South Hero Land Trust (SHLT) was formed in 1997 by a small group of local community members who were interested in taking a hands on approach to protecting the natural resources of the town of South Hero . "When we approached land conservation organizations about the possibility of starting a land trust in South Hero, the response was largely discouraging, as the perception was that it was too little, too late for the fastest growing county in Vermont ." Charlie Tipper, Former President and co-founder of SHLT.
This challenge was all the fledgling organization needed to hit the gate running. SHLT consulted with many other local land trusts during its inception, on everything from by-laws to land conservation strategies to membership dues. It became clear quickly that one of SHLT's most important goals was to establish a broad, grassroots, support base. One way this was accomplished early on was to assemble a Board of Directors that was a true reflection of the diverse community South Hero.
The first project, and catalyst for the formation of SHLT, was the conservation of over 300 acres of Vermont 's oldest commercial apple orchard, Allenholm Farm. Since then SHLT has protected over 1,700 acres of land in South Hero, worked with local farmers to start the Champlain Islands Farmers' Market, built and opened community trails at Round Pond Natural Area and the Landon Farm, over 10 editions of the Champlain Islands Grown Guide to Agriculture, hosted over 160 events to connect our community to the land and local farms, and much more.
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Read more about the history of South Hero Land Trust in our newsletter archive: