Guest post from Mandy Fischer, Director of Development and Special Projects at the Intervale Center
The COTS tree you purchased from City Market in December may be a thing of the past, but the tree it helped grow is just now beginning its life in Vermont! The community purchased over 600 COTS trees as part of City Market’s annual tree sale to fund the important work of COTS. For every tree purchased, City Market also donated funds to the Intervale Center to plant a tree through our enterprise, the Intervale Conservation Nursery.
Planting trees is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve Vermont’s water quality for the long term. It is also an important nature-based solution to climate change, as trees soak up pollution and dust from the air, rebuild natural habitats, and bio-sequester carbon.
In a typical year, these 600 City Market-funded trees would be planted during community planting days in Burlington and surrounding communities, reforesting acres of land close to home with the hard work of volunteers. However, with COVID-19 disrupting our ability to hold community planting events, we had to think creatively about how and where to plant these trees safely. Incredibly, the conservation community rallied, and these City Market trees found their homes with projects all throughout the state. The results are incredible – from the White River to the Winooski River, land and water resources have been enhanced and protected because of the generosity of City Market and its customers.
The Intervale Center is a nonprofit based in Burlington that focuses on enhancing farm viability, promoting sustainable land use and engaging people in the food system. Most people know us for our community events like Summervale, or that we own and manage recreational and agricultural land in Burlington, but many don’t know what we are a statewide organization that provides business planning services to farms across Vermont, grows and plants trees, and provides important leadership statewide and nationally at the intersection of conservation and agriculture.
Our Intervale Conservation Nursery started in 2001 as a way to help farmers reforest riparian (riverbank) buffers along farm fields with trees and shrubs locally sourced and grown in Vermont. Today, the nursery plants trees across the state, working with towns, conservation districts, community groups, farmers and private landowners to reforest miles of stream and riverbank each year.
In total, 610 ICN-grown trees have been planted at seven sites throughout Vermont thanks to City Market. These trees include 95 trees along three branches of the White River, 40 trees at St. Michael’s College along the Winooski River, and 170 trees along the Connecticut River and its tributaries.
Friends of the Mad River planted 75 trees in an effort to connect the Wu Ledges town forest to the High Bridge Brook forest, reestablishing an important wildlife corridor.
In Morrisville, landowners planted 17 stems around a recovering culvert area along a small mountain tributary of the Lamoille River -- trees that will someday hold the bank together, shade the water for fish breeding grounds, and create pollinator habitat.
In Jericho, 60 stems were planted to reforest a field that was previously a wetland, reducing runoff, enhancing wildlife habitat, and combating invasive species.
Back in the Intervale, we planted 54 silky dogwood shrubs along trails for added screening and habitat protection. See if you can spot the new dogwoods while walking our trails this summer.
In the last ten years, the Intervale Conservation Nursery has provided 200,000+ trees for reforestation projects across Vermont! Thanks to City Market for helping to keep Vermont’s forests green and water clean!