Conservation Commission


Stephen Willbanks, (Chair)

Kate Root, Vice Chair

Mike Hebb, Trails Commissioner

J. T. Horn

Chuck Sherman

Steve Faccio

David Paganelli

Micki Colbeck

Will Cooney


The group can be contacted at

Meetings are held on the 4th Tuesday of every month at 7:00 PM at the Morrill Homestead Education Center.


To identify and conserve Strafford’s natural resources, to educate the community about our natural heritage, and to foster local environmental stewardship.

Current Projects:  To alert the community to the ecological threats posed by invasive species in general and more immediately by the Emerald ash borer, an invasive insect recently discovered in Orange County which attacks and kills all species of ash tree.  To continue efforts to map and classify all the wetlands in Strafford and create an inventory of plant species found in each.   To develop a walking trail through the valley between the villages.  To correlate the SCC’s Open Space Plan with the new Town Plan.

Invasive Species

The following invasive plants are around and in Strafford.  Each link has information on these plants and how to help get rid of them from our landscape. Select the block and then click on "go to link" for more information

Emerald Ash Borer

Update - 6/1/18

As many landowners may be aware, emerald ash borer was found in Vermont in February of 2018. It was found at the intersection of Washington, Orange and Caledonia counties in the towns of Orange, Barre, Plainfield and Groton.  Another infestation has just been confirmed in Montpelier.   In addition to providing guidance on forest management in response to EAB, Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) is working with the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (AAFM) to focus resources on slowing the spread of Emerald Ash Borer. Please note that website is the "go to" place for the most up to date information on Emerald Ash Borer. We will do our best to keep you informed of any updates we receive but you can visit this website often to keep apprised of any changes.


Buckthron replaces native trees and shrubs in Vermont's forests and fields. It is easy to see in the fall when its dark blue berries cover the tree's branches.

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard invades Vermont's forests and wet meadows. This pant is easy to see in April and May when its white flowers are blooming.

Wild Chervil

Wild chervil invades Vermont's fields and forests. It is easy to see in May and June when its white flowers are in bloom.


Purple loosestrife invades Vermont's fields, marshes, and bogs. It is easy to see in the summer when its showy magenta blooms are at their peak.


Japanese knotweed invades the banks of Vermont's rivers, streams and lakes. It is easy to see in August when its white flowers bloom.


Goutweed invades Vermont's fields, river edges and floodplain forests. It is easy to see in July when its white flowers are in bloom.

The proposed Ashley Community Forest will be the outgrowth of the anticipated donation of the 218-acre Ashley parcel by the Alliance of Vermont Communities to the Towns of Strafford and Sharon and is anticipated to be owned and managed jointly by the two towns.  The property straddles the Town-line between Strafford and Sharon on Nutting Road, just off Strafford's Brook Road (i.e., Fay Brook Road in Sharon).


The Ashley Community Forest is envisioned to be a community asset providing outdoor education, natural resource education, historic preservation, sustainable timber harvesting and scenic ahd recreational opportunities for the public.  The property will be permanently protected by a conservation easement held jointly by the Vermont Land Trust and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.  Both the Ashley Community Forest parcel and the adjacent Manning Farm parcel were considered to be under threat by the NewVistas development, which was opposed by both communities at their 2017 Town Meetings.


An extensive trail network is planned for the Ashley parcel which could linked on the west to the proposed Manning Farm Trail and eventually on the north to a trail to be developed on the Robinson Round Barn Farm.

Ashley Forest map2.jpg

For more information and projects on the Ashley Community Forest visit the Alliance for Vermont Communities Webpage. Click here.