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Turkey tail in Richford, VT. Photo: Jessica Boone.

Red maple in Belvidere. Photo: Jenny Goyne.

Fall foliage on Belvidere Mountain. Photo: Jenny Goyne.

Greeting friends, and welcome to the Fall 2020 edition of CONNECTIONS, the quarterly newsletter from Cold Hollow to Canada. I hope this finds you and yours happy, healthy, and safe as we wind down 2020 and look to the new year with hope and expectation. Like many, I won’t be sad to flip the calendar and see this past year in the rearview mirror, but I’m also taking time these days to reflect on what we’ve been able to accomplish. Through all the noise Cold Hollow to Canada has been laying the groundwork to move the organization into a new chapter. As summer ebbed, we brought on two new staff members. Lauren Honican, our new Program Director, joins us from the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, where she served as Deputy Chief of Staff. Based in the picturesque Pocantico Hills, just 30 miles north of New York City, Stone Barns was founded by David Rockefeller and his daughter Peggy Dulany in collaboration with Michelin star chef Dan Barber and his family. The Center is a working four-season farm and educational center on a mission to bring about an ecological food culture. We’re elated to have Lauren, with her wealth of experience and her project management expertise, join the team. Monica Przyperhart, our new Woodlots Program Manager comes to us with a deep background in the field, having started off with our partners at the Staying Connected Initiative, before spending the last five years as a Community Wildlife Program Specialist with Vermont Fish and Wildlife. Monica will not only be leading the day to day functions of the woodlots program, but she’ll be spearheading the development of a tool-kit which can be shared with partners across New England to catalyze greater landowner participation in the stewardship and conservation of our working forests. And don’t worry, Liza Morseisn’t going anywhere, though she will be scaling back some and shifting her focus to our digital presence and our citizen science initiatives as she begins work on her doctorate at the University of Vermont. We’re all looking forward to when we can officially raise a toast to Dr. Morse!

With this team now in place, Cold Hollow to Canada is primed to release a new Strategic Plan in early 2021 to serve as the guide for our work in the coming decade, and a banner under which we collectively move forward together. This coming year we’ll be expanding our Woodlots Program into four new towns, catalyzing greater stewardship around climate adaptation and wildlife, and fostering a collective commitment to a shared landscape. We’ll also be issuing our first batch of credits from our Carbon Aggregation Project with the Vermont Land Trust, and working with our partners to draft a roadmap for expanding this opportunity beyond the borders of our seven towns. We’ll also be launching a capital campaign to support our Land Conservation Fund to scale up our easement work in anticipation of meeting our ambitious conservation goals by 2030. This work can only be successful with your support. In the coming weeks we’ll be turning our sights to end of year giving to build the capacity to launch this new chapter. Please consider supporting this work, either on Giving Tuesday—when we’ll have a great opportunity for matching gifts—or with a stand-alone donation of support. Today we find ourselves in a period of rapid and accelerating change. Global forces, both ecological—such as climate change—and societal—such as demographic shifts, and market shifts in what were once cornerstones of rural economies—have left us at a crossroads as stewards of our shared landscape. How we meet these changes will define our communities for generations to come, and will decide whether the shared identity around this place we call home will persist. Although the window within which to meet these challenges is already closing, and the urgency of our task rising, the opportunity at hand is momentous. Please join us in this work.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season, a time to reflect on all that we’re grateful for and all those we call family, your friends at Cold Hollow to Canada.