2014 Tree Steward Award: Student Category

Amie Schiller was born and raised in Vermont and is a senior in the Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. She is a Wildlife and Fisheries major with a minor in GIS. She has had internships with the VT Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Hogback Mountain Conservation Association, and has been a Rubenstein community Steward since her sophomore year. Amie brought her love and passion of nature, community, photography, and Vermont to her internship with the Vermont Community and Urban Forestry Program and the Vermont Downtown Program in 2014.

Amie was selected for an internship with the Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Program during the fall 2013 semester to coordinate the Vermont Village Greens Initiative in collaboration with the Vermont Downtown Program with the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD). The Vermont Village Greens Initiative focuses on promoting awareness and understanding of the cultural, economic, and historical value that village greens provide to Vermont. The Initiative partners include the Vermont Downtown Program under the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program under the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, the Office of Experiential Learning within the University of Vermont’s (UVM) Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources, and the Preservation Trust of Vermont. During her internship, Amie coordinated and managed multiple projects. She was the project leader and point person for four UVM courses and 60 UVM students that were conducting research on eight village greens across Northern and Central Vermont. Through her leadership, students developed projects that highlighted the environmental, cultural, and physical assets of each village green that included:

• Opportunity/constraint maps, site inventory analysis, and conceptual plans and designs, as a part of Stephanie Hurley’s Fundamentals of Landscape Design (PSS 137) class;
• An ethnographic report of village green use, created by Ian Kola and Aaron Szotka, from Cecelia Danks’ Community-based Natural Resource Management course (ENVS295);
• A set of reports entailing the results of a comprehensive ecological survey and inventory of trees growing on each village green using USDA Forest Service’s iTree software, was developed for the original greens by Chloe Hundtermark and Nick McDougal from the Environmental Problem-Solving and Impact Assessment senior capstone course (NR206). Another Environmental Problem-Solving and Impact Assessment group continued this iTree study on a new set of nine greens during the spring of 2014.
• A pilot case study that included a sustainable design plan for the Fair Haven Village Green was created by David Raphael’s Park Recreation and Design class.

Amie was fully committed and engaged with the Village Green project and began to develop a report to capture the research completed during her internship. Amie’s passion for the project grew and VT UCF consequently extended her internship. Amie synthesized the UVM’s students work, contributed her own historical analysis for each village green, and provided further insight into the cultural and environmental value village greens provide to the state of Vermont. Amie, completed her internship in August 2014 and submitted a beautiful 65-page report on Vermont’s village greens. Through her work with the Vermont Village Greens Initiative, Amie also compiled a rich collection of village green photographs taken throughout Vermont. Amie's dedication, engagement and ownership of this project demonstrated her hard work, commitment, and passion for trees, public open spaces, and community in Vermont. The Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program and the Vermont Downtown Program (ACCD) were thrilled and happy to have had the opportunity to work with Amie throughout this project. 


University of Vermont, Burlington, VT