January 12, 2022 - The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is pleased to partner with the Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions (AVCC) to announce a new handbook designed as a resource for Vermonters serving on municipal conservation commissions.
According to the department, approximately half of Vermont towns and cities have an active conservation commission. These local groups of volunteers take on a wide range of projects, from removing invasive species on town lands, to raising funds for conservation deals, to leading birding outings in their communities.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Vermonters who dedicate so much time and effort towards conservation in their communities,” says department conservation planning biologist Jens Hilke. “Conservation commissions can be the backbone of local efforts to protect fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats.”
The AVCC first published the document that serves as inspiration for this current handbook in the 1990s, to help volunteers sustain town conservation commissions.
Recognizing that it was time for an update, the AVCC began work on this second edition handbook in partnership with department conservation planning staff in the Community Wildlife Program.
In addition to a complete revision of the existing chapters on basics like starting a new conservation commission and creating a budget, the new edition includes sections on digital communications, partnering with outside organizations, and fundraising. These additions will help conservation commissions meet modern challenges, such as reaching new audiences and tackling climate change.
As former AVCC board chair Nancy Everheart writes in the new handbook’s foreword, “conservation has never felt more urgent – and this handbook will help inspire and support the people who help make it happen.”
“We’re especially excited to showcase examples of success stories from across the state that demonstrate how conservation commissions dreamed up and accomplished ambitious conservation projects,” adds Hilke. “Each chapter includes several of these inspiring stories.”
The newly revised handbook is available online on the AVCC website.