by Nancy Hill, Community Journalist
GREENSBORO – Two pioneers in the conservation movement in Vermont will be featured speakers at the annual meeting of the Greensboro Historical Society on Monday, August 8, at 7 p.m, at Fellowship Hall. Darby Bradley, 17-year president of the Vermont Land Trust (VLT) and Bob Klein, director of the Vermont Nature Conservancy (TNC) from the late 1970s until 2013, will discuss the history of land conservation in our state. The historical society’s summer exhibit, “50 Years of Land Conservation in Greensboro,” features many of the properties these two men helped to conserve.
Darby Bradley helped establish the Ottauquechee Regional Land Trust in Woodstock in 1977, which evolved into the statewide Vermont Land Trust. He served as its staff attorney (1981-1990), president (1990-2007) and a special assistant for donor and governmental relations until his retirement in 2013. During that period, VLT helped conserve hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland and forests throughout Vermont, including sizable projects in Greensboro, Craftsbury, Hardwick and surrounding communities.
Bob Klein became the Vermont Nature Conservancy’s first full-time director in the late 1970s, taking over the helm from UVM Professor Hub Vogelman. He established TNC’s statewide system of natural areas, identifying and then working to protect Vermont’s most important ecological resources. He supported Greensboro’s Barr Hill Natural Area throughout his tenure, and cobbled together twelve private holdings to create the town’s Long Pond Natural Area. In all, TNC protected dozens of natural areas and some 200,000 acres during Klein’s tenure.
VLT and TNC often worked together on important projects. They jointly acquired and managed the 26,000-acre Atlas Timberlands in northern Vermont. Together with The Conservation Fund and State of Vermont, they played major roles in the protection of the 132,000-acre Champion Lands in the Northeast Kingdom. One of their most important achievements was working with a coalition of organizations to conceive and lobby for the establishment of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB). VHCB has supported both land conservation and affordable housing projects throughout Vermont over the past 35 years.