Author Archives: Jens Hilke

AVCC Gathers ‘Conservation Success Stories’

MONTPELIER, Vt. – In an era of forest fragmentation, declining species, and rising global temperatures, it can be difficult to remain hopeful about the future of the environment.  But the Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions (AVCC) is looking to show that Vermont’s grassroots conservation efforts are great examples of conservation successes.

The association is compiling Conservation Success Stories on their website, vtconservation.com, in an effort to demonstrate what works in conservation.  The stories include everything from streambank restoration projects to education programs that connect kids with nature.

Jens Hilke, a conservation planning biologist for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department serves on AVCC’s board.  According to Hilke, the board is hoping these success stories will serve as promising examples for others to follow.

“Amazing conservation work is happening at the local level in Vermont,” said Hilke.  “We’re asking local conservation groups to share your stories to build on this work and serve as a resource for other groups working on similar issues.  We want to know who you partnered with, what your challenges were, and what was critical to your success.”

One of the nearly 100 success stories currently on the website is the conservation of Zack Woods Pond and the surrounding 400 acres in Hyde Park, Vt.  Local residents had grown increasingly concerned about rampant trash dumping, out of control fires, and overused campsites on the land.  They formed Friends of Zack Woods and partnered with several statewide conservation organizations to work towards solving these issues.  In 2013, the state of Vermont accepted the property into the Green River Reservoir State Park, ensuring that these lands will remain forever conserved.

Karen Freeman is the conservation director for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and also serves on the board of the Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions.  According to Freeman, “Vermont’s local conservation commissions are defined by their willingness to work together and learn from each other.  These partnerships continue to strengthen the state’s conservation legacy, ensuring that Vermont’s wild places, outdoor recreational resources and working landscape will remain healthy and available for future generations.”

Vermont conservation groups looking to get information about past successes, or to share their stories with others, can access the Library of Conservation Success Stories HERE.