Whether your favorite South Hero memories are of welcoming new lambs at Paradise Bay Farm, catching frogs along the trails at Round Pond, or apple picking at Hackett’s Orchard, you know this special place needs to be protected. Our landscape nourishes us, connects us to each other, roots us in our history, and holds our hope for the future. Protecting our legacy of farms and open space means that for generations to come, our children will build their own stories and memories of the land.
Thanks to generous community support and engagement, South Hero Land Trust has been working to protect special places in our Island community since 1997. 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 that first project, SHLT has worked with the community and regional partners to protect over 1,700 acres of land in South Hero.
SHLT is a 501-(c)3 non-profit organization with the mission of protecting the farmland, woodland, natural and recreational areas, and open spaces which help give South Hero its distinctive quality of life. There are many ways in which we do this work: building strong community ties, forging partnerships with farmers, establishing critical links between consumers and farmers, getting kids and adults out onto the land, education about our natural world, school programs, and of course, land conservation.
What We Do
Our mission is primarily accomplished by working with willing landowners to help them meet their conservation goals. This often entails the use of conservation easements, wherein the landowner maintains ownership of the property, but sells or donates his or her development rights to a qualified land conservation organization. In doing so, the landowner can be assured that the property will be protected in perpetuity.
We work with farmers and community members to promote sustainable and viable farming in Grand Isle County. Through our work with the Champlain Islands Farmers' Market, publication of the Champlain Islands Grown Guide to Agriculture, and other Farm Initiative programs we focus on supporting farms with the technical skills and support they need, and helping our community access fresh local food.
Stewardship & Education
We are committed to educating our community about the value of the working and natural landscape, in the hopes of building a culture of land stewardship in South Hero that will last many years into the future. We work with the Folsom Education and Community Center to support farm and nature based education, we lead trail walks and naturalist hikes, we organize volunteer events, and we host farm tours.
The SHLT board is a healthy cross-section of the local community. This dynamic group of local leaders are a mix of farmers, business owners, parents, retired community members, summer residents, old time South Heroites, and flatlanders (people new to South Hero and Vermont).
In addition to conserving important local resources, South Hero Land Trust plays a vital role in the community through initiatives that benefit the people and the natural environment of South Hero.
Programs like the SHLT Farm Initiative, Friends of South Hero Trails, our Naturalist Walk Series, and partnering in Folsom School's "The Land, The Farms and Me" program all provide opportunities for direct local involvement. Additionally, SHLT sponsors many community events each year that give people the opportunity to join together in celebrating the amazing resources South Hero has to offer. Please see our events page to learn more!
Working with Partners
The South Hero Land Trust acts as a local facilitator between local landowners and larger, easement holding land trusts or state agencies. SHLT utilizes a unique approach to land conservation in that it does not actually hold easements or title to land. Rather, South Hero Land Trust works in partnership with conservation organizations that have the infrastructure to perpetually monitor conservation easements, thus assuring that the conservation value of the property is maintained over time. South Hero Land Trust works with local landowners to develop projects, fund-raises to make those projects happen, and works with regional partners to steward the land afterward.