NEWPORT — Riley Brooks of the North Country Career Center received the Land Stewards Award from the Vermont Land Trust this week.
The award, now in its eleventh year, acknowledges the hard work of tomorrow’s agricultural and forestry leaders with an unrestricted cash prize of $250.
Riley has a strong interest in forestry and woodworking. He was one of five students across the state to receive the award, which honors hard work, initiative, and academic excellence in Vermont’s vocational agriculture and forestry programs.
“Innovative, dedicated agricultural and forestry professionals, such as Riley, care for our working landscape, shape Vermont communities, and are essential to the local economy,” said Gil Livingston, President of the Vermont Land Trust. “We are happy to honor these five students for the land stewardship they have demonstrated.”
Riley started a balsam pillow business that he’s been running for five years and is continuing to expand. He is also interested in Christmas tree production and is currently searching for planting sites.
His interest in forestry applies to many different topics, such as traditional and modern logging methods, woodworking, sawmilling, and arboriculture. He is looking forward to a future that involves working with the land.
This summer, he is attending a program at Paul Smith’s College to learn traditional woodsmen’s skills. He plans to study forestry in college, and has dreams of working as a government forester.
“While these jobs tend to be highly competitive, Riley has the interest level, the dedication, and the aptitude to succeed,” said Sam Nijensohn, a natural resources teacher who nominated Riley for the award.