Monday, June 30, 2008

Getting our hands dirty

This week was jam-packed with different projects! Switching gears and keeping positive attitudes were the themes of the week. We were kept busy putting our previous skills to use and developing new ones. We went from field work and collecting data, to compiling and organizing a way to present our findings, and even started new projects.

We finished up data collection from Ethan Allen Park and started some office work.

Our first full office day! With great days out in the field it was time to get to the nitty-gritty task of making GIS maps and organizing our information into a more presentable manner. In the afternoon, we spoke with Tom Hark, founding president of Vermont Youth Conservation Corps at the Monitor barn in Richmond. We discussed our projects and what it is like to be a LANDS intern. This was a way for the VYCC to see our goals and possibly incorporate this innovation internship for future land stewards.

Switching gears, we headed out of town early for a new project in Tunbridge working with the Upper Valley Land Trust and New Acadia Farm. We met with Monica of UVLT and landowner, Robin Russell, to learn more about the organization and the task ahead. Robin is interested in options to conserve her land and our job is to search out the property for special cultural and natural features and to get a sense of what is on this 280 acre parcel of land. The group split up and we spent the day investigating the property and mapping the trails. So far, we have worked with projects on the stewardship side and conducted monitoring assessments, but this is an interesting project for us to see how conservation works on the acquisition side.

We were a generous distance from Burlington and Robin of New Acadia Farm was gracious enough to allow us to camp out, which let us get another full day in the field. We got up early to enjoy a beautiful morning birding with Walter Poleman, faculty at UVM and director of the PLACE program. We spent the next part of the morning reflecting as a group on what we found the previous day, what we want our final product to look like, and how to get there together. After getting our bearings together, we split up into groups to tackle different geographic regions. In two full field days we have a lot to compile before we head back next week!

Again, switching gears, in the morning we met with Deane Wang, faculty at UVM to discuss the carbon market for a future project at Little Hogback Community Forest. In the afternoon, we headed out to Jericho Research Forest to scope out another project with Kate and Forest of the Agency of Natural Resources. We learned about the complexities of mitigation easements and discussed what they wanted to be completed for this parcel. With limited time and resources, this property hasn’t been properly monitored and our job will be to create a map of the trails, properly mark boundaries, and possibly map deer wintering habitat. We ended the week with a reflection on how our impressions of conservation have change over the past four weeks.

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