On a recent sunny fall afternoon in Williston, Vermont, I had the great pleasure and privilege of accepting a donation from Helen Weston and Mike Isham of Isham Family Farm to Audubon Vermont. The funds represented a share of the proceeds from their wonderful “First: Earth Summer Series.” As described on their website, Helen and Mike started the non-profit series because they “believe that diverse and inclusive music, theatre, dance and words can act as a powerful force for good in the community while promoting environmental awareness and responsibility.” As you can imagine, I was delighted that Mike and Helen chose Audubon Vermont to be the recipient of the donation for this first year of the series.
Audubon Vermont’s connection to the Isham Family Farm pre-dates their summer series. We have had the privilege of working with Mike and Helen to learn together ways that Vermont’s farmers can manage their fields and forests for the benefit of birds. (Learn more.) Surrounded by well-tended fields interspersed with areas planted with native plants and edged by a healthy forest on that Saturday in early September, I was in the perfect location to speak to the community about the importance of recognizing the role of Vermont’s farmers as stewards of the land.
Inspired by a recent conversation with the author, Doug Tallamy about his goal to create a new “Homegrown National Park”, I also spoke to the audience (who were really there to listen to a series of wonderful plays presented by the Vermont Shakespeare Festival!) about the ways in which all of us, whether we live in an apartment, subdivision, or farm, can participate in the act of nurturing the health of our land through planting native plants. Through careful stewardship, we can all play a role in ensuring that future generations will be able to enjoy the rich mix of plants, birds, bees and other wildlife that enrich our lives in our state of green mountains and silver waters.
I encourage all Audubon members to visit Isham Family Farm and to express our appreciation for their support and their work on behalf of birds and the community.