The small town of Putney, Vermont has a big cultural presence. Less than a dozen miles north of Brattleboro, Putney is home to beloved attractions such as Basketville and Santa’s Land, and among its inhabitants reside the most artisans and craftspersons per capita of any town in the state. When we dig beneath the cultural landscape, we begin to reveal other fascinating details as well, namely the physical and biologic backdrop upon which all of these human endeavors play out.

In the descriptions that follow we will explore the natural and cultural history of Putney, focusing on a host of dynamic processes that together help account for the diversity of plants, animals, and human settlements, and their changing patterns of distribution through space and time. The goal here is both simple and intimate: to help kindle awareness of and active participation with a place. By becoming familiar with the surrounding landscape, awake to its cycles and styles, we come to be more fully rooted in the living world that surrounds and sustains us.