2020 Conservation Summit: Conservation in the time of COVID-19

A fall webinar series exploring the changes and successes in our conservation work since the pandemic

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The current moment is one of incredible change in our conservation work due to the pandemic. Conservation commissions (CCs) have altered how they hold meetings and events. In our session on Success Stories, you’ll hear the practical steps CCs have taken to continue to get work done. Some of the change of this moment has been more personal. While in quarantine, many of us escaped to town owned lands and other natural areas to get away and connect with the natural world. Join our session on the Value of Town Forests to hear how we may think differently about these values. And some of the change we’re seeing today is because of the racial awakening and reckoning that’s taking place with confronting our own institutional racism. In Perspectives on Land Access, Equity and Conservation, we’ll hear from an Abenaki leader as well as a new American perspective on how we can do conservation work differently. In our session on Agriculture and Clean Water, we’ll address the change needed in our land management to better protect the water resources we’ve got.

As a culmination of the series, Dr. Paul Costello, Executive Director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development will bring this all together in his talk titled Resilience and Change: Conservation and Community in a Renewed Vermont.

Please join us! Register below.

You help make our programming possible. Please consider a sponsorship or donation.

To make an individual donation, please use the box below.
To sponsor the summit on behalf of your organization or company, email vtconservation@gmail.com.
Thank you for your support!

Amount: USD

We Thank Our Wonderful Sponsors!

Ecopixel (CMS Web Developer in Vermont)
Front Porch Forum
Lintilhac Foundation
The Nature Conservancy in Vermont
Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission
Trust for Public Land
Vermont Association of Planning and Development Agencies (VAPDA)
Vermont Land Trust
Vermont Natural Resources Council

Session descriptions

Resilience and Change: Conservation and Community in a Renewed Vermont
November 11 @ 7pm
View recording here!

Paul Costello, Executive Director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD), delivered a keynote on conservation and community in a renewed Vermont. You’ll leave the talk with visions of a Vermont where universal broadband internet, universal childcare, a flourishing of mutual aid, and more allow our communities to grow and cultivate resilience. Click here to access Community Leadership in Action: A Vermont Guide to Community Engagement, Project Development, & Resources, which Costello referenced in his talk.

AVCC also conducted its annual business meeting and bid adieu to Board Chair Nancy Everhart, who recently celebrated her retirement from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB). Click here to view a recording of the session.


Value of Town Forests, Especially NOW!
Wednesday, September 23 at 12pm
View recording here!


In this webinar, we’ll take a look at several town lands to see how their value has changed and stayed the same in this time of COVID-19. Some areas have seen recent spikes in usage that are exacerbating age-old problems of social trails and trampling. Yet the value of these lands as refuge, as a place of wonder and calm among all the craziness, has become more clear for many of us over these last months.

Nick Warner, Winooski Valley Park District
Ethan Tapper, Chittenden County Forester
Elaine Wang, Town of Barre

Click here to view a recording of this session.

New Conservation Success Stories
Wednesday, October 7 at 12pm
View recording here!

Worcester Range

In this session, we’ll highlight Conservation Success during COVID-19 and hope to show off a range of activities that Conservation Commissions and other town entities have engaged in that are moving things forward while also keeping folks safe. One aspect of that is the movement toward virtual meetings and speaking to the art form of successfully hosting online public meetings, another is adapting events to be a-synchronous or physically distanced. Learn how these commissions have been able to do so much and still stay safe.

Jens Hilke, VT Fish & Wildlife Department
Rick Evans, Race to the Top, Bradford Conservation Commission
Darren Schibler, Planner, Town of Essex Vt
Linda Hecker, Guilford Conservation Commission

Wednesday, 10/7/20
Click here to view a recording of this session.

Perspectives on Land Access, Equity and Conservation: What Role Can Conservation Commissions Play?
View recording here!

Farming hands

This panel is an opportunity to challenge our members to think about the inclusivity of our conservation efforts and how we can better integrate more perspectives into our work as town commissions. In particular, panelists will discuss barriers to land access for BIPOC Vermonters and efforts underway to promote equity and ownership.

Chief Donald Stevens, Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk – Abenaki Nation
Olivia Peña, Vermont Releaf Collective
Kenya Lazuli, Radical Imagination Projects

Wednesday, 10/21/20
Click here to view a recording of this session.

Agriculture & Clean Water
View recording here!

Wheeler Stream Outlet

Did you know that you can play a role in encouraging more sustainable, resilient and clean-water-friendly farming in your town? Learn about the impact of agriculture on water quality in Vermont and discover opportunities to educate and celebrate your farming neighbors. Learn how to identify potential projects for water quality improvement and connect with organizations that can help move these projects forward.

Kristen Balschunat, Conservation Specialist, Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District (NRCD)

Wednesday, 11/04/2020
Click here to view a recording of this session.