Upcoming Events

Tue Apr 18 @10:00am - 12:30pm
Wetlands and Tile Drain Workshop in the NEK
Sat Apr 22 @ 2:00pm - 03:30pm
Growing black walnuts in the Northeast Kingdom







Vermont Conservation Districts

  • Identify local resource needs
  • Recruit the resources to meet those needs by working with partners, funding sources and volunteers
  • Have locally elected volunteers who serve as the governing bodies of the Districts



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Jill Arace, Executive Director

Jill has nearly thirty years of non-profit management and sustainable development experience, mostly overseas. She lived and worked in Thailand and Cambodia for eleven years, managing relief and development programs for several organizations, including the American Friends Service Committee and Oxfam. She returned to the US to attend graduate school, where she earned two masters degrees – one in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, and the other in Economics from Boston University. After graduate school, Jill moved to one of her favorite places – Vermont – where she worked for eleven years at the Institute for Sustainable Communities managing civic participation and sustainable development programs in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia, including community-based environmental action planning, school-based conservation education, environmental management training, watershed planning, solid waste management, energy efficiency, sustainable forestry, agricultural production, food security, and grassroots citizen initiatives. After she stopped traveling around the world, Jill began learning more about conservation and community development in Vermont and in the beautiful Mad River Valley, where she lives and facilitates sustainable agriculture initiatives. Jill is particularly interested in supporting local food production and building bridges between different segments of the community. When she's not busy organizing something, you may find Jill digging in her garden, walking the back roads of Vermont, practicing energy healing, or singing in a chorus.

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Jeff Farber, Technical Programs Manager

Jeff has had a long and varied career of non-profit administration, project management, and conservation activities. He has served on the Middlesex Planning Commission for the past five years, is restoring a forgotten farm apple orchard, raising organic fruits and vegetables and managing the woodlot on his 10 acres. Before coming to VACD in 2008, Jeff served on the staff of UVM's Division of Continuing Education, where he designed and managed distance learning programs for post-graduate professionals. Jeff is also a self-employed media producer developing award-winning documentary films and projects focusing on conservation and social change issues. He brings a wide range of managerial experiences and a strong commitment to conservation work to his position as VACD's Technical Programs Manager.

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Carrie Youngblood, Office Manager

The manager and bookkeeper of our virtual office is the current office manager/bookkeeper of Heaton Woods, an assisted living facilty in Montpelier. Carrie Youngblood is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has lived in Vermont for more than 25 years. Her previous office/financial positions have included the non-profits Turtle Island Children's Center, Food Works at Two Rivers Center and the Methodist Conference Minister of the old Troy Conference, UMC. Four years at Solar Works (now Real Good Solar) was a valuable lesson in being both for-profit and socially responsible.

Carrie lives in Montpelier and is active in the United Church of Christ, currently a member of Bethany Church, Montpelier, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Vermont Conference where she was Moderator of the 2011 Annual Meeting. She is also the Treasurer of the Vermont Philharmonic Orchestra and sings in the Vermont Philharmonic Chorus.

Phone: 802.371.9605
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Pamela Stefanek, District Manager (Otter Creek, NRCD)

Pamela has served the Otter Creek Natural Resource Conservation District in Addison County as Agriculture Resource Specialist since 1997. She works with farmers to attain Accepted Agricultural Practices, minimize runoff into Lake Champlain, and implement the goals of the Agriculture Environmental Management program. Pamela grew up in England and graduated from the University of Vermont Agriculture College Plant and Soil Science Program. She lives in Benson with her husband and three children.

Phone: 802.388.6748 x126
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Troy Dare, Rural Fire Protection Program Manager

Born and raised in Rockland, Maine, Troy grew up enjoying life on the ocean as a Rockland High School Tiger dabbling in cross country, track, drama and other theater groups. He also developed a strong passion for guitar and music. After high school he attended Vermont Technical College majoring in Civil Engineering Technology. In the summer months he worked as a Stern-man on a few lobster boats and played guitar in a few professional rock bands. During his senior year at VTC, Troy did work-study for the Vermont Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Councils Vermont Rural Fire Protection Task Force on the Rural Fire Protection initiative. In the spring of 1998 the VT Legislature started funding the Dry Hydrant Grant Program and Troy has worked as the Engineering Technician for that program for 15 years until the RC&D's closed their doors in 2013. Troy has now moved on to become the Rural Fire Protection Program Manager for the VACD to continue the Dry Hydrant Grant Program and help evolve the Rural Fire Protection Program to another level of service & support for Vermont communities & Fire Departments.

Phone: 802.828.4582
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Catherine Webster, Cartographic Technician

Catherine was born and raised in East Conway, New Hampshire where she sprung up from a proud family of New Hampshire loggers. After studying Anthropology and Environmental Studies at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, she worked as a landscaper, barista, and yoga teacher before becoming an AmeriCorps member with the Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team. Her service as an AmeriCorps member deeply rooted her already burgeoning interest in ecological restoration and hydrologic processes, and led her to pursue a Master's degree at the University of Vermont where she explored watershed science in the Northern New England setting she'd been missing. As a VACD Cartographic Technician, Catherine supports the efforts of Soil Conservationists to work with farmers to get conservation on the ground and improve the quality of Vermont's waterways.

Phone: 802.524.6505 x 120
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Tim McKay, Technical Specialist

Tim has over 30 years experience with conservation in the Northeast Kingdom. Retired from the St Johnsbury NRCS office in 2010, Tim now works part time with VACD as a Technical Specialist. His expertise is broad, with particular interests in forestry, wildlife, and stream dynamics. Tim provides training to new employees as well as assistance to landowners with forest related practices. He lives in Peacham where he owns and manages a Tree Farm and crafts furniture from the trees on his land.

Phone: 802.592.3366
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Keith Hartline, Technical Specialist

Keith began his life after high school with a 4 year enlistment in the US Coast Guard. Following his time in the service he attended Washington State University and graduated in 1984 with a degree in Agronomy with a Soils minor. He began working for the USDA - Soil Conservation Service in Colville, Washington in 1983 and worked as a soil conservationist in Lynden and Pullman, Washington before transferring to Middlebury, Vermont in 1988. He worked as a District Conservationist and Resource Conservationist in the Champlain Valley until his retirement in 2011. Keith now works part time for the VACD as a Technical Specialist. He assists the Rutland NRCS field office with manure handling plans, design of erosion control and grazing practices and wetland determinations. He and his wife have a small landscaping business and Keith is a Vermont Emergency Medical Technician with Whiting First Response

Phone: 802.775.8034
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Norm Smith, Technical Specialist

Cindy Watrous, Land Treatment Planner

Caltindy has been the Land Treatment Planner for Addison, Bennington and Rutland Counties since Dec 2006. A land treatment plan is a component of the comprehensive nutrient management plan now being required of medium farm operations (MFOs). Cindy grew up on a 75 cow dairy farm in Piermont, NH. She attended Becker Jr. College, graduating with an Associate's Degree in Applied Science as a Veterinary Assistant. Cindy and her husband George ran a 35 cow dairy farm for 9 years. Cindy was a Milk Supervisor for 23 years with the VT Dairy Herd Improvement Association. She also worked for the Farm Service Agency doing GIS mapping for 8 years. She was a co-superintendent of the sheep shows at Addison County Fair and Field Days for 13 yrs. Cindy also currently manages a flock of sheep with her daughter and has been very active in the 4-H Sheep program in the State, helping with Sheep Camp, Sheep Quiz Bowl, Blocking and Fitting Workshops and Shearing School. Cindy is also the Co-Green-Up Chairman in Orwell since 1993.

Phone 1: 802.388.6748 x 129 (Middlebury)
Phone 2: 802.775.8034 x 120 (Rutland)
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Judson Peck, Land Treatment Planner

Judson Peck is a native Vermonter with a strong interest in food security and sustainable agriculture. He earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Bates College and a M.S. in Environmental Policy from Bard College, writing theses on the socioeconomic factors behind widespread food insecurity in Nepal and another on the profitability of a new drought and flood resistant rice seed in Laos. Most recently, Judson has been a consultant for the United Nations Development Program's Climate Change Adaptation Program, which assists farmers in developing countries with financial and technical assistance to adopt more climate-resilient practices. Through these experiences, he has lived and worked in India, Nepal, Thailand and Laos. Judson is excited to bring his agricultural experiences and education back to his home state of Vermont to assist farmers locally. When not in the office, Judson enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking and photographing the outdoors.

Phone: 802.295.7942
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Jeannie Bartlett, Land Treatment Planner

Jeannie grew up in the woods of western MA where she developed an appreciation for her neighbor farmers and the lands where they work. She studied Conservation Biology at Middlebury College, and after graduating in May 2015 she assisted in researching and breeding perennial grains at The Land Institute in Kansas. Returning to VT last fall, she biked around the state visiting some of the farms she had long admired but never visited, like Butterworks Farm in Westfield. As a Land Treatment Planner she hopes to help this state better support our farmers as stewards of the land.

Phone: 802.527.1296
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Brittany McCarthy, Land Treatment Planner

Brittany is a native Vermonter from Orleans County. She graduated from Johnson State College, in the spring of 2014 with a Bachelors of Science in Integrated Environmental Science. While in college, she interned with the Vermont EPSCoR and Research on Adaption to Climate Change (RACC) program. While interning with RACC, she was tasked with compiling weather data from 2000-2013 into analytical graphs. She also looked for climate trends in the data. While in college, she also interned with Crothers Environmental Group, LLC (Crothers), an indoor air quality consulting company. Upon completion of her degree she was hired full time by Crothers, as a field technician and indoor air quality specialist. Her focus with Crothers was on asbestos and lead based pain air quality concerns. In her free time she enjoys hiking, fishing, kayaking, hunting, and participating in Spartan Races.

Phone: 802.334.6090
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Annalise Carington, Conservation Planner

A recent graduate of Middlebury College, Annalise joined the VACD team in the fall of 2015. Funded through the Lake Champlain Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), she works on water quality initiatives on conserved farms, forest land, and wetlands within the South Lake priority watershed. As well, through collaboration with local partners, she helps small farms in the South Lake implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce agricultural runoff that contributes to phosphorus loading into Lake Champlain. Annalise loves living and working in Vermont, and is proud to help protect the land and waters of the state.

Phone: 802.388.6746
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Michelle Smith, Land Treatment Planner

Michelle joined VACD in the summer of 2011 to plan and implement the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in the Southern Lake Champlain watershed. She works with willing landowners and agricultural producers to implement conservation buffers along waterways to improve water quality and create wildlife habitat, while taking into consideration the needs of the agricultural operation. Prior to coming to work with VACD, Michelle worked as a Conservation\GIS Technician with the USDA Farm Service Agency for more than four years where she gained extensive experience in GIS and conservation programs. Michelle is a Massachusetts native but has been living in Vermont for over six years. Green Mountain College brought her to Vermont where she earned her undergraduate degree in environmental studies with double minors in biology and geology. Michelle is currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental sciences with a focus in conservation biology. She attributes her life-long love of the environment largely to her parents, who always encouraged her to explore the outdoors through backpacking, hiking, and family canoe trips. Some of Michelle's passions include cooking, crocheting, and tending to her vegetable garden.

Phone: 802.775.8034 x 122
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Brittain Faville, Communications Coordinator (ECO AmeriCorps)

Brittain is part of the new ECO AmeriCorps program in Vermont. He has been learning much about how the many government entities and NPOs operate and primarily assists the Conservation Districts throughout the state. He assists District Managers where needed while writing articles and blogs for outreach. He has also spent a good time in the field completing a variety of activities from tree plantings to soil and water quality testing. A Chicago native, Brittain has lived in Vermont for almost a year now. In the Spring of 2015 he received his Bachelor's of Science in Forest Management from Colorado State University. Brittain has a strong/varied background in the Natural Sciences field along with participating in a variety of volunteer services. He has spent some solid time completing biological and chemical lab work, doing forest analyses, and different environmental assessments. Some of his other experience includes work in construction and hospitality businesses. His volunteer service includes Community "Key" Club, Park Districts assistance, and even helping out at a wolf sanctuary for over 4 years. Brittain is an outdoors enthusiast who enjoys road biking, skiing, soccer, fishing, and trying new things while exploring new places.