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          Vergennes LEO Project Focuses on the Environment & Wildlife Rehabilitation

The Vergennes LEOs are very involved with and passionate about projects that benefit the earth and increase our stewardship of the environment, animals and the land. In the summer of 2023, they began a two-stage project in Addison County and received help to reach their goals from an LCIF Grant.

Partnering with Otter Creek Wildlife Rescue, the LEOs set about first creating wildlife corridors that could be used to support the soft release of injured mammals and birds. The LEOs went to the rescue first to discuss the plans and to attend a class led by Wildlife Rehabilitator & Educator Craig Newton about birds and owls. He brought several birds and spent time answering questions and explaining the connections between choices people make and their impact on the wild community. At another day event, the LEOs planted trees and bushes along brush hogged corridors of land. Each tree and bush was selected to fulfill a specific role in the creation of habitats to support the transition of rehabbed animals back to the wild.

The second phase of the project involved preparing the site and purchasing a shed that would serve as a home for rehabilitating owls. Matching funds from an LCIF grant, Otter Creek Wildlife Rescue and fundraising by the Vergennes LEOs and Lions made this project a reality. The process and interviews with both rehabbers and LEOs can be watched at

. The video was created by teen videographer Chance Koenig, who worked on the project along with the LEOs.

The LEOs are extremely grateful to the local, district and national levels of the Lions Club for their support and will be returning to Otter Creek Wildlife Rescue in the spring to work on a flight cage that will connect to the owl house.

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