Ira Student Awarded Land Steward
The Vermont Land Trust has been recognizing outstanding high school juniors and seniors who are dedicated to agriculture and forestry since 2005. This year, Ben Kerstetter of Ira received one of seven Land Stewards Awards presented by the land trust, along with a check for $250. Ben was nominated for the award by Mark Raishart, his natural resources instructor at Stafford Technical Center in Rutland. “Ben is an extremely hard-working individual with an outstanding work ethic and extraordinary commitment to learning,” said Raishart. “He works diligently on many projects at home and with his neighbors.”
Ben manages his own small sugarbush on his property and, along with his family, he taps several hundred trees and sells the sap to a neighbor. He is also seasonally employed with a consulting forester, and works independently doing property management. A member of the National Technical Honor Society, he placed first in the 2018 Vermont State Game of Logging competition and received a silver medal in the Vermont SkillsUSA welding competition. Because of Ben’s achievements at school, he will be starting a year early at Vermont Technical College after he finishes his junior year at Stafford Technical Center. He plans to earn an associate’s degree in forestry.