Cold morning on the Mad River in Waitsfield, VT. Photo: Jeff Knight

The Warren, Waitsfield and Fayston Conservation Commissions kick off a Mad River Valley biodiversity series on preserving wildlife corridors next week with two experts in the field.


The series kicks off the February 16, 2023, event with members of each conservation commission joined by Jens Hilke, conservation planner for Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, and Lisa Sausville, executive director of Vermont Coverts.

This event is for anyone who is interested in proper land and forest management that enhances our wildlife habitat by preserving wildlife corridors. Conservation commissioners will share their ongoing conservation and protection efforts and then offer a Q and A with Hilke and Sausville.

In the fall of 2022, the Warren Conservation Commission (WCC) decided to develop a series of events to inform visitors and residents alike of the efforts undertaken by the commission for more than a decade.

“These efforts were to determine; what are the natural communities that surround us, identify the complexity of those natural communities, and determine what steps are necessary to protect them in the future” explained Warren Conservation Commission chair Jito Coleman.

Waitsfield, Warren, and Fayston have each worked over the years in mapping out the natural resources of The Valley so it only made sense to have this become a tri-town effort. Coleman, approached the other towns which agreed to lend their support.

Arrowwood Environmental has performed many studies throughout The Valley documenting wildlife habitat blocks and the critical wildlife corridors. These are needed to be protected in order to maintain the biodiversity that people have come to enjoy. Coleman explained that wildlife corridors are critical for the various species health and survival allowing them to move between the many habitat blocks for food, seasonal shelters, and to maintain the genetic diversity within each species.

“Parcelization and fragmentation are severely impacting the ability of our wildlife to move between these critical habitat blocks. Combine this with the fact that over 80% of all the land in Vermont is in private ownership, it becomes imperative that all landowners of any sized parcels become involved in protecting our natural environment,” he added

For these reasons, the first biodiversity series is Preserving Wildlife Corridors. This event will focus on what the conservation commissions have been able to accomplished, why major wildlife corridors are important, and what resources are available to landowners.

In the fall the biodiversity series will continue with Ecological Forest Management for Climate Change presented by Ethan Tapper – Chittenden county forester.