Around the State: Our Recent Work

cows in pasture with white round barn behind them - conserved farm - VLT

With your help, we support farms that grow local food, forests, clean air and water, places to hike and ski. Learn about our successes from July to December 2020.

  • protected nearly 1,400 acres of farmland & supported 8 farm transitions
  • conserved over 9,800 acres of forest, including nearly 6,400 acres open for recreation
  • protected 450 acres of wetlands and 35 miles of streams and rivers
  • expanded recreation at seven sites

A shout out to all the community members, landowners, and partners who work with us to conserve Vermont’s landscape! We could not do this without you.

map of Vermont with select towns

Southern Vermont

open field with trees and hills in distance - Vermont Land TrustDummerston: Ed Anthes and Mary Ellen Copeland are passionate about environmental preservation and local land conservation. They conserved nearly 60 acres of woods and fields that are adjacent to the 900+ acre Deer Run Nature Preserve. The land includes wetlands, wildlife habitat, and two streams that drain into the West River.

 

Jamaica: The The Nature Conservancy conserved forestland that had been donated to them by the Herrmann Family Charitable Foundation. The over 100-acre parcel is entirely wooded with productive timber stands as well as wetlands and streams, all of which provides habitat for wildlife.

forest with pond in clearing - Okemo State Forest

Mount Holly: VLT worked with many partners to add nearly 350 acres to Okemo State Forest, helping to protect a 100-mile wildlife corridor extending from Massachusetts to central Vermont. Home to the source of the West River, Branch Brook, and Mill River, the land offers recreation and has healthy high-elevation forest, streams, and wetlands that support an abundance of wildlife. Supported by VHCB, Mount Holly Conservation Trust, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, Forest Legacy Program, the Vermont Community Foundation and their Lyman Orton Fund, Davis Conservation Fund, Vail Corporation’s Epic Promise, the Anthony Marro Trust, and many individuals. Learn more.

 

smiling man and woman with snowy woods in background - Shaftsbury - VLTShaftsbury, Rupert: David and Cheryl Mance protected over 1,400 acres in the rich Taconic Mountain Range, known for excellent timber and abundant wildlife. Much of the protected land is at the top of West Mountain and, with elevations above 2,000 feet, is visible from Routes 7 and 7A. The project protects headwater streams of Paran Creek, Little White Creek, and Lake Shaftsbury. Learn more.

 

stream in a spring time woodland - Shaftsbury - VLTShaftsbury: Elizabeth and John Graham conserved over 80 acres with streams, wetlands, and a variety of forest habitat. The streams are now protected with water protection areas that will maintain trees and shrubs 50 feet from banks.

 

Father and two young sons standing in field of Christmas treesSpringfield: After farming on leased land for decades, Matthew Kurek and Maggie Wood bought land in Vermont and named it Farm on the River. They protected 70 acres of scenic and productive farmland on the banks of the Connecticut River. Maggie and Matthew are transitioning the former Christmas tree farm into organic vegetable production. Supported by VHCB and USDA-NRCS.  Learn more.

 

fall foliage on hills with bright blue sky, and large tree to the right - Wardsboro - VLTWardsboro: Donna and Peter Sebastian protected over 200 acres of forest and fields in the vicinity of Dover Town Forest and Green Mountain National Forest. The land has tributary streams of Wardsboro Brook that now have water protection areas along their banks.

 

 

Central Vermont

spring woods on hillside with emerging leaves and hills in distance - Norwich - VLTNorwich: Nancy Arnold conserved 115 acres in Norwich, thanks to support from family, friends, neighbors, and the Norwich Conservation Commission. Avery Brook, a tributary of the Ompompanoosuc River runs through the property, and the land is valuable for wildlife.

 

cows in pasture with white round barn behind them - conserved farm - VLTStrafford, Sharon: Hilary and Ben Minerd bought and conserved 266 acres they had been leasing through our Farmland Access Program. Winding Brook Farm produces meat, eggs, vegetables, and maple syrup. Hilary and Ben have also set up a bed-and-breakfast business on the historic farm, which is known to many in the area for its 10-sided barn.

 

Washington: Lynne and Dave Lersch bought conserved forestland that had been gifted to VLT by the Wolf family. The 60+ acre property is mostly wooded and includes headwater streams of the White River’s First Branch as well as wetlands.

 

 

Northeast Kingdom

large pond with trees on the shore - Albany - CLTAlbany, Craftsbury: Beverly Delaney protected forest, meadows, streams and wetlands that she has been stewarding since the 1960s. There are streams that feed Great Hosmer Pond, Heart Pond, and Little Hosmer Pond. There are also wetlands and a large vernal pool that now have special ecological protections. The 236 acres are in a large wooded area important for wildlife and forest health. Supported by the Hosmer Pond Fund.

 

Farm buildings - Danville - VLTDanville: Henry and Allison Pearl protected their organic dairy with 172 acres of pasture and wooded areas. The Pearls milk cows for Organic Valley and raise heifers for other organic dairies. More than five acres of wetlands are now protected. Supported by the Freeman Foundation.

 

Eden, Craftsbury: Maureen Conte and Bob Busby protected 2,100 acres in the Northern Green Mountains, abutting the popular Green River Reservoir State Park. The densely wooded land has several wetlands and streams that flow into the Lamoille River and its tributaries. A unique feature of the land is a variety of wetlands. The land will remain open for bird-watching, walking, skiing, and more.

 

river with grasses and trees growing on banks - Lowell - VLTLowell: Organic dairy farmers Jason and Ashley Randall protected nearly 40 acres of land along the Missisquoi River on their conserved farm. A 50-foot-wide area along the water will be kept wooded, and native trees and shrubs will be planted by the Missisquoi River Basin Association. Buffer areas like these help reduce erosion and improve wildlife habitat. Supported by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. Learn more about farmers protecting the Missisquoi River.

 

mountain bikers on trail through wide field at kingdom trails heavens benchLyndon: When a large property in the Kingdom Trails network went on the market, VLT worked with Kingdom Trail Association to protect seven miles of trails and over 270 acres. Best known for mountain biking, Kingdom Trails’ 100-mile trail network is also a place to snowshoe, ski, and hike. Nearly 750 people contributed. Supported by VHCB, Davis Conservation Foundation, Passumpsic Valley Land Trust, Vermont Community Foundation, other foundations, area businesses, and private donations. Learn more.

 

large pond with tress on banks and open blue sky in distance - Morgan - VLTMorgan: Organic dairy farmers Ron and Jennifer Patenaude are expanding their business, thanks to 550 acres of conserved land they bought from Kenric and Avalena Gonyaw. The Gonyaw family ran a dairy for decades and conserved a large portion of their farm 15 years ago. The Gonyaws worked with VLT to protect an additional 125 acres in October 2020, before selling the entire farm to the Patenuades. Land along Mud Pond and other streams and wetlands now have special protections for clean water. Supported by the Freeman Foundation.

 

snowy woods - Morgan - VLTMorgan: Josh Steirman conserved over 800 acres woodlands with headwaters for several streams and related wetlands. Home to moose, bear, grouse, and other animals, the land is now open for pedestrian recreation. The property adjoins a nearly 200,000-acre swath of conserved forestland. Supported by the Freeman Foundation.

 

farm buildings and hay fields - Newport - VLTNewport: When Dan Royer began to contemplate retiring from his small organic dairy, he reached out to VLT. Working with our Farmland Access Program, he conserved his 136-acre farm and sold it to farmers Misty-Anne Koloski and David Daniels. Misty and David operate Divine Dairy, and had a long and difficult struggle finding a farm of their own — they are thrilled. Supported by the Freeman Foundation. Supported by the Freeman Foundation.

 

trees with new leaves - Wheelock-Greensboro - VLT Wheelock & Greensboro: Logger Gary Dwyer has worked in the Northeast Kingdom for decades. He conserved nearly 800 acres of forestland in an area that’s especially important for wildlife because it connects with other woodlands that, taken together, stretch across Vermont and into Canada. The land has several types of wetland and will remain open for hiking, birdwatching, hunting, and more. Supported by the Freeman Foundation.

 

field up against bank of river in fallWestfield & Troy: Farmers Karen and Pat O’Donnell conserved 136 acres for clean water, including land along three miles of the Missisquoi River and its tributaries Mill Brook and Taft Brook, as well as 50 acres of wetlands. Working with state and federal partners, Karen and Pat are restoring these sections of the Missisquoi and its tributaries, which will enable water to flow without obstruction. In addition, streambanks on the shore will be reforested. Supported by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, The Nature Conservancy under a grant from Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., USDA Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, NRCS, and Partners for Fish and Wildlife. Learn more about farmers protecting the Missisquoi River.

 

 

Champlain Valley

people walking in the woods with tall trees all aroundCambridge: Sally Laughlin conserved forestland for a new town-owned nature preserve with ravines, streams, waterfalls, and forests, fields, meadows, and trails. A highlight of the new 51-acre Peter A. Krusch Nature Preserve will be a path to the Cambridge Pines State Forest—one of Vermont’s few examples of old forest that’s not been easy to access until now. Supported by VHCB, Town of Cambridge, Davis Conservation Foundation, Fields Pond Foundation, Norman J. Fisher & Doris Fisher Foundation, and many individuals. Learn more.

 

Farmers - husband and wife - standing in a field - Franklin-Highgate - VLTFranklin & Highgate: Wayne and Nancy Fiske conserved their farm nearly 25 years ago. They recently added additional conservation restrictions that promote clean water on land along the Rock River and Bullis Pond. Maintaining shrubs and trees in these buffers totaling nine acres will help keep water clean, restore banks, and improve habitat for animals. The Fiskes said they were happy and proud to be enhancing water quality on their farm.

 

woman standing next to farm sign - Granville - VLTGranville: For many years, Daniel and Daphne Hewitt raised sheep and made cheese on their farm. When they decided to stop farming, they worked with VLT’s Farmland Access Program to conserve the 24-acre property and sell it to organic vegetable farmers Henry Webb and Gabrielle Tuite. Henry and Gabby run Old Road Farm and sell their produce through local markets and a CSA. Supported by VHCB and USDA-NRCS.

 

large greenhouses, farm fields, and farm buildings - Monkton - VLTMonkton: Sam Burr and Eugenie Doyle of Last Resort Farm have been stewarding their conserved farm for decades. Their son Silas Burr-Doyle, who grew up on the farm, has become farm manager and will eventually take over the business. This year, Sam and Eugenie added key protections to their 269-acre farm: they conserved land along Pond Brook and included legal protections to make sure the land stays in farming. They also gifted 80 acres of important wetlands to the Town of Monkton that will become part of the Pond Brook Natural Area. Supported by VHCB and the Town of Monkton.

 

Monkton: Charles and Mary Huizenga conserved 360 acres of open fields and woodland and sold it to Ben Miner. Ben runs a forage business and has rented the farm for the past few years. The land has several streams whose banks will be kept wooded to support clean water and reduce erosion. Supported by VHCB, USDA-NRCS, and the Town of Monkton.

 

Montgomery & Belvidere: Thirty Acres Woodlands LLC protected a large stretch of forestland with high-quality timber and diverse habitat for wildlife. Protecting these 2,775 acres ensures the woods will store carbon, protect clean water, and help our landscape adapt in a changing climate. The land will also remain open for hiking, skiing, hunting, and more.

 

woods - Richford - VLTRichford: Cora Mae Smith conserved over 100 acres of woodland west of the Green Mountains, near the border with Canada. The land is part of a large network of protected forest that provide important space for wildlife to move and travel. Supported by Cold Hollow to Canada.

 

 

river with woods on either side and rocks on banks - Ripton - VLTRipton: Long-time naturalists Barbara and Warren King conserved 80 wooded acres. The land borders the Middle Branch of the Middlebury River, has wetlands and swamps important to wildlife, and adjoins Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf campus and the Green Mountain National Forest.

 

hay meadow with trees and hills in the distance - Underhill - VLTUnderhill: When the Town of Underhill bought and conserved popular sledding destination Casey’s Hill back in 2005, the scenic meadow at its base remained privately owned by the Tomasi family. When the family decided it was time to sell, they wanted to make sure the land would stay open and be protected. VLT and the Jericho Underhill Land Trust helped the Town of Underhill buy and conserve the 17-acre meadow and add it to the beloved recreation spot. Supported by VHCB, Town of Underhill, Jericho Underhill Land Trust, and many individuals.

 

river with trees alongside and farm fields beyondWeybridge: Monument Farms conserved nearly 100 acres along the Lemon Fair River in support of clean water. They also protected 160 acres of adjacent farmland. The land along the river was enrolled in a USDA NRCS program for water quality. NRCS will work with Monument Farms to restore the floodplain to its natural state, which will help to retain floodwater and improve wildlife habitat. Supported by VHCB and USDA-NRCS. Learn more.