The Conservation Commission is taking stock of our town’s unique natural heritage by conducting a biodiversity inventory and assessment. Such accounting is an important step in developing strategies to ensure our treasured natural landscape will be here to benefit our future generations.

To do this we are working with naturalist Patti Smith from the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (BEEC) to map large areas of unfragmented forest, habitat connectivity, and areas with a diversity of landforms.

Patti began her work in 2018 by studying existing state maps of Guilford’s geology, physical features, land cover, forest patterns, and surface waters. She then identified parcels in Guilford that are likely to support these features. The Conservation Commission contacted landowners, and where permission was given, Patti has been visiting these parcels to look for important habitat features.

She focuses on locating smaller-scale significant and rare natural communities that are easy to miss just looking at maps. The inventory is also identifying habitat features that are critical to wildlife such as remote oak and beech stands, vernal pools, undeveloped stream corridors, and grass and shrubland habitats.

The Green River watershed was the first area of focus in this project. The steep wooded hills along the river host pockets of the Rich Northern Hardwood Forest, a natural community that supports a number of unusual plant species and spring ephemeral wildflowers. Fieldwork is continuing in the central portion of Guilford.

In November 2019, landowner Anne Montgomery sent this note to the Guilford Conservation Commission: “I wanted to let you know that Patti Smith and I had a wonderful walk on my parcel (and the adjacent 2 parcels of my neighbors) a few weeks ago. We spent almost 4 hours bushwhacking from the vernal pool to the oak-hickory dry forest at the top of East Mountain. She took lots of pictures. And I learned a lot!”

Do you have a parcel that has features of interest? If so, please contact the Conservation Commission at

Please also contact us if you know the location of vernal pools or bear-clawed beech trees, or if you see any of the reptiles shown on this flyer.

You can also look at these Vermont Fish & Wildlife maps of Guilford’s natural resources:

Vermont Fish & Wildlife has also provided us with a guide for inventory mapping for town planning. which can be found here.