Category Archives: Uncategorized

Act 59: Public Meeting to Review Vermont’s Draft Conservation Inventory on Thursday, June 27th

As part of the Act 59 implementation process, the Vermont Conservation Strategy Initiative (VCSI) team is hosting a virtual public meeting at 4:00 pm on June 27, 2024 to review the draft inventory of conserved lands in Vermont. Register today!

The “Community Resilience and Biodiversity Protection Act” (CRBPA, or Act 59), was passed by the legislature last July, and commits Vermont to the goal of conserving 30 percent of its land by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050. The bill requires the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB), in consultation with the Agency of Natural Resources, to develop an inventory of conserved lands that takes stock of existing conservation data and practices, public and professional perspectives, and opportunities and avenues for future conservation.

As part of this process, VCSI has collected stakeholder input through surveys, focus groups, interviews, and roundtables, including two sessions with conservation commissions – an in-person meeting at Waitsfield Town Hall on March 20th and a virtual focus group hosted by the AVCC on March 27th. The upcoming June 27th meeting represents yet another opportunity for commission members to share their thoughts and perspectives on this historic legislation.

The inventory, which represents a culmination of all the VCSI work to date, is required to be submitted for review to the House Committees on Environment and Energy and on Agriculture, Food Resiliency, and Forestry and the Senate Committee
on Natural Resources and Energy by July 1st, 2024. A statewide conservation plan that details the strategies for biodiversity protection and land management that will enable the state to reach its 30 x 30 and 50 x 50 conservation goals is due to the legislature by December 31st, 2025.

You can find out more about the Act 59 implementation process by visiting the VCSI website at

AVCC Announces 2023 Tiny Grant Recipients

The Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions (AVCC) is pleased to announce that this year’s Tiny Grant funding will support projects directed by the conservation commissions in Bolton, Jericho, Putney and Richford.

The Tiny Grants program provides seed money or matching funds to conservation commissions for land conservation, education and outreach, stewardship and management, and planning activities. Conservation commissions are non-regulatory bodies designed to advise planning commissions and select boards on natural resources issues.

Here are more details about the winning projects:

Bolton – Funding will allow the commission to construct a 70′ raised boardwalk on the primary access trail to the 403-acre Preston Pond Conservation Area that will reduce trail degradation and maintain beaver habitat. The boardwalk, which will be built by town volunteers, will make the trail accessible year-round.

Jericho – Looking to build on a project started in 2022, the commission will use Tiny Grant funds to expand the pollinator garden in front of Town Hall and install fencing to prevent soil compaction. The JCC will also conduct an educational campaign to inform residents and visitors about the ecological importance of trees in the life cycle of insects, birds, and other native species.

Putney – Funds will be used to purchase special girdling knives and uprooter tools to remove buckthorn from trails in the 50-acre East Putney Forest Block. Once the trails are restored, the commission plans to highlight the conservation value of this parcel, which serves as an important wildlife corridor connecting forested land on either side of Route 5.

Richford – The commission will use its Tiny Grant to purchase flowering shrubs, trees, wildflower seeds, and mulch as it partners with students at Richford Elementary School to create a pollinator garden and raise broader awareness in the community of the benefits of wildlife-friendly native plants.

AVCC also proudly supports the work of conservation commissions by hosting an annual summit for community volunteers engaged in planning and caring for Vermont’s natural resources. As with the past few years, AVCC will be hosting a virtual summit in 2023. More details – including the date and agenda for that event – to follow.

To stay in the loop about conservation initiatives happening near you, or to share your events with other conservation commissions, subscribe to our listserv by emailing


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,, 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.

AVCC Annual Meeting Set for November 7 at Vermont Technical College

This year, the Association of Vermont Conservation Commission’s annual “conservation Summit” is being held in cooperation with the Town Forest Partnership to celebrate 100 years of town forests in VT. The day-long conference will feature several concurrent sessions offering trainings and presentations across four themes (Story Telling, Managing the Resource, Managing the People, Hot Topics), as well as a keynote address by Peter Forbes, an award ceremony for AVCC & Town Forest Heroes, and an ice cream social. It will be held at Vermont Technical College in Randolph on Saturday,  November 7th from 8:30-4pm.