The NorthWoods Stewardship Center’s Conservation Corps program has a 22-year history of employing local youth to work on priority conservation projects in communities throughout the region with a special focus on the northeast kingdom. The Corps builds and improves hiking trails, manages exotic invasive species, plants riparian buffers, and improves wildlife habitat, and supports ecosystem resilience.
This summer we welcomed our newest crew, the Watershed Crew to the multi-faceted Corps. This crew was tasked with completing projects in Vermont’s watersheds to improve water quality and they did an amazing job of it! The crew topped off their six-week water quality improvement program on Friday August 4th with an impressive display of spirit, fortitude, and grit at the end-of- season Conservation Corps Field Day.
“Being able to have this crew has been a huge opportunity for the community and for NWSC,” says
Conservation Corps Director Ross Stevens, “By funding this 6-week jobs program, the crew was able to focus on implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs) to improve water quality, mostly on public land.” Water quality BMPs include structures such as water bars, open top culverts, swales, infiltration steps, rain gardens, and buffers. These practices are designed to slow the momentum of water as it runs across erodible surfaces and encourage it to enter the ground as soon as possible. This can help to prevent erosion which is the root of so many of our major water quality issues.
Over the course of the program, the crew completed a total of 17 infiltration steps, 9 open-top culverts, 3 rain gardens, and a bridge. Additionally, they built swales, retention ponds, and many water bars. Project partners included the Towns of Danville, Glover, and Burke, Lyndon State College, Lyndon Institute, the Maidstone Lake Association, The Essex County and Caledonia County Natural Resources Conservation Districts, the Shadow Lake Association, the LakeWise Program, and the Nectar Landscape Design Studio.
Funding for the crew and their projects comes from an Ecosystem Restoration Program Grant from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VT DEC).
The Corps is a program of the NorthWoods Stewardship Center, a non-profit environmental education and conservation organization with a mission of “connecting people and place through science, education, and action”. For more information about NorthWoods, visit our website at