Our programs are usually free and open to the public, unless stated otherwise. Many of our program sites are on private property or in remote locations, so please register in advance, if requested, and heed the dress or equipment requirements.
- Somerset Old Growth Forest Tour
Saturday March 2 WRWA Members Only Field Trip
Retired Windham County Forester Bill Guenther will lead a tour to a Somerset woodlot in what we believe to be a stand of old growth, which consists mostly of yellow birch. This 60-acre property was a gift to Leland & Gray High School many years ago. About 12–15 acres of this property are stocked with the big birches, the remainder in spruce/fir and beaver flowage.
Two years ago Bill went out before leaf-out and measured what he believed to be the largest yellow birch in the stand. Since the State champion yellow birch died up in Victory few years ago, a new champ was crowned out in Somerset.
We offer this trip only to WRWA members and the group size is limited to 12. Bill will need to hear from you by February 26ththif you are interested in going. We need a minimum of five folks to sign up for the trip, so please contact Bill by phone or email to let him know you want to sign on.
We will meet in West Brattleboro at 9:30 a.m. to carpool (with a later stop in Wilmington) as parking can be very limited out there in the winter. Once at the Somerset Dam, we’ll travel 1.5 miles up the Old County Road to the western edge of the property, then bushwhack east out to the old growth. We ask that folks bring either skis or snowshoes: This is a big snow belt and early March could potentially bring snow depths at about chest high.
At about lunchtime, we’ll stop at the woodlot’s campsite and have a picnic lunch. It will be a nice warmup if you also bring a thermos of your favorite hot beverage. After lunch we’ll head out into the birch stand and look at these magnificent specimens; many are well over three feet in diameter.
We hope to conclude our day by about 4 p.m. Keep in mind that Somerset is the icebox of Windham County, and even though the trip will take place in March, we could easily have some pretty severe winter conditions, so dress warmly and in layers. We want to assure a safe and enjoyable day for everyone.
You need to call Bill Guenther at 365-4252 or e-mail him at to reserve a spot (no later than February 26th), get the specific meeting place, and to make sure you’ve got the right gear. This trip is moderate to somewhat strenuous, and we’ll be a long way from anywhere. Bill also needs to ensure that the private road up to the dam has been plowed. Adverse road conditions could cause us to cancel. Spring comes very late out there!
- Winter Tree Walk & Potluck Lunch
Saturday, March 9th at 10 a.m.
Bill Guenther, who recently retired as Windham County Forester, will lead a winter tree identification walk in a Halifax woodlot, about a 15-minute drive from West Brattleboro. Bill will show us how to use characteristics such as habitat, growth form, branching pattern, and bark to identify about 20 species of native Vermont trees. This includes a special spot from where we can view four different species of birch tree.
We will walk along gently rolling terrain. Bring your snowshoes, as conditions in Halifax are typically colder and snowier than Brattleboro. The walk will begin at 10 a.m., followed by a potluck lunch. For those who may not be up for snowshoeing, you are welcome to come and sip hot cider and talk about trees while the others are on the walk. Well-mannered dogs on leashes are welcome to participate in this event.
If you plan to join us, please contact Linda Lyon (LindaALyon@gmail.com or 802-368-2211) by March 6th for directions and parking details.
- Sugar House Tour 2019
Sugarhouse Tour to be held Saturday, March 23rd at 1:00 pm –
East Hill Farm Sugarhouse is a small, fairly traditional sugaring operation with about 1200 taps more or less depending on the weather and what we feel like. We set about 1050 taps in pipeline with about 400 on 3/16” line in a gravity situation and an additional 700 on some fairly modest vacuum. We also normally set an additional one to two hundred buckets because we need the exercise and we can’t quite give up that part of the old ways. We usually produce between 200 and 300 gallons of syrup annually. We boil with a 40” by 9’ wood fired evaporator and have recently added a small sizes RO machine to increase efficiency.
As an interesting side line, we are also the research and testing center for the Hot End System. The Hot End came into being when a technologically gifted friend was here on a cold day helping set up pipeline. His comment was “why don’t you have something to warm this tubing?” The reply was “why don’t you build something?” He did and after a couple of years we started marketing the Hot End. For more details visit: http://www.flushtec.com/products.html
Ted will have a demonstration of his tubing tool known as the Hot End System as well as a few units for sale. Syrup will be available for sale as well.
I-91 to exit 2. WEST on Rte. 9 (travel 1.3 miles)
LEFT onto Greenleaf St. (Just after 7-Eleven)
Greenleaf turns into Hinesburg Rd.. After 1.4 miles take a hard LEFT to stay on Hinesburg Rd.
Travel about 3.9 miles SOUTH on Hinesburg Rd.
Turn RIGHT onto Colyer Rd., the sugarhouse is down the hill on the LEFT.
- Game of Logging Chainsaw Course
Saturday April 27 and Sunday April 28 +++ Registration Opens March 1st
Taught by Northeast Woodland Training, in partnership with the Windham County Conservation District and Windham Regional Woodlands Association
Spring Sessions: Dummerston, VT
Registration Opens March 1st 2019
Level I: April 27
Level II: April 28
This program is designed for novice to advanced chain saw users. Novices develop safe and productive habits from the start, while experienced chain saw users improve their skills and “unlearn” bad habits and unsafe techniques. In this hands-on training, one instructor works with a group of up to ten participants to ensure that each participant has time to practice the techniques and receive personal feedback. Participants receive individualized coaching at a series of in-the-woods practice stations. By listening to explanations, watching demonstrations, and practicing techniques, participants come away with better work habits and greater confidence in their ability to safely fell trees and work in the woods.
Level 1 focuses on introducing the participant to open face felling and the development of techniques to safely use it. Topics covered include personal protective equipment, chainsaw safety features, chainsaw reactive forces, bore cutting, pre-planning the fell, and understanding hinge wood strength.
Level 2 focuses on maximizing chainsaw performance through basic maintenance, carburetor setting, and filing techniques. Limbing and bucking techniques are introduced, spring pole cutting is covered and more felling is practiced.
Each session runs from 8am-4pm. The cost per session is $175
To SIGN UP contact the Windham County Conservation District:
(802)689-3024 or email email@example.com
- Making Essential Oils And Plant Walk With Heart Grown Wild
Sunday, May 19 time tba
Join herbalist Santalena Groves, Alchemist/Creator of Heart Grown Wild, LLC, an herbal skincare company based in Wardsboro, to take a deep dive into how essential oils are produced through live distillation of wild harvested plants. The purpose of the workshop is to educate attendees through a visual demonstration of the amount of plant material it takes to produce one drop of essential oil. Join us for a plant walk outside and learn first-hand how to make hydrosol and essential oil from start to finish. Space is limited to 20 participants. Contact Dan Healey to sign up and to get the full agenda and location details. Email or call 802-387-6128.