Exploring East End Development Potential

By Sally Miller

The East End Action Group (EEAG) of Sustainable Woodstock continues to work on projects to revitalize the East End area. When the group was formed in 2009, the goal was to see some enhancement and development of under-utilized properties in that area. The group decided to focus first on improving the Village owned riverside property. With progress on the park moving forward, the EEAG has returned to the original goal of economic development.

In 2016 the EEAG produced the East End Development Opportunities package for the Woodstock Economic Development Commission (EDC). That document synthesized extensive information vital to evaluating the feasibility of any residential or commercial development in that area and included detailed information on parcel sizes, site and natural features, utilities, known environmental issues, and zoning regulations. (more…)

Water with Help from the Sun

By Sally Miller

Sustainable Woodstock has installed its first solar powered pump which will provide water at the Billings Farm community garden site on old River Road. For the last eight years, gardeners have been using hand pumps to pull water from the Barnard Brook and then they hauled the water to their gardens. Thanks to a recent grant from Catamount Solar gardeners now have a water source right at the gardens.

Designed by Amos Post of Integrity Energy, the system operates completely unattended. The slow pump is powered by a single post mounted 100 watt, 12 volt solar panel and draws water from the brook to an open tank at the edge of the garden. Obviously the pump works when the sun is shining which is typically when the garden needs it. On cloudy days, the gardens need less water. A float in the tank regulates the flow. The pump was installed at the end of this growing season, but gardeners are already excited about the potential for next year. (more…)

A New Appreciation for Old Forests

By Elle O’Casey

Bill Keeton, Professor of Forest Ecology and Forestry from the University of Vermont was a guest at last month’s Working Woodlands workshop at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. The workshop was cosponsored by Sustainable Woodstock, Vermont Woodlands Association and Vermont Coverts. Vermont Coverts works with landowners across the state to gain their commitment to maintain and enhance diverse wildlife habitat and healthy ecosystems. Professor Keeton’s talk, entitled “Forests, Carbon and Climate Resilience: Approaches for Woodland Management” looked at carbon sequestration, managing forests for carbon, managing for old growth forests, and the market-based context for carbon. Professor Keeton has been conducting long-term research at the park examining how the park forests store carbon. For his talk, Professor Keeton focused on northeastern forests, sharing more about their history and how they store carbon during various stages of growth. (more…)

There’s an App for That

By Elle O’Casey

It’s no surprise to seasoned Vermonters that Fall is on its way. Yet every year around this time, I get a bit angsty. I wonder just how cold it will be this winter. I hypothesize about peak foliage dates and whether the colors will be as good as I remember them from last year. But, above all, I grow fearful of “stick season”, that unsightly time of year Vermonters affectionately turned into an entire season celebrating bare branches and leaf-free woods. But to me, everything feels brown and somewhat raw. I grow worried I will not be able to tell one tree apart from another. Nerd Alert: I am the person who walks through the woods and gets an inordinate amount of joy from naming the species of trees I see along the way. If I know their name, I can consider them friends. In fact, I carry around a quote from John Muir that reads: “Whenever I met a new plant, I would sit down beside it for a minute or a day, to make its acquaintance, hear what it had to tell.” (more…)