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AmeriCorps planting trees in Rutland County

Working for the Nature Conservancy of Rutland County, located in the old West Haven Schoolhouse in West Haven Vt., has allowed a team of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) members a chance to serve the environment and enjoy the Green Mountain State. AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) is a full-time, team-based residential program for men and women, ages 18-24. Members are not considered volunteers since they receive stipends.

The NCCC workers, doing tree planting in Rutland County this month, come from across the country; they are based at Perry Point, Md., and aiding in the upkeep of the natural uniqueness of the area.

According to team media coordinator Jordan Lundberg, "The Nature Conservancy of Western Vermont aims at preserving the environmental assets of the area."

Lundberg said NCCC members-under the guidance of Elaine Blodgett of the Nature Conservancy in West Haven-are planting native trees at several locations. NCCC members work at the conservancy's Lower Poultney River Preserve and Champlain Valley Native Plant Restoration Nursery. The preserve and nursery are located at the end of Ward Road in Whitehall, N.Y. Beyond the nursery, set up in a former dairy barn, are 800 acres of conservancy land encompassing Buttonbush Swamp, woodlands, remote ridgelines, and land bordering Lake Champlain's South Bay.

Trees grown from harvested wild seeds and nuts are gathered within a 50-mile radius of the nursery and include oaks, maples, elm, dogwood, elderberry, ash and white pine.

Lundberg said that during tree planting, members work alongside high school students from around the county and beyond who come to offer assistance.

As an example, the NCCC team and local students planted a section of the West Haven Clay Plain located along Route 22A near Devil's Bowl Speedway. The planting includes seedlings inside wildlife-protective cultivation tubes. Similar NCCC efforts can be seen at several Rutland County locales.

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