Have you bought your 2018 Vermont Habitat Stamp yet? Fashioned after the successful Federal Duck Stamp program, the Vermont Habitat Stamp is a voluntary donation aimed at protecting wild places across the state. Since its inception in May 2015, proceeds from Habitat Stamp sales have been used to expand and acquire wildlife management areas, work with private landowners on habitat improvement projects, and increase public outreach around habitat conservation.
In 2017, the Vermont Habitat Stamp program experienced a banner year, with more than $100,000 raised for habitat conservation. Habitat Stamp funds allowed the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department to offer one-on-one assistance to landowners interested in managing their land for habitat conservation and contributed to three land acquisition projects. Notably, Stamp funds allowed Vermont Fish & Wildlife to purchase the largest addition to a Vermont wildlife management area in more than a decade, with 3,000 acres added to Bird’s Eye Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Ira and Poultney.
“Large connected habitat blocks, such as the ones at Bird Mountain, are essential for wildlife including bears, songbirds, bobcats, and brook trout,” said Louis Porter, commissioner of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “These lands are popular with hunters, hikers, birdwatchers, and snowmobilers. This expansion will provide additional recreational opportunities and a year-round boost to regional tourism.”
In 2018, funds from the Habitat Stamp have continued to support habitat improvement efforts. This very month, the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, funded by the Habitat Stamp, will spend a full week at the Windsor Grasslands Wildlife Management Area removing invasive plants and planting native trees and shrubs in their place.
“Habitat Stamp donors should take pride in knowing these funds are helping to restore fish and wildlife habitat, protect water quality, and engage youths in conservation,” said Chris Bernier, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department biologist and manager of Windsor Grasslands WMA. “This collaboration demonstrates how, when the will and funding come together, we can improve our environment.”
Whether you are a hunter, an angler, a Vermont eBird, e-Butterfly, or Vermont iNaturalist enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of Vermont’s wild spaces, the Vermont Habitat Stamp is a great way to support wildlife and public land conservation. The 2018 Vermont Habitat Stamp is available at https://vtfishandwildlife.com/get-involved/donate/vermont-habitat-stamp or as a voluntary add-on when purchasing a hunting or fishing license. And for those collectors in the crowd, every year brings a slightly different design—so get your 2018 Stamp while you still can!