Fayston first- and second-graders have been working with the Fayston Natural Resources Committee (FNRC) on tree identification and planting as part of their Reverence of Place Project.


The schoolwide Reverence of Place Project at Fayston Elementary is getting students out of the classroom and into the Chase Brook Town Forest with members of the FNRC. When the recent warm rains encouraged amphibian friends to start their spring migration to breeding pools, participants in the Amphibian Monitoring Project were out collecting data and helping with crossings.

“The Reverence of Place Project is another way we are bringing the resources of the town forest to the community. Generously funded by the Mad River Recreation District and Fayston School PTO, this whole-school initiative is helping Fayston Elementary students discover our special place in many ways. They are exploring their landscape, answering questions like What do trees give us?, building fairy houses and learning the story of what makes Fayston a unique place to live. This spring, students will give back to the community by building an outdoor learning experience near the parking lot of the Chase Brook Town Forest, sharing their learning with Valley residents and visitors alike,” explained Cory Stephenson, a member of the Fayston Natural Resources Committee.

“The Amphibian Monitoring Project was in full swing in Fayston, with two ‘hot spots’ being monitored by volunteers on warm rainy nights in the past few weeks. Over 80 spotted salamanders and over 100 wood frogs were counted at our newest site on Tucker Hill Road, with a high number of crossings along Bragg Hill Road the night before. Not only will the data collected be used to direct conservation efforts, but many more amphibians made it safely to their breeding pools thanks to the work of our volunteers. Although the big migrations may be over, we are always looking for volunteers willing to go out at night and get wet. Please contact Patti Greene-Swift at 496-6816 if you are interested in participating,” she added.

In addition to the Reverence of Place Project the Fayston Natural Resources Committee (FNRC) has been working on several projects to enhance the landscape and encourage community members to get out and enjoy the town’s natural resources. Most notably, members completed the first phase of the McCullough Barn Project and are actively seeking funds and volunteer efforts to raise the barn again.

Neat piles of wood and river rock are all that currently remain of the historic McCullough Barn on German Flats Road. With the help of volunteers and the services of Alces Post and Beam, the Mad River Garden Center, Fred Viens Excavation and Sugarbush Resort, the timber frame and other salvagable pieces of the town-owned barn were deconstructed last year and stored for rebuilding this summer. GMVS students will be spending a community service day this spring to prepare the site and clean the salvaged timbers.

“Thanks to a generous grant by the Mad River Valley Rotary and private donations, we have raised nearly $3,500 towards the $14,000 needed to raise the McCullough Barn again. We are still seeking donations and volunteers to complete the restoration and make it into valuable community space. Please contact FNRC chair Ky Koitzsch at 496-5784 if you would like to help,” Stephenson said.

The FNRC is looking for new members. The group acts as an advisory board for the select board and meets monthly to work on a variety of projects like the ones listed above. Fayston residents who would like to participate can contact the group’s chair, Ky Koitzsch, at 496-5784.