The United Thank Offering has awarded a grant of $19,060 to the Episcopal Church in Vermont for the Rock Point Land Use/Forestry Initiative. A ministry of the Episcopal Church in Vermont, Rock Point is a 130-acre property that is an educational, recreational and spiritual resource–an exemplary model of an “urban wild” within the city limits of Burlington, Vermont.
The purpose of the Rock Point Land Use/Forestry Initiative is to gather people from a wide and diverse cross-section of the larger community to help jump-start the three-year Land Use and ten-year Forestry Plans approved by the Rock Point Board in 2015.
The Initiative addresses significant objectives, including: removal of invasive plants such as buckthorn, Japanese holly and poison ivy; pruning the fruit trees; improvement of the trails, with new boardwalks to protect wetland areas and implementation of policies developed to prevent erosion and safeguard rare plants; gardening that reaches out to food insecure individuals and families; boundary maintenance and signage; and enhancement of specific habitat for the American Woodcock.
The grant will provide a total of 1040 hours of salary for two temporary staff positions–a Volunteer Coordinator and a Garden Coordinator. Creating these positions will provide Rock Point year-round staffing and extra caretakers. It will also help organize the increasing numbers of people from the greater community who are interested in volunteering. Achieving the benchmarked results for the Land Use and Forestry plans will help Rock Point leverage additional grant and conservation funding. Also provided are Buckthorn pullers and protective clothing to assist volunteers in beginning to deal effectively with the invasive plants around the gardens and trails, including poison ivy.
This is the second significant grant Vermont has received from the UTO. In 1988 a $20,000 grant provided seed funding to start Vermont Respite House – a “home away from home” hospice house for people who didn’t have primary caregivers. It was the first of its kind in the country and still serves as a model of care for terminally ill people and their families and friends. Rock Point’s Land Use/Forestry Initiative is the start-up of another model of care-this time, care for a uniquely beautiful part of the earth that its visitors, “churched” and “un-churched” alike, recognize as holy.
For more information feel free to contact The Rev, Jackie Arbuckle, deacon, the primary contact for the grant, via email or 802-482-5367.