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Life Below the Surface: The Aquatic Plants of Lake Ninevah

Friday August 2nd- 5:30PM-6:30PM

Mount Holly School – 150 School St. Mount Holly, Vermont 05758

Join Ninevah Foundation in welcoming biologist, ecologist, and co-owner of Arrowwood Environmental, Michael Lew-Smith, as he dives into the current state of Lake Ninevah’s aquatic plant communities. Learn about the native and rare species that can be found at and below the surface of Lake Ninevah waters, one of Vermont’s beautiful lakes.

The event is hosted by the Ninevah Foundation in affiliation with Farm & Wilderness and is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Representatives from Ninvevah Foundation will be there to answer any questions about the conservation of Lake Ninevah and its surroundings after the presentation.

Click HERE for more information, directions, or to share the event with others.

The Surprising Nature of Lake Ninevah

August 4, 2:30-4:00
Mount Holly School

What surprises did nature have in store when Vermont ecologist Brett Engstrom surveyed Lake Ninevah and the 3,300 acres of conserved land surrounding it? Dozens of Mount Holly residents gathered to learn the answers, when Brett discussed his remarkable two-year inventory of the ecological resources of the Lake Ninevah area.

The event, hosted by the Ninevah Foundation, also celebrated the joining of forces with the Farm & Wilderness Foundation in service of stewarding the environment and educating young people. Representatives of both organizations were on hand to answer questions and to hear feedback from the Mount Holly community about conserving Lake Ninevah and its surroundings.

To learn more about the ecological inventory and see the maps created from the project, click here.

Joan “Cindy” Amatniek
Steve Burwell
Mindy Fullilove
Adam Keller
Nina Lesser-Goldsmith
Colin Mitchell
Tonya Orme
Zora Rizzi
David Scherr
Andrew Schulz
Rebecca Steinitz
Blake Stewart
Martha Stitelman
Andrea Taylor
Kristi Webb
Dano Weisbord
Ann-Marie White
Clarence Williams
Ninevah Foundation and Farm & Wilderness Join Forces

May 2018

Dear Friends of the Ninevah Foundation:

We have exciting news about the future of the Foundation. The Boards of the Ninevah Foundation and the Farm & Wilderness Foundation have agreed on a new governance structure and sharing of resources which we believe will be beneficial to both organizations, to our community, as well as Lake Ninevah and surrounding land. Through this letter, we want to share with you the key points of this new relationship, as well as the background that led to it.

As many of you may know, the Ninevah Foundation is a successor to the for-profit Wilderness Corporation that was founded in 1961. The Wilderness Corporation was in many ways an organization ahead of its time, a for-profit engaged in the buying and selling of land around Lake Ninevah for the purposes of conservation, and in support of the programmatic aims of the Farm & Wilderness Camps (also at the time for-profit). Both organizations have evolved since then. Farm & Wilderness, founded by Quaker Educators and operated under Quaker principles of governance, became a non-profit charitable organization in 1974. The Wilderness Corporation evolved into the non-profit charitable Ninevah Foundation in 2001.

Both organizations have thrived over this period. Farm & Wilderness has grown to include multiple summer programs, three of which are located on Ninevah Foundation land, and now owns approximately 1,200 acres of conservation land. Ninevah Foundation now owns and conserves more than 3,300 acres of land in the Lake Ninevah valley and on the spine of the Green Mountains, along an important corridor between the north and south sections of the Green Mountain National Forest.

Over the past 10 years, the Ninevah Foundation board has been asking critical questions about the role, management, and long term prospects of the Foundation. We have always operated as a working Board, hiring help as needed, but largely doing the work ourselves.

More recently, we have taken a much more active role in understanding and managing the features and resources available on our land. This has included programs such as the “milfoil monitors” at the state fishing access, educational events on our lands and in Belmont, and more active management of land-based invasive species.

The growth of these activities and the need to support them placed strain on Ninevah Foundation’s model of combined Board management and operations. Farm & Wilderness has always been, and continues to be, an organization with whom we have tremendous synergy. Their programs depend on the continued conservation of our lands, and our programs depend on the financial support we receive in the form of rent. In 2013, we began to discuss options and alternatives for working or affiliating with Farm & Wilderness that would bring long-term stability to the Ninevah Foundation.

We have now completed an agreement with Farm & Wilderness. Through this agreement, Ninevah Foundation will become one of three non-profit organizations run by a common

board of trustees dedicated to education of children in six summer camps and stewardship of the environment. The Ninevah Foundation will maintain its name, mission, property ownership and finances; and will now benefit from full time professional staff provided by Farm & Wilderness, who will continue to work with the Lake Ninevah community to steward the lake and the land around it. Our agreement requires the adoption of a stewardship plan and the hiring of a dedicated conservation director who will manage natural resources as well as work with those whose collaboration is critical to the conservation missions of the Ninevah and Farm & Wilderness Foundations.

Dano Weisbord, former President, and Andy Schulz, former Vice-President of the Ninevah Foundation will serve on the board of trustees that will oversee the Farm & Wilderness Foundation and the Ninevah Foundation; and serve on a newly formed conservation committee of the boards of both organizations. The agreement includes an on-going requirement that at least two board members have knowledge of Lake Ninevah and that one of them must own property in the immediate vicinity of the lake or be a family member of a land-owner.

We are very pleased to bring professional land stewardship to the Ninevah Foundation, and proud of this deepened relationship with Farm & Wilderness Foundation. Many of you have been long-time supporters of the Ninevah Foundation, and we are tremendously appreciative of your dedication. We will be counting on your continued support of the Ninevah Foundation and we look forward to making introductions of the staff people who will be working with us to carry on our mission of caring for Lake Ninevah and the surrounding land. We are happy to answer any questions you might have, so please feel free to be in touch with any of us.

With best regards,
Dano Weisbord
Trustee, Farm & Wilderness Foundation and Ninevah Foundation Former President, Ninevah Foundation

Andy Schulz
Trustee, Farm & Wilderness and Ninevah Foundation Former Vice-President, Ninevah Foundation

Rebecca Geary
Executive Director
Farm & Wilderness Foundation and Ninevah Foundation
Jay Kullman

Sustainable Resources Director
Farm & Wilderness Foundation and Ninevah Foundation


The Ninevah Foundation needs your input for a first-ever inventory of the 3,200 acres we conserve around Lake Ninevah. Much of the information you help us gather – about flora, fauna, geographical features and such – will be compiled in an ecological inventory that we have commissioned. Ecologist Brett Engstrom, who is overseeing the project, has framed most of the questions below.

But we are also taking this opportunity to learn more about historical sites and favorite recreational spots. Please take a few minutes to tell us about your discoveries in the area around Lake Ninevah. We will share the results of the survey with everyone who’s interested. Yes, this is crowdsourcing!

Using the questionnaire below, describe what you’ve seen and where, take a picture, use your GPS if you have one – the more “concrete” information the better. Please write your answers to these questions on a separate sheet of paper and bring it along with any photos to the NINEVAH NEIGHBORS NETWORK potluck dinner, August 6 at 5:30 in Blakely Meadow. Together we will mark maps to pinpoint places of interest.

If you can’t come to the August 6 get-together, please send your answers to We will share the results with everyone interested.


1. Interesting animals: mountain lions, bobcats, otters, turtles, salamanders, etc. Interesting birds, nests or nesting sites such as osprey nests or a heron rookery

2. Signs of wildlife presence:
Moose or deer (hoof prints or scat)
Beech tree stands marked by bear
Frog and salamander breeding sites: tadpoles, egg masses, places where frogs/salamanders cross roads on rainy nights
Fisher or otter tracks

3. Trees: Unusual species like red pine, hemlock, spruce. Big trees, old forests, old apple orchards

4. Rich woods where spring ephemerals appear: maidenhair fern, trout lily, spring beauties, Dutchman’s breeches, blue cohosh, wild ginger

5. Rich wildflower sites, amazing ferns, any plants that seem unusual or catch your attention

6. Geographical features: little gorges, ledges big and small, cliffs, rock or talus (broken rock debris) fields, glades or openings in woods that seem to be of natural origin

7. Watery areas: springs, seeps, swamps, remote wetlands, vernal pools (basins that fill with snow and ice melt in season, and dry up in summer)

8. Historical sites: old cellar holes, abandoned logging roads, any evidence of former farming community, etc.

9. Favorite trails/woods roads for hiking, biking, cross country skiing, spots to linger or picnic, favorite views or unusual landforms.

10. Anything else

Your name ______________________________________________

Your email address _____________________________________


Lake Ninevah: A Visitor’s Guide


Loon photo IMG_4151 8 -janet steward copy

The star attraction of Lake Ninevah is the pair of Common Loons that returns each summer to nest and raise their chicks. Since the loons starting nesting here two decades ago, their chicks have populated many other lakes in south-central Vermont.

Thanks to the Vermont Loon Conservation Project and volunteers, the state’s once-endangered loon population has rebounded from seven nesting pairs in the mid-1980s to 90 breeding pairs today.

Lake Ninevah is also home to a wide array of other wildlife. You may spot a salamander, a heron, a bald eagle or even a moose or bear.

Lake Ninevah is surrounded by land that is protected from development and open to hunting. Most of the shoreline remains wild, and the surrounding mountains and forests make for stunning vistas in every direction.

Volunteers work diligently to maintain this lake as a rare oasis of calm and one of Vermont’s natural treasures.

Before launching a boat from the state fishing access, please review the following lake-use guidelines. They are critical to keeping the lake healthy and beautiful.

  • Remove plants from your boat while it is on land.
  • Fish responsibly – keep your distance from the loons and don’t use lead sinkers and jigs, which can poison loons if ingested.
  • Observe the 5 m.p.h. speed limit.
  • Pack out your trash.

Note: The lake’s dam is not open for use by the public. Campfires and overnight camping are not permitted anywhere on the lakeshore.

Worse than Just Weeds: Eurasian Watermilfoil

The lake use guidelines above ask you to remove plants from your boat so that you don’t carry this invasive plant into the lake.

Milfoil floating in water cropped in PS

Eurasian watermilfoil has infested many Vermont lakes, ruining them for recreation and degrading the water as wildlife habitat. Thanks to boaters’ diligence as well as careful monitoring at the state fishing access and by trained divers, Lake Ninevah has remained milfoil-free for decades. If you think you see this plant in the lake, do not try to pull it yourself. Instead, please report it to

Protect Lake Ninevah

The Ninevah Foundation, a Vermont conservation non-profit, is dedicated to promoting the wilderness character and tranquil nature of Lake Ninevah and 3,300 acres of surrounding land, including most of the lakeshore. The Foundation relies on donations to pay for greeters at the state fishing access and for the trained divers who monitor the lake for invasive plant growth. Please click Support Our Work on the left to contribute.

Diver looking into water from boat

Support provided by

Palladium Builders, Inc.

Paul Burgess (802) 259-2375
Peter Kolenda (802) 228-5627

Harry’s Restaurant
(802) 228-2996
Corner of Routes 100N & 103 in Ludlow

Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

Loon photo by Janet Steward

July 2015 Trapping Furbearing Animals

Chris Bernier, head of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s Furbearer Management Program, led this comprehensive and thought-provoking program on the responsible trapping of Vermont’s furbearing mammals. Forum participants, ranging from trappers to local conservationists and summer visitors, learned how trapping contributes to the science of wildlife population management and protection of endangered species. Bernier also made a case for the fur trade, noting that, unlike some materials that humans wear for warmth, such as synthetic fleece, responsibly harvested fur is a sustainable resource.

August 2015 Saving the Songbirds

Dozens of people flocked (so to speak) to this fascinating forum to learn why some of Vermont’s nesting songbirds have declined dramatically in recent years. Chris Rimmer, conservation biologist and Executive Director of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, gave an engaging presentation on the threats to songbirds and how scientists are working to “keep them common.”

July 2014 The Buzz on Bumblebees

Sara Zahendra proved that she truly is the “Queen Bee” of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, with her dynamic program about the bumblebee.   We learned all about life in a bumblebee colony, why these cute, fuzzy pollinators are at risk, and what we can do about it. (Plant more flowers!)

August 2014 Not Invited: Invasive Plants

An overflow crowd learned how to to recognize and control a variety of invasive plants, in this forum featuring Hannah Putnam of  the Vermont Institute of Natural Science and the Ottauquechee Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area.  We also got a chance to meet the new game warden, Tim Carey, and learn about the increase in local black bear activity over the summer.

August 2013 Meet the Birds of Prey

Four live raptors played to a packed house at this highly entertaining event featuring Michael Clough, Assistant Director of the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum. Everyone at the Mount Holly Town Library was thrilled to get a close look at the birds – a barred owl, a red tailed hawk, a kestrel and a screech owl – and learn all about Vermont’s majestic birds of prey. It helped that Mike is not only an avid naturalist, but also a born actor and comedian. We will definitely invite him back for a future event!

July 2013 Beavers

Beavers have two sets of eyelids — the lids underneath are transparent so they can see while swimming underwater. That’s just one fascinating facet of nature’s busy builders, featured in this engaging presentation by Chris Bernier, leader of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s Furbearing Management Program. Participants in the forum at the Mount Holly Town Library learned all about beavers’ amazing engineering feats, how they benefit other wildlife and what to do when beaver architecture causes flooding and other problems for humans.

August 2012 Frogs, Turtles, Snakes and More

Fun frog fact: This critter will eat anything it can fit into its mouth – including another frog! Just one of the intriguing habits of reptiles and amphibians that Vermont naturalist James Andrews shared with a lively and inquisitive audience at the Mount Holly Town Library. As coordinator of the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas Project, Andrews tracks sightings of frogs, toads, turtles and snakes in each Vermont town. He distributed an up-to-date list of those known to be living in the Mount Holly area and urged everyone to look for certain species that haven’t been documented in 25 years.

July 2012 Meet the Moose

Mount Holly Town Library

The largest animal in Vermont’s wildlife landscape drew the biggest crowd ever for the “Know Your Wild Neighbor” series. An overflow crowd gathered to learn about the marvelous moose from Cedric Alexander, Moose Project Leader for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department for more than 20 years. Cedric clearly knows everything there is to know about moose – their lives and habits, their history in Vermont and likely places to spot one in the great outdoors. (Look for them at the manmade roadside “salt licks” created by road-salt runoff. And if you’re driving a car, be careful!)

July 2011 Bears

Did you know that black bears make “nests” in trees so they can feed in comfort? Forrest Hammond of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department shared that and many other intriguing bear facts in his engaging presentation at the Mount Holly Town Library. Audience members got answers to all their questions, like how to keep bears out of the backyard (take down that bird feeder) and what to do if you encounter a black bear (make a lot of noise and do NOT run away!).

Loon with chicks August 2011 Loons

Eric Hanson, biologist with the Vermont Loon Recovery Project, drew a capacity crowd for this presentation at the Mount Holly Town Library. The audience learned that just 25 years ago, common loons were disappearing from Vermont, with only 10 nesting pairs statewide. Now there are over 60 pairs — and the loons on Lake Ninevah have played a major role. The chicks they’ve produced since 1995 have likely helped colonize seven nearby water bodies.

(Photo by Ray Richer)

August 2010 Lake Ninevah Walk & Talk

Paul Nevin, a longtime Mount Holly resident and retired teacher, shared his 60-year “love affair” with Lake Ninevah at a Saturday afternoon gathering at the Fish & Wildlife Boat Access. The group then visited several spots around the lakeshore as Paul described how Lake Ninevah and its surroundings have changed since his boyhood vacations there in the 1950s.

Bobcats! July 2010 Bobcats

The crowd of wildlife lovers at Vermont Wildlife Biologist Kim Royar’s presentation learned that bobcats are one of the most widely distributed carnivores in the contiguous U.S., and the rocky ledges and wetlands of northwest Vermont are important habitat. But the animals are now at risk in the Green Mountain State due to encroaching land development.

July 2009 Invasives

Mount Holly Town Library

Lake Ninevah, and other Vermont lakes, attract a number of “invasive” plants and animals that can spread and take over a lake, choking off other life and making water recreation impossible. Marie Levesque Caduto, Watershed Coordinator with the Vermont D.E.C., showed how to identify unwelcome species like zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil, and what can be done to control them.

July 2008 Bats & “White Nose Syndrome”

Why are so many bats dying in Vermont…and why should we care? Scott Darling, a bat biologist with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, had the answers at this forum at the Mount Holly Town Library. Bats consume vast amounts of mosquitoes and crop-damaging insects, and some are important pollinators, feeding on nectar and pollen. But this valuable wildlife asset is threatened by a fungal epidemic that has spread throughout the eastern U.S. and into Canada.