On a rainy Wednesday employees in the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and 20 ECO AmeriCorps members travelled to American Flatbread in Waitsfield for DEC Day. This annual event is a celebration of the people in the department who work hard every day to preserve, enhance, restore, and conserve Vermont’s natural resources.
Although the weather wasn’t what we hoped for, the day was a success. Breakfast consisted of a medley of muffins, breads, fruit, and pastries concocted by DEC employees. After mingling and light refreshments the festivities began with a welcoming message from DEC Deputy Commission George Desch.
The keynote speaker, Nancy Matthews, Dean of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont, talked about the collaboration between the Agency of Natural Resources and the Rubenstein School. She specifically focused on how to prepare environmentally responsible citizens and leaders for the future.
Integrative learning, having students in the field applying what they learn in the classroom to the real world, was the key takeaway from her presentation. By fostering relationships with the Agency of Natural Resources and students in the Rubenstein School, students can experience what it’s like to work in a professional setting with the guidance of someone in the professional field.
After a short break the Division’s within the Department of Environmental Conservation all provided updates on the work that’s been done over the past year. It’s difficult to cram a year’s worth of exciting developments into seven and a half minutes. It’s clear that the Department works hard day in and day out to protect, maintain, enhance, and restore Vermont’s environment. Before lunch, staff were recognized for years of service and retirements. It was incredible to see people who have worked here for ten, twenty, thirty, and thirty-five years.
Lunch was a delicious array of flatbreads and fresh salad. Entertainment was provided by the Five Tunes followed by Count Bracey and the Lapsed Catholics. They played songs by Sublime, The Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Once lunch was over the ECO AmeriCorps members departed for the Fayston Town Hall for team building activities. DEC employees chose workshops to attend including, a tour of a mushroom farm, a geology tour, a food rescue workshop and Act 148.
Although it was raining hard all day, it didn’t dampen the spirits of anyone. Overall, it was a successful day of reflection, recognition, and rockin’ music.