Members of the Dummerston Conservation Commission and the volunteers who work alongside them adopt, design, and carry out a number of conservation-minded projects throughout each year. At any given time, a small handful of projects are getting our little group’s focused attention–you can explore our efforts in the “Current Projects” section below. Likewise, we have several ongoing initiatives in support of local environmental education and preservation of indigenous species, as well as efforts to address invasive species negatively impacting the Dummerston, VT region. And we keep a “Project Archive” alive as well, knowing that commissioners and community members alike may find need or joy in revisiting our past work.

Current Projects

At the moment, our commission members are leading several efforts of their own devising, at the behest of the town itself, and as part of broader state and regional efforts. Learn more about these top priorities below!

Milkweed Citizen Science Project for Monarch Butterflies

In the spring of 2020, Commissioner Judy Fink launched a species conservation project, directly from her garden! Having planted a specific variety of monarch-favored milkweed and noting the butterflies were exhibiting a preference for it, Judy designed a citizen-science initiative to see if collective planting of Swamp Milkweed could positively affect monarch butterfly populations in our local area.

It’s been an enthusiastic community effort, about to enter its second season in the spring of 2021. Find more information with some helpful videos and keep track of the ongoing project on our Monarch Butterfly page!

EAB Roadside Ash Tree Survey

The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation — along with its compatriots throughout the region — has become increasingly concerned about the threat of the Emerald Ash Borer to regional forest lands and arboreal life within our towns and cities. Fully 10% of Vermont’s tree life consists of ash varieties, and predictions are for greater than 90% mortality among ash trees within the next decade. This invasive insect presents a real threat to forest health, with impacts on biodiversity throughout the associated ecosystems. Likewise, tree die-off presents a significant public safety threat and public expense.

The Dummerston Conservation Commission has enlisted in the Roadside Ash Inventory initiative designed and supported by the Dept. of Forestry. Our goal is to manually survey the rights-of-way along all of Dummerston’s town-managed roadways, digitally collecting location, size, and health statistics on all the ash trees found within the ROW. The initial survey data will be provided to the state database, as well as to our town highway department and utility companies.

Our hope is to follow up on the initial data collection each year to monitor ash tree health in the town and to monitor the progression of the emerald ash borer within the town limits.

We’ll have a new page dedicated to our Emerald Ash Borer Roadside Ash Inventory project soon!

Roadside Ecologies Map

This project began with an email from a local resident to members of our commission. A sensitive ecological niche along a roadside had inadvertently been damaged in the process of some necessary roadwork. Few of us can immediately differentiate a critical habitat from a simple puddle, so after we elevated the issue to the Select Board and our highway superintendent both eagerly requested we provide a quick-reference map highlighting areas where the road crews should pay additional attention to how they carry out their duties.

We’re refining the map below and eager to lend long-term support to the fantastic people working for the town.

More to come on this project in the near future!

What do you think?

Have any thoughts on our existing projects? Or ideas for future projects we might pursue in support of local conservation efforts? Send us an email!