Junior Conservation Technicians Back in Action!

See what the JCTs were up to during their February break!

The Junior Conservation Technicians (JCTs) reconvened at the Green Mountain Audubon Center (GMAC) for their February break. Over the week, the group practiced leadership development, undertook trail construction, learned from conservation experts, and honed their naturalist skills.  

The JCTs began their week learning about Bird-Friendly Maple (BFM) with Audubon Vermont’s Conservation Biologist and Forester, Steve Hagenbuch. They were introduced to the history and principles of the Bird-Friendly Maple Project and learned the characteristics of bird-friendly forest habitats. Later, they applied their knowledge by conducting forest assessments for portions of the GMAC sugarbush. They learned how to analyze forest structure and reflect on how forest management connects to bird conservation.  

With Bird-Friendly Maple in mind, the JCTs took to the sugarbush to practice identifying and tapping maples for the 2024 sugaring season. Using old-fashioned brace and bit drills, they learned how to drill and set up maple trees for sap collection. The JCTs shared this knowledge at February Vacation Camp where they took up leadership positions with K-5 students. JCTs read aloud a maple-themed book and guided them through the sugarbush, teaching them the intricacies of tapping maple trees. 

A JCT dragging brush along the River Trail.
JCT working on the River Trail. Photo: Audubon Vermont

The JCTs moved from the sugarbush to the riverside as they joined Audubon Vermont’s Conservation Program Manager, Mark LaBarr on the banks of the Huntington River at the Green Mountain Audubon Center. Here, they witnessed the drastic erosion along the River Trail caused by 2023’s flooding events. The crew utilized downed invasive trees to redirect the trail away from the eroding bank and transported a footbridge to cross a small tributary.  

Forest Program Senior Associate Tim Duclos presenting a power point presentation on a large pull down screen. JCT's are gathered at a meeting table in front of him.
JCTs learning about forest management. Photo: Audubon Vermont

The JCTs learned about the value of forest management in Vermont with Tim Duclos, Audubon Vermont’s Forest Program Senior Associate. They also learned what it is like to be a forester and were introduced to paths that lead to a career in foresty. To wrap up a busy week, the JCTs concluded with winter bird identification and crafting research-based zines.  

Thank you to the JCTs for a great week of working and learning- we look forward to seeing them at the Sugar on Snow Party! 

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