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What does stewardship staff do? It’s a question we often get!

We meet with landowners, answer questions about their conservation easements, formally approve things they want to do on the land, and make sure everything is in line with the easements.

But more than this, we partner with landowners.

If the tax burden is getting too much, we may offer information about the Current Use program or supply a handout on grieving tax assessments. For landowners considering timber managerment, we give names of trusted foresters and some advice on what to expect and how to proceed. We help with identifying invasive plants; some of us even spend a bit of time during each visit pulling up a few of the obnoxious buggers.

In this section we share stories about our day-to-day experiences with you. As always, please contact us with questions or suggestions.

 

two men walking in woods

Stories From the Field

altBy Cara Montgomery, co-Regional Stewardship Manager for the Champlain Valley

The smell of spring is in the air and the leaves are perpetually dripping from recent rains. It is the time of year to go out and visit the Goldsmith property and take inventory of the comings and goings in the forest.

Lynda Goldsmith conserved her Fairfax land in 2007. Lynda is a botanist and lover of wildlife and she manages her 338-acre forest to encourage a diversity of species. On her property, you run into signs of deer, coyotes, fishers, weasels, raccoons, an abundance of different birds, and— most interesting to me—a host of amphibians that lay their eggs in vernal pools.

On my yearly visit, I enjoy giving her the update on how everyone in the woods is faring. I am particularly interested in how all the critters that breed and live in the vernal pools are doing since this is the most delicate resource on Lynda’s land.

altBy Kerry Doyle, Regional Stewardship Manager for southeastern Vermont

One of the things I enjoy most about my job is visiting the same properties and landowners over the years and seeing the changes on their land.

I first met with Michael Knapp on his conserved property in Guilford in 2006. Originally conserved in 1992 by Addison Minott, the Knapps purchased this 36-acre property in 1994. The property is mostly fields that contain high quality agricultural soils. The Green River runs along its western boundary. Over the years, the Knapps have raised beef cows on the property and pastured sheep. Currently a neighboring farmer hays the fields.

During our visit, Michael and I walked a path winding along the river and discussed land management issues. He shared his concerns for the invasive plants choking out the native vegetation along the river banks. I gave him a brochure and contact information for the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) administered through NRCS and information on an upcoming workshop dealing with invasive species management.

By Pieter van Loon, Stewardship Forester for southern Vermont

Bill and Catherine Telgen and their sons conserved their farm in Shoreham in 1996. About five years later, a logger knocked on Bill’s door and said he would like to buy the timber from the farm’s woodlot. It was a typical Addison county woodlot: only 15 of the 350 acres were wooded. The logger was invited in, sat around the table, and explained what would happen, how much Bill would be paid, and even wrote out a contract.

I've really enjoyed my conversations with Bill; I think part of the reason for that is because he is such a common sense kind of a guy. This being the case, he didn’t sign the contract and let the logger go ahead; instead, he told the guy he would think about it and call him in a week. The next day Bill called me.

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