Formation of the Montgomery Conservation Commission
The Montgomery Conservation Commission was created in 2010 with the assistance of a regional conservation partnership, Cold Hollow to Canada, that works to conserve the northern forest and assist conservation commissions. The partnership provided advice and mentoring to get the Montgomery Conservation Commission started.
A group of interested town members proposed creating the commission at town meeting, framing it as 'our town is beautiful and unique and if there are things we can do to help preserve the character of the place we call home then we want to do them.'
They did not ask for funding the first year, which helped to win support at town meeting and get the commissioned formed. That first year the commission worked on projects they could do with little capitol, focused on outreach and increasing people's awareness of natural resources and the issues that surround them. These outreach events took the form of volunteer projects to remove invasive species, woods walks, apple tree pruning, etc. Cold Hollow to Canada helped the commission come up with ideas and mobilized community resources. Local experts in natural resource fields volunteered to lead talks and individuals passionate about certain projects were empowered to pursue them. All of these projects served to educate the public about natural resources, the conservation commission, and get successes under their belt.
At the next town meeting the conservation commission asked for, and was granted, funding from the town. They used that money to bring in other partners and continue outreach efforts to build upon common values within the town. For example, the Vermont Institute for Natural Sciences (VINS) came to Montgomery to do a raptor program.
The commission is working to build community wide support by asking towns people to become 'members' by contributing money, which gets them on a mailing list to receive updates on what the commission has done and is hoping to do.
The Montgomery Conservation Commission has focused on outreach and education in order to get residents to recognize the importance of the natural resources around them. By focusing on education the commission is building a community that has shared values and knowledge, and from that base the commission hopes to build conservation projects that can be broadly supported by community members.
Cold Hollow to Canada
Staying Connected Initiative
Fish and Wildlife
Vermont Land Trust
[critical_to_success] => * Having a committed volunteer base, both board and community members, who are motivated and dedicated.
* Knowing your human resources and how to utilize them ' experts to lead field walks, motivated individuals willing to work on a specific project
* Show case you successes, let people know what you've done and how successful they've been. Get information about the commission in the town report: your budget and a report of what we've done, what you want to do. Get articles in newspaper.
* Effectively publicize about upcoming events through email list serves (Montgomery used town list serves, a local mountain bike club, etc.), fliers, and the community calendar (make postings as flashy as possible with limited text)
* Finding a core volunteer group that has the time and motivation to work with the commission is an ongoing challenge. Everyone is busy, so time is a really limitation to getting stuff done. It's been important for the Montgomery Conservation Commission to recognize the issue and not let it become a stressor or a problem.
* Funding is an ongoing issue, finding the right balance between getting important work done and staying within the means of the community.
Cold Hollow to Canada