Monday, June 20
Week 4! Wow this summer is going by incredibly fast. Today was split into two tasks. The first of which was beginning the write-up of the Rockville Market Farm and the Whole Farm Assessment project. As mentioned earlier the Whole Farm Assessment is a way to show the larger value of a farm besides the market value of the food it produces. We spent much of the morning brainstorming and planning what the assessment would look like. After, we began to work on tasks such as map-making and writing.
In the afternoon, we were introduced to our next project: an assessment of the Colloredo-Mansfeld property. Our graduate leader, Zac, had previously done a short assessment of the property with a few colleagues. Excited by the findings, the property owner, Susanna, hired LANDS to go into greater depth with an assessment. We split into three groups to assess the property: public access, agriculture/permaculture, and natural communities. We were all very excited to see the property the next day.
Tuesday, June 21 (Summer Solstice!)
With the opportunity of extended sunlight because of the solstice we decided we would do all of our fieldwork for the Colloredo-Mansfeld project in one day. What a long day it was! But it was hard to complain being at such a magical place. The property is 120 acres with forests, fields, ponds, and beaver meadows, and it is absolutely gorgeous.
She described the reasons why she bought it (to protect it from development) and how it came to be a conservation easement with the Vermont Land Trust. It was a hard day of work put in by everyone, but we still had time to have fun picking wild strawberries and observing the wildlife!
Wednesday, June 22
After a long day of fieldwork it was nice to spend the entire day in the office. Today we began to brainstorm what we wanted in the assessment. Most of the day was devoted to research, writing, map-making, and brainstorming. The group responsible for researching historical features found some very interesting information in the special collections
section of the library. The more we learn about the property the more apparent it is that it is a very special place.
Today begins the bulk of the work on the assessment of the Colloredo-Mansfeld. We began the day discussing what each group would be presenting in the write-up. We then discussed the structure of how the write-up would look. After this the groups split off to continue researching, writing, and map-making. The report is finally taking form and it is exciting to see it come together.
We began the day talking with Denis Schaffer - Vice President of Stewardship at Vermont Land Trust (VLT). We talked about VLT’s Common Lands program, which is designed to make VLT’s owned properties more accessible to the public and to encourage new innovative ideas for managing their properties. We plan on incorporating this new idea into our recommendations for the Colloredo-Mansfeld property.
After a bit more guidance from Denis we continued writing our assessment of the Colloredo-Mansfeld property, which we plan finishing on Monday. Until then, keep it locked!