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Embracing Autumn: Celebrating Community Partnerships at Rock Point


Jesse Franklin climbing at Lone Rock in July. In partnership with CRAG-VT, Rock Point’s spectacular limestone cliffs continue to attract experienced climbers from throughout the region and Canada.

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Friends of Rock Point,



Many of you may know Rock Point as a place of quiet sanctuary, where a walk along our breathtaking cliffside trails can promote a sense of peace and spaciousness. You may be surprised to learn about the bustle of activity that happens within this 130-acre wilderness every day.


Our summer days are filled with the shrieks and laughter of children exploring the lake and forest with our two summer camps, the YMCA Rock Point Adventure Camp and Crow’s Path Summer Camp. Gardeners tend our extensive community plots, with support from Burlington Community Gardens. Kayakers and sailors on the lake can glimpse expert rock climbers scaling our hard limestone cliffs on routes provided by CRAG-VT. Our resident beekeepers tend their hives, and invite community groups in to learn the craft of beekeeping. Herbal apprentices learn to identify and make medicine from native plants with Spoonful Herbals.


Volunteers with the Burlington Wildways Trail Stewards Program monitor the trails, helping us to identify newly emergent invasive species, collecting trash, and serving as community ambassadors for land stewardship. And of course, visitors from near and far explore our two miles of trails overlooking Lake Champlain.

Visitors from JJ Flynn Elementary build a nest from fallen branches.

As summer turns to fall, we observe changes in our meadows and forests as well as shifts in Rock Point’s human communities. Summer campers make way for students from Rock Point’s three resident education programs- the Rock Point School, the Crow’s Path Field School, and the Burlington School District’s alternative high school program, OnTop. In addition to hosting these school programs, Rock Point serves as an outdoor classroom for University of Vermont, Champlain College, and local elementary and middle schools throughout the state. Through the long winter, this vibrant community of students and educators will learn from each other and from the land in this spectacular natural setting.


Many long-time Burlington residents will recall a time, not long ago, when Rock Point was not accessible to the public. It has been a joy to welcome the greater community to this special place. As Rock Point works to expand public access, we are also committed to protecting this sense of sanctuary and wildness for generations to come. We invite all in our community who appreciate Rock Point to help preserve its wild beauty while expanding public access. You can do this by volunteering with the Burlington Wildways Trail Steward program or by making a financial contribution to Rock Point Commons. We are honored to share this space with our community and are grateful for your support.



With Gratitude,

Kelly Kimball

Executive Director, Rock Point Commons

 

Growing Our Community

Crow’s Path campers pick endless blackberries in Rock Point’s edible landscape

The mission of Rock Point Commons is to cultivate an inclusive, place-based community for education, spirituality, and environmental stewardship. This season, we have been honored to reconnect with groups and individuals who have supported this place for years, as well as to welcome new groups and individuals to this special place. Some of the new or expanded partnerships and connections include:


Rock Point Commons hosted more community events, including the City Nature Celebration, Honeybee Keeping and Mushroom Cultivation workshops, and an Outdoor Survival Skills Course for women.

Vermont Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired (VABVI) based their June overnight camp session at Rock Point. The kids had a blast cooking their meals, chatting around a campfire, identifying birds by sound with Crow's Path, and swimming in Eagle Bay.

We are building and expanding relationships with local elementary schools, including inviting classrooms to come to Rock Point for hikes and guided activities.

Kerry Wood/Kalli Abazi - a citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation and Associate Director of the Middlebury School of Abenaki - led a basket-making workshop for History in Translation participants during their stay at Rock Point.

Outright Vermont’s Gender Creative Kids community enjoyed swimming in Eagle Bay and making pizza in the outdoor pizza ovens.

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