Celebrating Clean Water at Hildene
Hildene applauds the State of Vermont for calling attention to the importance of clean water by celebrating Clean Water Week, August 20 to 26. Vermonters and visitors alike are invited by Governor Scott to join in, “celebrating Vermont’s waters, and the efforts of businesses, organizations and communities to protect and restore clean water statewide, so all can drink, swim, fish, boat and admire the scenic beauty” of the Green Mountain State.
For its part, Hildene is committed to caring for Vermont’s water in general and the Battenkill specifically. The 412-acre estate is bordered to the east by a half mile of the historic river, famous for its catch and release flyfishing. Environmental education at Hildene offers programs for grades 1 to 5, where sudents discover the importance of clean water through experiential learning. Its newest initiative is a collaboration with Burr and Burton Academy, with high school students taking classes on sustainable agriculture, food systems and ecology on the Dene, an area that includes meadows, farmland, a wetland and land buffering the Battenkill. This fertile land was recently returned to agriculture after a century-long hiatus with intention; any roots put down must go into healthy soil, enriched with carbon and organic matter so it acts more like a sponge than a sieve. Hildene’s adherence to restorative agricultural practices assures that students and guests will observe an agricultural operation committed to the protection of clean water. Further protection from runoff comes from the forest buffer that Hildene’s 25-year forest management plan recommends. Practices like this and others such as rotational grazing and cover-cropping, further protect from runoff. The opportunity to learn from Hildene’s efforts enriches student experience and that of the tens of thousands of guests who visit each year. Hildene is open daily, year round from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is required. To learn more, visit hildene.org.