Anna Beach, Environmental studies/political science double major, Class of 2022, Saint Michael’s College
Finding Space, Creating Place: The Participatory Restoration of Streams and Soils
Alterations to stream hydrology have important implications for plant community composition and biodiversity across Vermont’s watersheds. I aim to restore the historical functioning of a stream draining directly into the floodplain of the Winooski River. This project will involve culvert removal, invasive phragmites management, streambank terracing, and planting native shrubs in the riparian area to remedy stream incision and soil erosion. Additionally, the restoration of a nearby area once cleared for a campus garden will increase functional biodiversity and contribute to the cultural goals of this project through the integration of edible perennial species and permaculture principles. Both the process and results of the restoration of this site will invite the transformation of the visitor into a participant in the ecology of the site. It will also explore the potential of the local community to become “regenerative disturbers” through place-based learning, research, and social healing through diverse yields and the integration of traditional ecological knowledge.