Green Mountain Conservancy Land Conservation Fund

by Green Mountain Conservancy Inc
Green Mountain Conservancy Land Conservation Fund
Green Mountain Conservancy Land Conservation Fund
Green Mountain Conservancy Land Conservation Fund
Green Mountain Conservancy Land Conservation Fund
Green Mountain Conservancy Land Conservation Fund
Green Mountain Conservancy Land Conservation Fund
Green Mountain Conservancy Land Conservation Fund
Green Mountain Conservancy Land Conservation Fund
Green Mountain Conservancy Land Conservation Fund
Green Mountain Conservancy Land Conservation Fund
Green Mountain Conservancy Land Conservation Fund
Green Mountain Conservancy Land Conservation Fund
Green Mountain Conservancy Land Conservation Fund
Green Mountain Conservancy Land Conservation Fund

Project Report | Feb 17, 2024
Old Oaks Headwaters Preserve, Marlboro, Vermont

By Mary Ellen Copeland | President, Green Mountain Conservancy

Mixed Forest Glade
Mixed Forest Glade

As we become more and more aware of climate change and its potential effect on the natural world, the Green Mountain Conservancy is raising funds to increase its efforts to conserve large forested blocks for biodiversity protection, carbon sequestration and storage, and climate mitigation.  In the past several years the Conservancy has acquired and conserved over 1,000 acres in southern Vermont.  Its current major project is the acquisition and protection in perpetuity of the Old Oaks Headwater Preserve, a well-known and loved forest in Marlboro, VT, part of a 3,500 acre forest block.  Conservation of this forest will contribute to state and national conservation goals of 30% of state land conserved by 2030 and 50% conserved by 2050. 

The cost of this project is $500,000. That may sound like a high price tag but this forest is priceless.  The owners could sell it for development for a lot more money and the forest would be destroyed.  Thankfully they have decided to sell it as a Preserve to be conserved.  We are grateful to the sellers, to the people who are giving there time and expertise to raise that needed funds, and to the townspeople and others who are contributing to this project. 

The Old Oaks Headwaters Preserve is the headwaters of the Green River watershed, with waters flowing into Harrisville Brook and Pond Brook and then into the Green River.  The 200-acre parcel includes a diversity of landscapes and natural community types, with fine examples of northern hardwood forest, wetlands, and talus slopes. Trails on this land have been used for generations for hiking, cross country skiing, educational programs and experiencing the natural world.

Tree species in this magical forest consist primarily of sugar maple, yellow birch, American beech, red maple, black cherry, red oak, white ash, red spruce, and eastern hemlock. Many of the trees are 80-150 years old, while other patches of forest have trees with estimated ages of 150-200 years, and some, even older, ancient trees that were here when the settlers arrived in the 1700's. There are many large diameter trees, along with downed woody material and snags, extensive pillow and cradle topography, large gaps in the tree canopy that support new growth and varied vegetation.  No commercial logging has occurred on the property since the 1930's.  As a result, this forest makes a major impact on carbon sequestration, stores significant carbon and provides climate resilience for all species, from the smallest fungi to large mammals, including lush examples of a wide variety of botanical species. 

This land is part of a critical wildlife corridor system that extends across southern Vermont from the Green Mountains to the Connecticut River.  Bear, moose, and bobcatdepend on this corridor for their protection and sustenance.  Otehr wildlife  in the Preserve include  porcupine,  white tail deer,  beaver, a variety of migratory songbirds and many resident bird species.   A beech mast stand has over 20 bear-clawed beech trees.  Ledge and talus areas are well-used for den sites for porcupine and bobcat.  Wetlands include meadows and ponds with beaver activity, rushing streams, and vernal pools.  There are two state significant occurrences of Red Spruce-Cinnamon Fern Swamp, and a large population of Massachusetts Fern.  Spring ephemerals include trout lily, red and painted trillium, and spring beauty. 

The  Preserve is centrally located in the forest block.  The Vermont Conservation Design designates this  block as Highest Priority for its habitat connectivity and surface waters.   The Nature Conservancy Resilient Design tool ranks the parcel above the regional average for climate resilience and carbon storage in the face of climate change. 

This land is in close proximity to other lands protected from development through Vermont Land Trust easements in Marlboro.  Conserved lands of the Hogback Mountain Conservation Area, Ames Hill-Marlboro Community Center (forested land around South Pond), Whittemore-Paton Trust, and several individual landowners, form a ring of conserved lands around the proposed Old Oaks Headwaters Preserve.  It is clear that conservation of this land will inspire further conservation efforts within this important forest block. 

In working on this project, the Conservancy has partnered with  the Vermont River Conservancy who will co-hold an easement on the property with the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Marlboro Foundation, Inc., Farm & Forest Climate Initiative, the Marlboro Conservation and Planning Commissions; Potash Hill, Inc. ; Marlboro Nordic Ski Club, Inc. and Hogback Mountain Conservation Association. 

One of many large Hemlock Trees
One of many large Hemlock Trees
Active Beaver Pond
Active Beaver Pond

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Organization Information

Green Mountain Conservancy Inc

Location: W Dummerston, VT - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Mary Ellen Copeland
W Dummerston , VT United States
$3,804 raised of $10,000 goal
 
90 donations
$6,196 to go
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