MONTPELIER, VT – Douglas Holland, of North Haverhill, N.H., and Wyatt Flanders, of Hardwick, each received a Land Stewards Award presented by the Vermont Land Trust, along with a check for $300. Five other students across the state also received awards.

“We are proud to announce eight winners of this year’s Land Stewards Award, and we congratulate Douglas and Wyatt,” said Nick Richardson, president and CEO of the Vermont Land Trust. “Their commitment to Vermont and our working lands inspire confidence in our future!”

Since 2005, the Vermont Land Trust has recognized outstanding high-school students who are dedicated to agriculture and forestry. Juniors and seniors enrolled in agricultural, food, and natural resource programs in Vermont schools are nominated by their teachers.

Douglas Holland: Doug is more at home in the woods than in a town or city. He loves learning about the temperate forest ecosystem and its native flora and fauna — both in Vermont, where he attends school, and in New Hampshire, where he lives. He is a certified trapper and uses natural methods to tan deer hides.

At River Bend Career and Technical Center, he was committed to continuing his appreciation and care of the land around him. His instructor, Ian Blackmer, nominated Doug for the award, citing his curiosity and care for both land and people, which make him a great steward of the natural landscape. Doug plans to explore his post-secondary opportunities in Vermont in the agriculture and forestry fields.

“I like to think of a lot of the work I do outside as being a part of something bigger,” said Doug. “The things you do depend on the season: in spring you plant seeds and get things ready for summer. All around you, things are coming back to life, trees are starting to grow leaves and you start to see more animals running around. When fall arrives, you’re getting ready for winter, harvesting vegetables, and packing things away; at the same time so are the animals. It’s just nice to be part of that cycle to feel like you belong.”

Wyatt Flanders: Wyatt spends most days milking, cleaning and feeding 120 head of cattle, or haying and fertilizing their grazing fields. And that’s just at home — he also works at the LeBlanc Dairy Farm, where he holds many of the same duties.

At Green Mountain Technology & Career Center, Wyatt learned about maple sugaring, sugarbush management and sustainable timber harvesting.

“Wyatt truly cares about the land and the animals on the land,” said his Forestry & Land Management Instructor, Meghan Luther, who described his work managing forest openings at his family’s land and planting apple trees to benefit wildlife.

Wyatt plans to continue to work on his family farm and the LeBlanc farm. He is also job shadowing with a local timber harvesting and tree service company. His future plans are to incorporate both of these industries, logging in the winter months and farming the rest of the year.

“I grew up farming and hunting,” said Wyatt. “I know the importance of managing the land both to benefit our farm animals and for Vermont’s wildlife. I enjoy being hands-on and working outside and keeping these Vermont traditions alive.”

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