By Connie Snyder
Connie Snyder is a writer, environmentalist and UVLT volunteer who played a major role in the community effort to conserve Zebedee and visits the property frequently throughout the year.
At this time last year, many people from Thetford and surrounding
communities had contributed two major trail-building workdays plus a
morning of kiosk-raising in preparation for the November 17th dedication of the Linny Levin Trail at Upper Valley Land Trust’s Zebedee Wetlands on Houghton Hill Road. (And, through Thetford’s Conservation Commission, hundreds had contributed thousands of dollars in 2009 enabling UVLT to purchase the property which was slated for development, thus assuring public access forever).
During 2013, an additional work party of Dartmouth freshmen sponsored by The Tucker Foundation, as well as steady maintenance by UVLT stewardship employees and volunteers have continually improved the trail without taking away the “wild” feeling of this woods and wetlands habitat.
A Valley Quest in Linny’s memory was also established last November and over 80 people have signed the logbook. Dartmouth ecology students and Vermont Law School students have also studied the place. Except, perhaps, for the hour or so on most Thursday mornings when 30-plus enthusiastic second graders from Thetford Elementary School walk the trail as part of their wetlands-study curriculum or, occasionally, when TES third graders or students from Open Fields School excitedly visit this living outdoor classroom, all who come to Zebedee exclaim upon the remarkable tranquility and beauty of this lovely place so close and yet so far from village center and busy highway. Quotes from the Valley Quest log book echo this enthusiasm: “Jules and I have gone on many quests but this was by far the best ever” and, from a well known photographer, “This place is so wonderful, thanks to all who made it so.”
We can all be thanking each other. If you’re a regular at Zebedee, you already feel this. If you haven’t gotten over there yet, know that it’s open year ’round (and the Valley Quest box will still be there waiting for you to find it). Though the amazing bird, plant, amphibian, insect, reptile and mammal life packed into those 27 acres are not so apparent just now,the place is still wonderful in winter. In fact, every day at Zebedee is cause for celebration.