MONTPELIER, Vt. – Since 2005, the Vermont Land Trust has recognized outstanding high school juniors and seniors who are dedicated to agriculture and forestry. This year, Brady Roy of Springfield and Paige Surrell of Windsor each received a Land Stewards Award presented by the land trust, along with a check for $300. Seven other students across the state also received awards.
“VLT congratulates Brady and Paige for their hard work and dedication,” said Nick Richardson, president & CEO of the Vermont Land Trust. “These students are our future farmers, foresters, and land stewards who will keep our local businesses and working lands strong and healthy for years to come.”
Brady Roy, Springfield
Brady was nominated for the award by John Harmer, his horticulture and natural resources instructor at River Valley Technical Center in Springfield. John said, “Brady has a great work ethic which comes from his years of practical work experience. His intelligence, thoughtfulness, and reliability are only surpassed by his hard work and diligence.”
For the past 10 years, Brady has been working on his family’s 25-acre woodlot, where you can find him felling trees or feeding and caring for the family’s beef cattle, cows, and chicken. He can operate a tractor with ease and tell you the quality of a potential log within a tree. He even has his own team of oxen, which he uses to haul loads and compete in 4-H programs. He puts in 30 hours a week at the woodlot on top of his school activities, evidence of his clear passion for working the land.
“The connection I have to Vermont’s land is unbreakable,” said Brady. “From gathering sap in the spring and haying in the summer to watching the mountains fill with colors in the fall, Vermont is the best place on earth. I am happy to call it home.”
Looking ahead, Brady plans to attend college and major in forestry. In addition to pursuing a career in forestry, he hopes to expand the family business of farming, sugaring, and balsam wreath production.
Paige Surrell, Windsor
In her freshman year at Woodstock Union High School, Paige had the opportunity to study horticulture and join the Woodstock Future Farmers of America chapter. From this, she says, her love for the outdoors and farming blossomed.
“I wanted to know where my fruits and vegetables were coming from and to make sure I was supporting local farmers,” said Paige. “I started working in the dairy industry my sophomore year of high school and was able to learn a lot about how it contributes to our lands and how we as people impact the farming industry.”
Paige was nominated for the award by her agriculture teacher at Woodstock Union, who described Paige as independent, hardworking, and highly motivated. She cited that it was important for Paige to know where food comes from and to grow as much locally as possible.
Paige will be going to Johnson and Wales to study equine business management. Someday, she hopes to have her own farm to raise livestock and produce.
“I know that in the upcoming years I will continue to learn, grow, and cultivate foods that can be put both on my table and the tables of those around me,” said Paige. “For me personally, there is nothing more rewarding than knowing where your food comes from and the dirt-covered, hardworking hands behind it.”