Vermont is made up of an interesting mix of working and protected
landscapes. The state also has a long-standing track record of establishing
and managing natural areas and serves as a model of public and private
partnerships in land conservation. As increasing demands are placed on
these important natural amenities, however, professionals and citizens
alike need to be prepared to deal with the complex issues of land use
planning, protection, and management. The University of Vermont is well
positioned to provide training and expertise in these endeavors.
The Natural Areas Center at the University of Vermont was established
to promote and integrate activities and programs at the University related
to natural areas and land conservation. The mission of the Center is to
provide educational opportunities, research support, professional development,
and outreach services to individuals and groups both within and beyond
the University concerning the protection and management of natural areas
and other conservation lands.
The Natural Areas Center sponsors courses and other academic
opportunities in natural areas identification, protection, and stewardship.
The Center also provides students with opportunities to pursue internship
and practicum experiences in a variety of settings with local and regional
natural areas programs. These opportunities include working with town
conservation commissions and school systems, private environmental organizations
and land trusts, and various state and federal agencies involved in land
conservation and management.
The Natural Areas Center's research activities are directed in
several areas. Developing strategies for the protection and management
of natural areas, specifically those used for research and educational
activities, is a primary focus for research. Emphasis is placed on promoting,
demonstrating, and communicating low impact field research and teaching
techniques to faculty, students, and others. Identifying appropriate land
protection tools and testing various management approaches for sensitive
landscapes is also a focus for research. Designing the most effective
information and training delivery systems for the diversity of participants
in land conservation is another research priority of the Center.
The Natural Areas Center seeks to attract to campus outside students
and members of the land conservation community by offering workshops and
professional development opportunities in land conservation techniques,
preserve selection and design, and natural areas stewardship and monitoring.
The Center also provides outreach to area communities and school systems
offering assistance and training in local natural areas inventory, management,
and education programs.
Programs and Activities
Each year, the Natural Areas Center sponsors a Summer Land Conservation
Program which offers a series of short courses, workshops, and field experiences
for students, professionals, and others interested in land conservation
and stewardship. Other courses, seminars, training sessions, and conferences
are hosted throughout the year. The Center places student interns with
local schools, conservation organizations such as The Nature Conservancy
and the Vermont Land Trust, and public agencies including state natural
areas and natural heritage programs where they assist with a variety of
conservation activities. A data base is maintained by the Center allowing
it to respond to information requests and to serve as a clearinghouse
for information on natural areas and land conservation.
Resources and Facilities
The University of Vermont owns and manages a system of nine natural
areas. From high elevation alpine communities to forests, lakeshores,
and wetlands, these natural areas represent some of the finest examples
of Vermont's natural heritage. The Natural Areas Center utilizes the natural
areas system as field sites for its many educational, research, and outreach
activities. The Center also maintains office and workshop space at the
University and has access to a variety of classroom, laboratory, and other
support facilities available on campus.
How to Find Us
The Natural Areas Center is housed with the Environmental Program
on the University of Vermont campus in Burlington, Vermont. Our red colonial
brick building is on the corner of South Prospect and Main Streets, diagonally
across from the campus green. Come visit! We would welcome the opportunity
to show you around and to talk with you further about our activities and