winter forestry, Vermont soils and land judging. In 2022, she participated in the Kroka Expeditions’ Arctic to Manhattan semester. She works for Sidelands Sugarbush in Putney and has been a member of Brattleboro Union High School’s environmental club.

Next year, Phoebe will attend Warren Wilson College in North Carolina, where she plans to major in ecological forestry.

“I am growing up in a time with an unimaginable future; one which relies on proper land management,” she said. “Our fate depends on my generation’s actions. For this reason, I am going to pursue a career in forestry and natural resources. By getting this degree and minoring in outdoor education or environmental studies, I will be prepared for any outdoor-based career such as working in national parks, guiding or forest conservation. I want to work amongst the trees, being one of many who push for societal and climate justice.”


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