Volunteers will partner with Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and Vermont Youth Conservation Corps to plant trees, water new plantings, and remove invasive species on one of the Department’s newest wildlife management areas. Join Department and VYCC staff for lunch and a conversation about the Windsor Grasslands WMA at 12:00pm. We’ll start working on projects at 1pm. Bring your own lunch and come for as long as you would like.
Equipment will be provided but we encourage you to bring your own tools including shovels, hand saws and lopping shears. Suitable work clothes and gloves are required.
Windsor Grassland WMA
1192 Marton Road
12:00 - 12:10pm – Opening remarks from Commissioner Porter
12:10 - 1:00pm – Lunch with Vermont Fish and Wildlife and VYCC staff
1:00 - 3:30pm – Project work: planting trees, watering new plantings, and invasive species removal
In 2015, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department started a voluntary habitat stamp program to protect, restore, and improve Vermont’s wild places. These are places that Vermont’s fish, wildlife, and plants depend on, places that birdwatchers, hunters, anglers, and others go to enjoy the outdoors. While the Department already manages 145,000 acres for these purposes through funding from hunting and fishing licenses and federal grants, the habitat stamp provides a new funding source to get projects over the finish line.
The first few years of the program have been successful and contributed to the protection of 3,200 acres through acquisition, the restoration of riparian areas, dam removal assessments, working with private landowners to enhance habitat, and the improvement of 8 acres of early successional habitat that provide food and shelter for wildlife.
The Windsor Grasslands Wildlife Management Area (WMA) restoration project is over five years in the making. Like much of Vermont, many features of the property were shaped by its long legacy of agricultural uses. Although the 100s of acres of fields on the property undoubtedly served many generations of Vermonters well, little previous attention had been given to the various water courses that crisscrossed it including several headwater streams that pass through an open field, unbuffered, before joining to form Hubbard Brook. While assessing the property prior to its acquisition by the Department, now retired fisheries biologist, Ken Cox, noted how beneficial it would be to the long-term health of the watershed to restore functioning riparian areas to each of the headwater streams that, in the absence of any natural buffer, were subject to impacts from excessive sun exposure and erosion. Now, five years later, the Department owns and manages the property as a WMA and the opportunity to put his vision to work is coming to fruition. Using funds from the habitat stamp program, the Department has partnered with the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) to battle the many invasive plants that have taken hold of the site and to establish a mix of native, wildlife friendly trees and shrubs in their place along 2.5 acres of land adjacent to the streams. Beyond the many benefits that will certainly be realized from protecting water quality and engaging youths and in this manner, it is hoped that the results of this effort will serve as a demonstration of the positive impact we can have on our environment when the will and funding come together to make it possible.
To register as a volunteer, go to: https://www.register-ed.com/events/view/130994-30-