Hello Rock Point Friends and Family,
What an honor it is to be part of this special community! It has been just over two months since I began my work here at Rock Point Commons as Executive Director, and I already feel so welcomed and encouraged by all the things happening here at this 130-acre sanctuary.
In the last several weeks I have enjoyed getting to know many of you and exploring this property. It's important to me that I really take the time to get to know the history behind this land and acknowledge all those who have contributed to the care and conservation of this special place. As a community, we want to continue to acknowledge the Abenaki history of this land and have made the small, yet important gesture of adding a land acknowledgment to our organization's homepage.
My days are filled with opportunities to get better acquainted with our staff, hear from community members and partners, and walk the trails to better understand all that goes into running this small, yet mighty, non-profit organization. I’ve been particularly moved by how many staff, volunteers, partners, and community members have profound personal connections to this land, some dating back generations.
I’ve also been astounded by the partners and volunteers that make this place a thriving hub of conservation, education, spirituality, and micro-agriculture. Every day, there are beautiful and wondrous things happening here. For example, the Burlington School District’s OnTop Program continues to connect Burlington kids with deep and meaningful learning opportunities in this special place. Rock Point Commons partners with innovative community gardening groups such as Spoonful Herbals, who recently engaged volunteers to transform an invasive species, Japanese Knotweed, into medicine; and the Homeward Bound Collective, who share their harvest with neighbors in need. We feel fortunate to host local organizations such as Crow’s Path, which offers opportunities for people of all ages to reconnect to the natural world, and Dad Guild, which connects community fathers around a monthly campfire here at Rock Point.
Rock Point’s history as a privately held property since 1855 has made it a uniquely intact ecosystem on Lake Champlain. Since 2019, when a coalition of partners including the Episcopal Church of Vermont, the Lake Champlain Land Trust, the Parks Foundation of Burlington and the City of Burlington came together to permanently protect Rock Point and ensure public access to this wilderness sanctuary, Rock Point has benefited from broad community engagement in our conservation efforts. As we expand opportunities for community access, we will need sustained public support to protect this community treasure for the next generations. Through the Burlington Wildways Trail Stewardship program, we are increasing public awareness of the impacts of human traffic on the land, and how individuals can help preserve and protect this rare and fragile ecosystem. Staying on trails, keeping dogs leashed, and discouraging others from building campfires are important ways our broader community can support conservation on Rock Point.
While the tasks are many, my initial priorities will focus on helping to expand opportunities for community engagement on the property while preserving this rare and precious wilderness. We will continue to rely on the support of our community, while also looking toward strategic partnerships and grants to help us continue our work as an educational, environmental, and spiritual hub. I'm looking forward to hosting more events in the future, as well as welcoming community feedback as we plan for the chapters ahead.
Thank you all for your warm welcome and commitment to Rock Point Commons. I can't wait for what lies ahead and trust that collaboration and connection will be key to our future here together.