Green Mountain Conservacy’s Youth Empowerment Project breathed new life into one of Deer Run Nature Preserve’s beaver ponds this summer. Over a span of nine days, a diverse crew of 19 adolescents from 10 different towns worked over 750 crew hours to clear a three-acree thicket of buckthorn from a fragile wetland beaver pond and propagated hundreds of willow cuttings in their place.

Anyone who knows buckthorn knows that if left unchecked it will leave a thriving biodiverse ecosystem, such as a wetland, completely devoid of life by choking out the native plants that feed and house a throng of wildlife like beavers, turtles, frogs, salamanders, as well as a wide range of bird and insect species.

Crew members came away with knowledge of beaver pond and wetland ecology, honed their teamwork skills and made a few new friends during this stressful, uncertain time of COVID-19. GMC Board members Dan Dubie and Melissa Lee were joined by Natasha Diamondstone-Kahout and Monica Murphy in leading the effort. The Youth Empowerment Project was made possible by the generous support of the Thomas Thompson Trust, George W. Mergens Foundation, Agnes M. Lindsay Trust, and the Robin Colson Memorial Foundation

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