Staff Blog

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This is a space where Foundation staff share their thoughts and musings on giving and community:

Of Forests and Reflections

Posted by: Elisabeth Marx on 12/22/2017

On a crisp day last weekend, as my husband, a good friend, and I hiked up a trail in Arlington, we talked about the generations of people who have traveled the trail, to forage and hunt, to observe birds and wildlife, or to visit friends or family. We enjoyed the realization that we have been walking it ourselves for at least 25 years, from the time our children were in packs on our backs.

This time of year often inspires reflection and, our hike up the icy trail made me think about how connected so many Vermonters are to our land and forests.

We work and play and raise our families in them. We depend on them for our livelihoods and our way of life. We gain so much of our determination, appreciation of beauty, and sense of purpose from engaging with the land through the seasons. They bring us peace and make us resilient. So it’s not surprising that we give our time, talent, and money to protect them.

In the year since I started working at the Community Foundation, one of my great pleasures has been to see how we work with many partners to protect our land. In just the past couple of weeks, I have seen many examples of this great work. I met with a volunteer land trust board whose endowment is with the Foundation to discuss how to increase their capacity to purchase and protect more land. I coordinated with a grantee of our High Meadows Fund that is offering landowners in southern Vermont advice on how to manage their forests for wildlife and sustainability. And, I worked with a fundholder on a grant to rebuild the Bromley Fire Tower. We are guided by our commitment to statewide vision and impact, while much of our philanthropic work is local and personal.

Next week, when I take my annual New Year’s Day forest hike with family and friends, I’ll be prepared with warm clothes and good gear. Most of all, I’ll be filled with a deep appreciation for the people who protect and manage Vermont forests and for those who so generously build the philanthropic capital to help make that possible now and into the future. 

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