On the main campus, there are approximately 39 acres of designated Natural Areas, about a third of total land area. These are home to native flora and fauna in a variety of floodplain habitats, including riparian forests, hay and corn fields in various stages of succession, marshland, and low wooded areas.
Near the river, the college maintains a 35-meter wide buffer zone that provides a number of ecosystem services, field sites for classes and studies of the river and riparian forests, and recreation opportunities. Five miles southeast of the main campus, Green Mountain College’s Deane Nature Preserve provides an additional 85 acres of natural area for education, research, recreation, and personal use.
In addition to providing ecological and societal benefits, natural areas address conservation goals set at both state and regional levels by organizations such as the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, and the Poultney-Mettowee Natural Resource Conservation District.
The College’s Natural Areas Policy and Invasive Species Policy guide the use and management of College natural areas. Users are asked to practice Leave-No-Trace principles. The policies also provide guidelines for sustainable use of the areas, removal of invasive species, planting native species, restoration of areas such as the old corn and hay fields, and cleanup.