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Richmond Conservation News

Clearing the Way for a

New Dam at Gillett Pond!

Site Preparation Begins:
Early on a snowy January morning, a line of trucks rolled up to the Richmond Land Trust's Gillett Pond Preserve. Workers from DJ's Tree Service clambered out and were soon removing trees to clear the way for construction of its new dam and parking area.

The crew stayed within yellow ribbons marking the future construction area. Some trees growing out of the dam itself had to be taken down -- very carefully. Others were left in place to help screen the project and frame the Pond for passers-by.

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By day’s end the job was done. DJ's team and its feller buncher machine (see video) did an amazing job not only taking down some 80 trees in a very short time but also stacking the trimmed logs and cleaning up the debris. The trees growing directly out of the dam were cut without damaging the fragile stone structure and draining the Pond to an even lower level.

Patience Rewarded
Big Grant Won to Save Gillett Pond!

We were able to green-light the clearing of the construction area largely due to a $250,00 federal grant we obtained for saving Gillett Pond through the outstanding efforts of  Senator Leahy and his staff before he left office.


That support, combined with even more raised through local private and public donations, puts us on track to start work this summer on the project's first phase -replacing the dam proper. 


Following that we'll construct the parking area and landscape the area. We'll also establishe a stewardship fund for the dam’s long-term maintenance.


We don’t want to wait until the dam is complete to start raising those funds. You can help us reach this Phase 2 goal right now by donating to the project directly using our Network for Good form. Please be sure to write “Gillett Pond” in the “Designation” field. Of course, you can always mail a check directly to us at the address below. Please make checks payable to Richmond Land Trust and write “Gillett Pond” in the memo area. 

Thanks again so much for all of your support to date and for your further support for the completion of this highly important project for our community.

Warming Up Winter for Local Families

Clearing the dam construction site yielded a truckload of logs we donated to Wood4Good, an area non-profit that provides heating assistance to families in need.


So far this year they've given away over 140 loads of wood to Vermont families, including to some in Richmond and Huntington. If you know someone who might need heating assistance this winter, encourage them to contact the organization at (And thanks to Bob Low for the photo!)

Middle-Schoolers Pitch in
to Protect a Preserve
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For decades, the towering ferns and other plants and trees that make for such a striking -- and rare -- landscape at RLT's Beeken Rivershore Preserve have been under assault.

Highly aggressive, non-native plants are doing their best to elbow out the forest's ostrich ferns and silver maple trees -- along with the dozens of other native species that make the place so special.

Meanwhile, the Winooski River gnaws at its banks, as rivers will, threatening parts of the Rivershore Trail and even Cochran Road.

However, in recent years help has arrived when school buses unload scores of kids ready for hands-on lessons in ecology, land conservation and environmental stewardship.

Stopping the spread
Some 15 years ago, wildlife biologist Jon Kart volunteered his time to launch the Great Richmond Root-Out, aiming to control the spread of non-native plants throughout town. That's included bringing science students from Camel's Hump Middle School to the Preserve and other conserved lands in town not only to learn about their ecological importance but also to help protect them.

On a late May morning, for example, the CHMS Polaris team came to the Preserve. After a quick orientation from Jon the kids tore into stands of knotweed and clumps of garlic mustard. They also removed protective tubes around tree trunks in a grove Jon designed a few years ago to help anchor soils against the relentless efforts of the Winooski River to shift its course into the Preserve.
Other CHMS teams have tackled similar projects, such as cutting knotweed at the Town's Overocker Park, planting trees near the river at Volunteers Green and uprooting barberry bushes at the Preston Preserve. 

Thanks to Jon and the Great Richmond Root-Out program he founded -- as well to the CHMS students and teachers who've been so willing to pour their own energy into the project!


Pop Quiz!

How many times did people visit the Triple Buckets area of our Huntington River Gorge Preserve between late May and late August of 2021?

a. 127  b. 830  c. 1,263  d. 11, 141

The answer blew us away. It's "d" -- 11,141!

Congrats to RLT's Own Ethan Tapper

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RLT Board member and Chittenden County Forester has been named "Forester of the Year" by the U.S. Forest's Eastern Region. Given his constant outreach work, it's no surprise to us that Ethan was honored for his "outstanding public communications efforts in support of the region’s Forest Stewardship program."

As County Forester, Ethan manages our area's current use program in which some 800 parcels are enrolled -- plus forestry operations in about a dozen community forests, including Richmond's own Andrews Community Forest. He also serves as a resource for any forest landowner in the county. 

Use the button below to check out the County Forester channel on YouTube, established by Ethan. You'll find a variety of videos about local forests and their critical role in maintaining our area's ecological health.
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