A hike through the woods is a story walk, if you are paying attention. Regardless of the time of year, a hike on a trail through the Vermont woods tells a story about the life of the forest. In the spring, fledglings sailing out of the warmth of their nests tell the story of liberation. The trees that persist in producing leaves after a lightening or windstorm tell a story of healing. A grove of one-foot-tall white pines tell a story of the future of the forest. Trees don’t exist as singular organisms. Trees and other forest beings depend on each other, share trauma and the resources of their shared environment. This tells us the story of community. Every step on a hike is an opportunity for learning from the stories told in animal tracks, fallen limbs, bird song, and the rustling of forest mammals.
Stories are a powerful way to connect and understand each other; they highlight our interconnections, complexity, and the importance of hope and resilience. This annual report tells five stories that demonstrate not only the impact of our work, but also the values and commitments that are foundational to the community that is the Vermont Network.
-Karen Tronsgard-Scott, Executive Director