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.
- Sugar House Tour 2018
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 1:00 p.m. Dave Matt’s Sugar House, Marlboro
This season will be the 38th year that we’ve been sugaring on this farm and like most smaller operations, it’s truly a family operation with my Dad, both my sons, and my grandkids all helping out. As far as I can determine, my sugarhouse is the third one to be built on this property, and over the years we’ve done three major rebuilds as our needs and equipment have changed. We currently set around 1800 taps and make 450 to 500 gallons a year. About 1200 taps run directly to the sugarhouse and are on vacuum. The other 600 taps are gravity lines that empty into 3 separate tanks and are gathered with a 500 gallon tank on a pick-up truck. We do not have a reverse osmosis machine, but we have a 5X16 wood fired evaporator with a steam-away, so boiling gets done relatively quickly. Wood is cut, split, and piled on racks and stored in a shed with greenhouse panels and solar powered fans to heat and move the air so the wood we burn is very dry. The racks are brought to the sugarhouse with forks on a loader and set inside near the arch. We fire right from these racks, making handling as efficient as possible. I hope you can make it on March 24th, I’d love to show you around!
– Dave Matt
- Somerset Old-Growth Forest
Thursday, March 29 – 9:30 AM – 3 PM. (This trip is highly dependent on weather and snow conditions so date and time are tentative.) WRWA Members Only
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.
Bill went out last spring just before leaf-out and measured what he thought was the largest yellow birch. Since the State champion yellow birch died up in Victory few years ago, a new champ was crowned out here 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 March 20th if 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 go.
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. We will 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 recommend that people bring a combination of skis and snowshoes: skis for the road and snowshoes for the bushwhack woods where brush complicates movement on skis. So take your pick, but Bill probably will bring both.
At about lunchtime, we’ll stop at the campsite and have a picnic lunch. It will be a nice warm-up 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 3 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 257-7967 X 305 to reserve a spot, 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!
- Bobcats in Vermont
Tuesday, April 10 at 7 p.m. — “Bobcats in Vermont,” Kim Royar, Dep’t. of Fish and Wildlife
Winston-Prouty Center, 130 Austine Dr., Holton Hall, 4th Floor, Brattleboro, Vt.
Kim will review the life history of bobcats and the results of a study done in the Champlain Valley to learn more about the bobcat’s home range and habitat requirements. She will discuss how human changes to the landscape affected bobcat populations in Vermont from the time of Native Americans to today.
Kim has worked for the Department of Fish and Wildlife for 36 years. She began her career as a habitat biologist providing technical assistance to private landowners. She was the statewide furbearer project leader for over 20 years and moved to the Central office for
several years to serve as Deputy Commissioner of the Dep’t. of Fish and Wildlife. Kim has returned to the field and currently works on both fur-bearer conservation and management and private lands conservation and management. Her passions include the conservation of land and species for future generations.
- Non-timber Forest Products
Sunday, May 20 — Gathering and processing local forest products to create natural skin and hair products. Winston-Prouty Center, 130 Austine Dr., Brattleboro, Vt.; Call 257-7967 for the time and/or check back for updated information
Join us this Spring as we delve into non-timber forest products with local producers Lena and Tom Groves of Heart Grown Wild, a Wardsboro-based business that creates organic plant-based skin and hair care products (www.heartgrownwild.squarespace.com). The day will include a foraging walk and a demonstration of how essential oils and hydrosols are made. Come prepared for a walk in the woods, time in the classroom and fun!