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Field Notes: Surveying the Damage

Posted Friday, January 6, 2023
NewsStoriesCady Hill ForestGrandview FarmJoe’s Pond

Grandview Barn. Photo by Tom Rogers.

A pre-holiday punch

“Bomb cyclone: 1 dead, thousands without power heading into icy night on Vermont’s roadways” declared Vermont Digger on December 23rd, 2022. The Stowe Reporter wrote “nearly 80 percent of municipal electrical customers [lost] power at one point.” And messages to Stowe Land Trust have been pouring in: “Did you know that part of the Grandview barn roof is gone?” “There are hundreds of trees down!” Wild winter storms are nothing new for Vermonters, but there is growing evidence that they will become more common in the future. 

There is a flip side to the story, though: changes are coming, but what they mean for us as a local community will depend largely on how we choose to respond to them. Personally, I believe that we have some unique opportunities in Stowe to pack in a few climate-related counterpunches and give back to the land and one another at the same time. To actually make our community stronger and our lands more resilient than they might have otherwise been.

Looking for the light

“I’m thrilled to be a new SLT Land Steward!” Brent told me as we worked to clear down trees at the Joe’s Pond property this week. The storm had strewn some trees across the yellow trail. Some of those trees were previously weak, and their demise has left gaps in the canopy for new vegetation to flourish. At the same time, by leaving the chunked-up pieces onsite, the decaying wood is replenishing the soil. And, getting out there to clear the trees left both Brent and I feeling healthier and more connected to each other, to other walkers on the property, and to Joe’s Pond. Giving back simply feels good.

“Stowe property saved: Land trust to buy unique 750-acre parcel”, declared a 2019 press release about Brownsville Forest. Drawing new lines on old maps is a powerful way to respond positively to a changing climate. Land conservation and sound land management, along with reducing our individual and collective community emissions, is demonstratively one of the most natural and productive counterpunches we have to combatting severe weather at a local scale. 

With big challenges come big opportunities. Opportunities not just to make the world a better place, but also to have fun while we are doing it. So, whether you’d like to become a volunteer Land Steward, join our small team of dedicated chainsaw volunteers (email us if you are interested in learning more), help us fund or socially promote the next land conservation project, or throw a different counterpunch all your own, we invite you to join us in creating a brighter future for everyone. 

By Carolyn Loeb, Conservation Program Manager

We are aware of storm damage at the following properties: Grandview Farm, Crawford Forest, Joe's Pond, Cady Hill Forest, Strawberry Hill Farm, Burnham Farm, Adams Forest, and Maple Run. If you see damage elsewhere on Stowe Land Trust-conserved lands, please let us know!