Watershed Quest Challenge

This summer we launched our 2017 Watershed Quest Challenge, designed to encourage YOU to get outside and explore your favorite Upper Valley pond, stream, river, or swimming hole—and write a Valley Quest! Watershed Quest submissions will have the chance to be featured in the 2018 Super Quest, and the author of the winning Quest will receive a grand prize.

For many, the idea of writing a Valley Quest can be daunting, but fear not—anybody can write a Quest! We encourage you to get outside your comfort zone and learn about the history of the special places in your backyard.

For those of you interested in the Watershed Quest Challenge but unsure where to start, we have a ton of resources online, as well as a short video series! Check out the first video below:


Many thanks to our Watershed Quest Challenge sponsors:

Vermont Conservation department logoFarm-Way Logo

Watershed Quest Challenge & Quest Writing Workshop

Sign up now for our FREE Quest Writing Workshop—you’ll get the tools you need to write your own Valley Quest for our 2017 Watershed Quest Challenge!

With August just around the corner, we are halfway through Valley Quest season! We’ve had a wonderful season so far, but we have so much more on the horizon…

Last month, we launched our 2017 Watershed Quest Challenge, designed to encourage YOU to get outside and explore your favorite Upper Valley pond, stream, river, or swimming hole—and write a Valley Quest! Watershed Quest submissions will have the chance to be featured in the 2018 Super Quest, and the author of the winning Quest will receive a grand prize.

For many, the idea of writing a Valley Quest can be daunting, but fear not—anybody can write a Quest! We encourage you to get outside your comfort zone and learn about the history of the special places in your backyard.

For those of you interested in the Watershed Quest Challenge but unsure where to start, come to our FREE Quest Writing Workshop on August 11 with internationally renowned educator and author Steve Glazer! We will go through the basics of Quest writing, all while putting together a Valley Quest about the Mascoma River in Lebanon, N.H.

We will meet a bit before 9 am at Eldridge Park in Lebanon on August 11. If you plan to attend, email Carrie@VitalCommunities.org by August 7 to register. Dress to spend the day outside, and pack a lunch (snacks will be provided).


Many thanks to our Watershed Quest Challenge sponsors:

Vermont Conservation department logo Farm-Way Logo

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Partner Spotlight: Hypertherm

Hypertherm: Social Responsibility at its Core

A global company founded and headquartered right here in the Upper Valley, Hypertherm has been a champion of community engagement and environmental responsibility since its founding in 1968.

“Our founder, Dick Couch, has always believed that as a business, we’re a citizen of this community, and we’re only going to be as strong as our associates and community and environment allow us to be,” said Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility Jenny Levy, a member of the Vital Communities board.

Hypertherm is a 100 percent associate-owned manufacturer of industrial cutting systems, with 1,100 associates living and working in the Upper Valley. “Our associates want the company to succeed, and they want our region to be strong and resilient,” She said. “There’s a very strong connection between the two when the owners of the business live in the region.”

With these values at its core, Hypertherm has been a natural key partner of Vital Communities.“It’s important to our associates to have safer, more economical, and more environmentally sound commuting options. It’s important that they are aware of the region’s challenges and inspired to be part of the solutions. It’s important that we share our best practices and learn from others so we can all move toward greater energy efficiency for our region,” Jenny said. “Vital Communities pulls us together across state lines, town lines, and sectors to address these critical regional issues.”

An advocate for Leadership Upper Valley, Hypertherm has made it possible for associates to participate annually since 2010. The experience benefits the associate, the community, and the workplace, said Community Citizenship Manager Stacey Chiocchio, who has both graduated from and taken a guiding role in the program.

“It gives you a much more in-depth understanding of the issues in the region from experts in the subject matter,” Stacey said. “And you get to share the experience with 29 other people who have different perspectives.” Associates who participate not only bring valuable ideas and networks back to Hypertherm, they become more involved in the community, she said.

Hypertherm has also provided many hours of volunteer support for Vital Communities, encouraging employees to help with everything from data entry to monitoring Valley Quest boxes. In 2016, 12 associates participated in two Valley Quest “blitz” days, ensuring the hidden treasure boxes for nine Quests were in place and fully stocked. Hypertherm even hosts a Quest written by their Technical Writing Team on the trails at its Hanover location (you can find it at VitalCommunities.org/ValleyQuest).

In addition to its community work at the corporate level, Hypertherm’s HOPE Foundation makes grants to a range of nonprofit organizations, including Vital Communities. Associates volunteer to serve on the committee that makes the funding decisions, choosing how to multiply the company’s local impact.

“Vital Communities does impressive work to make the Upper Valley stronger, convening our region around very important topics for an employer like Hypertherm as well as for our associates who live in the Upper Valley,” Jenny said. “We want to be part of that work and part of the solutions.” –Jenny Levy. Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, Hypertherm

To learn more about how your business can partner with Vital Communities, e-mail Rachel@VitalCommunities.org