About Us

About the Black River Action Team

The Black River Action Team began in 2000 as an idea turned reality.  After discovering a river full of tires, shopping carts, and trash, founder Kelly Stettner commented that "somebody ought to do something" about the mess!  Her husband replied, "Well, you're 'somebody'!"   The concept that "somebody ought to do something" became energized into action by the realization that everyone is a "somebody." Since that first cleanup of the Black River's banks and bed by three volunteers, the BRAT has grown to include more than seventy-five "someones" of all ages, working around the watershed. With the support of the Ottauquechee Natural Resources Conservation Districtas our umbrella organization, the BRAT continues this annual tradition of rolling up sleeves to get down & dirty in order to clean up the Black River and its tributaries. The BRAT's foundation has always been one of active, creative partnerships and common-sense stewardship - working together to achieve and maintain a thriving river ecosystem is a win-win situation. Where others see "problems" the BRAT sees opportunity: an opportunity to learn more about how a river system works, to network with other organizations working on similar scenarios, to partner with communities and landowners on finding a practical solution and consensus - an opportunity to get the job done. Over the years, the BRAT has built partnerships with various organizations to accomplish terrific things: ~ planting native trees to stabilize stream banks; ~ helping Springfield Girl Scouts earn the EPA's WaterDrop Patch; ~ collaborating with the Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission on a brochure about the watershed, and participating in a Stream Geomorphic Assessment during 2006/2007 ~ hauling trash out of the river and its tributaries during an annual event called RiverSweep; ~ conducting regular Visual Assessements to discover the overall condition of the river; ~ launching an ongoing monthly volunteer water quality monitoring program, plus an innovative Adopt-the-River campaign to encourage others in the watershed to monitor, clean, and celebrate a selected stretch of the river; ~ developing the Plant Partners program to work on managing the enormous challenge of invasive plants in the watershed; ~ and much more! Developing relationships with landowners and other organizations in the communities of the watershed is the foundation of the Black River Action Team. A vision of a thriving river ecosystem with a strong sense of community and a healthy economy is something everyone can share and celebrate.