Formation of The Richford Conservation Commission
In the 2008 the Cold Hollows to Canada organization and Jens Hilke, the Vermont State Conservation Planner, organized and held a community forum in Enosburgh, VT. During this community forum, members of the community were encouraged to look at maps of the area and circle places or resources that were of value to them. After circling many areas present on the maps, many of the forum attendees came to the realization that there were several places in their area that were of great value to them and that these places deserved protection. This is when a few members of the Richford community contacted Jens Hilke and invited him to help the town of Richford hold a community forum.
Jens Hilke and members of the community of Richford organized a community forum within their town and handed out paper surveys asking people to circle things that they value in their area. After this meeting, the town of Richford decided that they wanted to have a conservation commission within their town to reach out to the community about important ecological aspects of their environment. A town vote was put into place at the Richford town meeting and the public approved the formation of the Richford Conservation Commission. The town select board then approved five people as officers of the commission in 2009 and since then the group has been reaching out to the community.
The mission of the Richford Conservation Commission is to provide education and awareness to the public about important ecological elements in their area. This group is not funded and does not get much funding from the towns. However, they are able to hold programs and events for the public that are of little to no expense. For example, since 2009, the commission has conducted a study on vernal pools in Richford based on maps, worked with Cold Hollow's to Canada's wild path's tracking project, organized Christmas bird counts, and much more.
Citizen Science, Outreach
Forming the Richford Conservation Commission provided a platform to raise awareness, to the citizens of Richford, VT, about conservation in their area and why they should care about the protection of these valuable, environmental resources.
VT Fish & Wildlife Department
Montgomery Conservation Commission
Bakersfield Conservation Commission
Enosburgh Conservation Commission
Cold Hollow to Canada
Missisquoi River Basin Association
Arvin A. Brown Public Library
Richford Economic Advancement Corporation
Northern Forest Canoe Trail
UVM Extension Service
Covered Bridges Garden Club
Richford Beautification Committee
Richford Farmer's Market
In order to accomplish the formation of the Richford Conservation Commission, the support of the public was a necessity. Therefore, the town's positive attitude towards the formation of a town conservation commission and ultimately the community's participation in the town vote that decided whether or not the group would be established was most critical to the success of this formation.
The formation of Richford Conservation Commission did not encounter many challenges due to the community's support for conservation. However, the group has experienced some continuing challenges after the formation, such as a lack of time and a decreased interest in serving on the commission's board. The Richford Conservation Commission is run solely by volunteers that have full time jobs aside from their volunteer work. Therefore, the amount of time that each volunteer can spend working for the commission is limited.