P.O. BOX 127, WEST HALIFAX, VT 05358

Conservation Commission Meeting Minutes 

Thursday, August 26, 2021, at 6:30 PM

Meeting on Zoom (Location: or call +19292056099,,7814490827#

Attendees: Stephan Chait (Chair; SC), Dov Towler (Member; DT), Jess Cooney (Member; JC), Laurel Copeland (Clerk; LC), Andrea Rand (AR), Sue Kelly (SK)

Unable to attend: Lesley Pollitt (Treasurer; LP),

CALL TO ORDER at 6:33 pm





Regular Meeting Minutes of July 22, 2021 –  approved. 



Inventory of Trees in Halifax and Development of Tree Preservation Plan –  

Sue Kelly, Halifax Tree Warden spoke. There was an ash tree inventory in Bradford VT that caught SK’s attention. Vermont statute requires that every town have a tree warden. The duties of the tree warden were updated in 2020 with more awareness of the role of trees in flood control and global warming. SK completed online tree warden training from UVM Extension Service. An optional component of a town’s tree preservation plan can be shade trees; SK is in favor of developing this aspect of the Halifax tree plan. There are three major tree pests in Vermont: emerald ash borer (EAB), wooly adelgid, Asian longhorn beetles; they threaten 14 species of trees. SK proposed to inventory ash trees then plan what to do. In rural settings, the focus is on ash trees along public roadways. The inventory uses smart phones/tablets to gather the locations and characteristics of ash trees and upload these data to the state database. Training is available (LC took the training in Guilford with their conservation commission). SC wondered if Halifax students might be interested in doing the inventory. The Conservation Commission (CC) needs to get together a group, schedule the training, and generate a schedule for completion of the inventory. The CC can inform our fire warden, Malcolm Sumner, too. The CC can post on FaceBook, the town website, and Front Porch Forum. The CC will consider engaging with Windham Regional and the Guilford Conservation Commission; perhaps some members would help us here in Halifax. SK will get in touch with Cara Cheyette regarding putting the announcement on the town website. 

The following links were provided via email ahead of this meeting:

How to identify ash trees: 

How to identify emerald ash borer (EAB): 

Ash tree inventory report of Bradford, VT:



Reschedule the Composing Food Waste Workshop in Halifax – Nine people came to the original event, but it was canceled due to poor roads (presenter could not get here). The presenter, Athena, has several dates available on Saturdays; SC proposed taking her earliest with the 2nd date for rain date. LC will check for Hall availability on 9/18 and 9/25 at 2 PM. SC will communicate with Athena. 


Planning for an Event/Program with Rich Holschuh (RH) on the Abenaki, the first people living in what is now Southern Vermont. DT wrote to RH asking about Thursdays in October. RH said he can do one of the dates in October but is not sure which one; he will know better in a couple of weeks. DT will call SC when RH settles on a date. LC proposed that the planning include the option of RH presenting from a location with WiFi over Zoom, in case the pandemic worsens. AR talked with the Halifax Historical Society (HHS) about making this a joint venture; the members are leery of COVID or live out of town; they had questions regarding costs. The HHS was unsure of their interest in the event. AR is happy to help. Although RH does not charge a fee, the CC would like to make a contribution to local tribal organization; the CC will cover this contribution. There would be no cost to the HHS if they wanted to be co-sponsors. 


Meeting Arrangement – Discussion of in-person meeting and the use of remote access. Options are: (a) in-person outdoors, (b) in-person indoors, (c) in-person plus Zoom, (d) Zoom-only. At present the Open Meeting Laws require that there be a physical meeting location with at least one member of the CC there in person. Currently LC is providing the Zoom connection through her account. LC is not willing to be in a public room providing the Zoom link if members of the public can come into the meeting. SC will check with the select board regarding progress on an improved WiFi signal for public meetings. 


CoViD-19 Vaccination Clinic and Ice Cream Social, Update – LC: lots of vanilla ice cream was served! Also, moose tracks and salt caramel brownie. And about 25 persons got vaccinated.


OTHER BUSINESS – AR: who is responsible for the town recycling dumpsters? SC: The select board has oversight, and cameras are now in operation, but people still throw trash in. The town gets charged for contamination above 3%. DT: did it help to move the dumpsters to the highway department? SC said he would ask Lewis Sumner of the select board. There is less trash on Brook Road, however.


HEARING OF VISITORS – No additional input.


ADJOURNMENT at 7:21 pm.