The Nature Conservancy and the Vermont Land Trust announced today the successful completion of the land conservation project known as Raven Ridge. The ridge and associated wetlands and forest cover 362 acres at the intersection of Charlotte, Monkton and Hinesburg.
Funding for the project came from multiple sources including a $217,200 grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and $500,000 from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to protect critical habitat for the federally endangered Indiana bat. Local support for the project included grants from conservation funds in all three towns, a $40,000 grant from Charlotte Land Trust, and more than 200 supporters in all three towns who gave individual gifts. The total value of the project is $1.2 million.
Joan Allen, Associate Director of Land Protection with The Nature Conservancy said, “This was an incredibly complex deal to bring to a close, with state and federal funding partners and a very generous land donation from Raven Davis and Ed Everts, landowners in Charlotte and Hinesburg. It feels fabulous to bring this project home, thanks to the great support and encouragement we have received from all three towns and many local residents.”
The natural area will be owned by The Nature Conservancy and will stretch from Lewis Creek south along a scenic ridge to a large wetland complex south of Rotax Road in Monkton. The land is home to a great variety of wildlife, such as moose, bear, bobcats, ravens, mink, otter, beaver and the federally endangered Indiana bat. Over the years avid birder Raven Davis has seen 142 species of birds here, and is still looking for more!
Graduate students from UVM’s place-based landscape analysis class, led by Professor Walter Poleman who is also a trustee of Vermont Land Trust, spent the last semester completing a thorough analysis of the geology, ecology, cultural and natural resources found at Raven Ridge. At a presentation Monday to a group of more than 40 the class discussed the history of the land and presented management recommendations. The students, describing the ridgeline as a once exposed island surrounded by the Champlain Sea and its importance to humans for many thousands of years, ended with a commentary that we are one more link in a long line of people entrusted with its care.
The property’s exposed ridges offer spectacular views of farmland, mountain ranges, and Lake Champlain. Stewardship staff from The Nature Conservancy, with the assistance of local volunteers will be working this summer to mark boundaries, establish a trail route and build a small parking area for visitors.
For printable directions to Raven Ridge, click here.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.