Woodbury’s Natural History Publication, Our Town: Introduction to Natural History

Susan Sawyer has been with the Woodbury Conservation Commission for about twenty years and she is a naturalist. The Conservation Commission's role is to advise the select board and to educate the public on the issues that happen within Woodbury. Her main focus is on education and she is the one who wrote the natural history publication and created maps. It was published in 2006 but she started writing in in 2005. Other members of the WCC edited and town residents contributed photos for the publication. Anci Zahn, another Woodbury resident and professional graphic designer, did the layout of the publication. Woodbury Community Fund granted them $3000 to use for the publication, which covered the printing and mailing costs to all Woodbury landowners. The publication is twelve pages long with a total of 5000 words. The publication was only sent to those who are within Woodbury, but other conservationists and naturalists got some of the extra copies, and have done similar projects. Printing cost about $2 a booklet. Over $1000 was spent on mailing and all the grant money was spent. The publication goes in depth about topics like geology, water, wildlife, special ecosystems, and the species in the area. These topics might not be too in depth, but they are detailed enough that everyone can understand the material, whether or not you know the material or not. The big purpose of this is the community of Woodbury being aware of all the environmental factors that happen within Woodbury. The publication is meant to raise awareness all around the town of Woodbury.

Project Contact: Susan Sawyer
Project Contact Email: sksawyer@gmail.com
Year Completed: 2006
Project Lifespan: 2006
Regional Planning Commision: Lamoille County Planning Commission
water, wetland, wildlife
Other Keywords: Education, Natural History, Conservation, Wetland
Project Accomplishments:

While it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of outreach and education, there is no doubt the document has helped Woodbury residents and others learn more about the natural history and ecology of Woodbury.

Project Partners:

Anci Zahn
Woodbury Conservation Commission members, Michael Gray, Paul Council, and Norman Etkind
Photographers Steve Faccio, Tom Beers, Norman Etkind
Woodbury Community Fund

Critical to Success:

Having an engaged local expert and volunteer was critical to its development and then having a partnership of townspeople to edit the document and provide pictures as well as a funding source were are critical to its publication.


The biggest challenge this publication faced was that it was a lot of work, but they also had a lack of time. Since the conservation commission is all volunteer based, members didn't have much spare time to work on it to its full potential. The document supplies a lot of information, and it took a lot of time to get all written. The layout of the publication was a lot of work to do and it took several hours to get the final output.