Vermont Coverts receives $100,000 to help landowners promote wildlife conservation

VERGENNES — The Vergennes-based organization Vermont Coverts: Woodlands for Wildlife has recently received a $100,000 gift from the Charles B. Ewing 2007 Charitable Lead Annuity Trust. This donation was made in support of Vermont Coverts’ work to help educate landowners about stewarding their woodland properties for wildlife conservation.
Vermont Coverts is a statewide nonprofit established in 1985. The initial idea behind Coverts, developed by UVM Extension Forester Thom McEvoy, was that landowners are more likely to adopt good practices if they learn about them from their neighbors and peers.
“This generous gift provides an exciting opportunity for Coverts and wildlife in Vermont.” notes Council Chair, Rich Chalmers. “With over 80 percent of Vermont’s forestlands in private ownership, reaching out to landowners will have the greatest impact on our forests and the wildlife that live there.”
The Coverts network is made up of more than 675 landowners who have been through the three-day core training. These Coverts Cooperators share information on forestry and wildlife management with their families, neighbors, friends, conservation and planning commissions and through other connections. One such avenue is delivering welcome bags to new landowners purchasing more than 25 acres.
Charles Ewing believed in creating partnerships and collaborations that would move projects towards their goal. Coverts is looking to use the funding to build on its partnerships with the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, Vermont Department of Forest Parks and Recreation and other conservation organizations.
Kim Royar from the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife says, “I have seen the Coverts Training completely transform how landowners see and understand their woodland properties as a part of Vermont’s landscape. The Department is taking a new approach towards implementing a statewide conservation design and I believe partnering with Coverts will be important in promoting this strategy.”
Charles Ewing was a brilliant engineer, successful businessman and wonderful husband, father and grandfather. His children, who directed this gift, want to see his successes leave a lasting legacy, improving people’s lives and the environment across the landscape and the country.
Ewing’s ties to Vermont include a granddaughter who studied natural resources management here and a son with a long standing love of Vermont and its wild places. The family’s interest in Vermont Coverts stems from these connections, as well as Ewing’s belief that education will help people make better decisions.
Dawn Andrews, vice president of the Coverts Council comments, “Regulation often doesn’t result in the best outcomes. Educational programs like Coverts help landowners understand how and why good stewardship will benefit them in the long run and gives them the knowledge and skills to make decisions that achieve their goals along with better conservation results on the ground.”
For more information on Vermont Coverts visit at vtcoverts.org, 802-877-2777 or [email protected].

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