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.
- Winter Tree Identification Walk
Marli Rabinowitz’s, WRWA’s outgoing President, property in Guilford.
Saturday, February 29, (snow/rain date March 7), 9:30–11 a.m.
Windham County Forester Sam Schneski will lead us on a Winter Tree Identification walk through field and forest. Learn to identify trees by their twigs, buds, bark, and other features that remain in winter when most have lost their leaves. Many common Windham County species will be seen, as well as a variety of invasive species, and some less seen but useful trees such as hawthorn, witch hazel, butternut, and black walnut. This program is good for those who can tell “if it’s a pine tree or not,” but it will also help those who want tips on more subtle features that characterize and differentiate similar species, and other tree lore.
We will have hot cider and soup afterwards, and then if you like, you can walk down to view the Green River dam and covered bridge, or ski/snowshoe on miles of trails.
Directions to 1428 Stage Road, Guilford:
From Exit 1, take Route 5 South to the Guilford Country Store, and turn RIGHT onto Guilford Center Road. Go 4 ½ miles and through Guilford Center. Turn RIGHT onto Stage Road for 1½ miles. Turn into driveway (it will be marked) after bank of mailboxes. Don’t head downhill! Call if there is any question about weather.
- Passing Land -pop up
Tuesday, March 10th 5:30pm – 9:00pm
Winston Prouty Building, Brattleboro, VT
Join us to plan for the future of your land! You are invited to a forum to meet one-on-one with land managers, conservation, financial and estate planning professionals to answer questions about your woodlands, your specific situation at no charge to you. Have you planned what will happen to your woodland in the future? Do you have questions for a lawyer? Wondering what it would mean to conserve your land with a land trust? Have questions about Current Use? These and other questions can be addressed as you rotate between the experts. The program, designed for landowners with 30 or more acres, is run through two sessions – one from 5:30 – 7:15 and the other 7:30 – 9:00. Space is limited. Register by calling Lisa Sausville at 802-877-2777 or e-mail . The workshop is cosponsored by Vermont Coverts, Windham Regional Woodland Association with support from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.
- Somerset Old Growth Forest Tour -WRWA members only
Saturday, March 21st – 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Retired Windham County Forester Bill Guenther will once again lead a tour to a Somerset woodlot in what is believed to be a stand of old growth, mostly of yellow birch. This 60-acre property was a gift to Leland & Gray High School many years ago. About 12–15 acres of the property are stocked with the big birches, with the remainder in spruce/fir and beaver flowage.
Several 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 up in Victory died a few years ago, the new champ was crowned out in Somerset.
We offer this trip only to WRWA members and the group size is limited to 11. Bill will need to hear from you by Tuesday, March 17th,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 (see below) to let him know you want to sign on. Everyone is welcome, but membership is required to secure one of the 11 slots.
We will meet in Wilmington at 9:30 a.m. sharp to set up carpooling. Meeting spot and more details will be given after I hear from folks. I will need participants’ phone numbers and e-mail addresses. The trip is by reservation only and I need to screen folks to make sure everyone knows we are going into the icebox of Windham County!
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 even in late March there could be snow depths at about chest high.
Around lunchtime we’ll stop at the woodlot’s 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 4 p.m. Keep in mind that even though the trip will take place in late 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.
Call Bill Guenther at 365-4252 or e-mail him at to reserve a spot (no later than March 17th), 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!
- Sugar House Tour 2020
Saturday, March 28th – 11:00 a.m.
Bensch Mountain Maple in Newfane, Vermont
The annual WRWA Sugar House tour will be hosted by Bensch Mountain Maple in Newfane. Bensch Mountain is a unique facility in that it is a brand new facility built in 2018. It is a state of the art facility that still has that “traditional sugar house” feel. The sap for the sugar house is trucked in from two diverse maple orchards, one in Stratton and the other in Brookline Vt. The drastic climate difference between the two locations gives an early start and late finish to the sugaring season. There are 18,000 taps spread over the two locations
The 4000 sq ft building constructed in 2018 is a post and beam structure using all native lumber harvested from both sugar bushes. The sap is run through a Reverse Osmosis machine then boiled on a wood fired evaporator. It is laid out to to be public friendly with lots of space for visitors to learn about all the steps to the process.
Directions: Bensch Mountain Maple is located on Route 30, north of Newfane village and south of Townshend. You can’t miss it with the steam pouring out from the traditional sugar house cupola.
- Game of Logging -level 3 & 4
Saturday- Sunday, April 24th -25th – 8:00 a.m to 4:00pm.
WRWA is pleased to be able to co-sponsor these two advanced levels of the popular Game of Logging training. Completion of the first two levels of GOL is a prerequisite for taking these two advanced courses. Level 3B covers basic limbing and bucking and level 4 addresses storm clean-up, for trees under extreme compression/tension or damaged by weather events. The courses will be offered over two days with Level 3 on Saturday and Level 4 following on Sunday.
Space in the classes is limited to 6-9 participants. The instructor will be John Adler, Senior Instructor, New England Woodlands Training. The cost is $190 per participant per day of training.
Please bring your own lunch and water. Appropriate clothing is required which consists of long pants and boots, and be prepared for being outside all day in any kind of weather. You are expected to provide your own hard hat, ear/eye protection, safety chaps and a chainsaw with new chain. The instructor will have a pair of chaps and a chainsaw to borrow if needed.
To confirm your place in the classes, you will be asked to send a check. Directions to the site will be sent to registered participants.
Classes fill quickly, so if you are interested, register ASAP!
- Deer, invasives, residual density and forest regeneration.
Friday & Saturday, May 15 and 16
Jeffrey Ward, Chief Scientist from the Department of Forestry and Horticulture at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
130 Austine Drive, Holton Hall 4th Floor, Brattleboro, Vermont
At 7:00 p.m. Friday evening, May 15, and on a woods walk the next morning. The woods walk will be at Joe and Barbara Mercer’s house in Westminster. The mailing address is 117 Hickory Ridge Rd. in Putney, but the parcel is just north of the Putney/Westminster line.
He writes: Dr. Ralph Nyland (SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry) has pithily noted that to obtain adequate regeneration in northern hardwoods you should “Shoot the deer, poison the beech, and manage the light.” Separately or in combination, overabundant white-tail deer and understories dominated by invasive shrubs have been linked to regeneration failures throughout eastern forests.
Our talk will begin by examining the interaction of deer browsing and invasive shrubs on the composition and structure of woody regeneration and native plant communities. We have found that in areas with invasive shrub thickets, both deer and the invasives must be controlled. A second study found that for properties where the management goal is to create dense habitat with high species diversity, managers should both encourage hunting to reduce pressure on browse sensitive species and leave as few post-harvest residual trees as possible to maximize growing space for regeneration.