Past Programs

  • Allard Lumber Mill Tour

    Wednesday, July 17th at 5:00 p.m.

    We will meet at the main office at 74 Glen Orne Drive. Dress appropriately including covered toe shoes or boots. We will be inside, outside, and on uneven ground.

    The company was started in 1974 and is now owned by Clifford Allard. Allard buys standing timber and logs from four states. They then saw, dry, and ship lumber around the world through brokers and wholesalers. Allard also manufactures railroad ties, pallet cants, bridge mats and grade stakes.

    Byproducts from the mill including bark are marketed to a secondary processor. Sawdust is burned to heat the wood kilns plus cogener-ation of electricity through a turbine and steam engine. Wood chip biomass is sold to schools, private and municipal facilities for heat.

    The sawmill is on Old Ferry Road with concentration log yards in Chestertown, N.Y., North Haverhill, N.H., and Pawlet, Vt. They have licensed foresters on staff that can handle all phases of landowner needs, from planning advice to harvesting strategies. Allard lumber employs 45 people in all aspects of day-to-day business operations including manufacturing, administration and marketing.

    In 2016 Allard received the prestigious Sawmill of the Year Award for the northeastern United States from the Northeastern Loggers Association.

    Directions:  From exit 3 off I-91 go around the rotary to the third turnoff and go North on Route 5. Continue for about a quarter of a mile. At the stoplight, take a RIGHT onto Old Ferry Road. Past Gordon’s Auto Repair, take a RIGHT onto Glen Orne Dr. We will meet at the main office on the LEFT, 74 Glen Orne Dr.

  • Fern Identification Walk

    Thursday, July 25th at 6 p.m. — Maximum of 15 people

    Lynn Levine, consulting forester and a past board member of WRWA, has just written a new book called “Identifying Ferns the Easy Way: A Pocket Guide to Common Ferns in the Northeast.” (See review by Arthur Westing in this issue.) We will meet at Dummerston Center where we will carpool to Lynn’s house. Lynn will give a short talk about ferns and then lead us on a walk on the Partridge Road property. This will be followed by a potluck dessert.
    Lynn’s fern book will be available at a discounted price of $10.

    Maximum of 15 people. Please register in advance by emailing , subject line Fern Walk, or by calling 254-8325 to leave a message.

    Directions to Dummerston Center/Dummerston Town Office

    From the East: Route 9 West into Vermont. Go around the rotary to the first turnoff and go North on Route 5. After about 1.3 miles heading north, Middle Road will be the left fork. Take that LEFT onto Middle Road for about 3 miles to Dummerston Center (after about 6/10 of a mile, there is a strong curve left – stay on Middle Road). When you get to Dummerston Center, the Town Office parking lot is on the left just before the Congregational Church.

    From the West:  Route 30 to the Dummerston Covered Bridge. Cross the bridge and make a right, which then curves up to the left. Follow the East-West Road up over the hill. At Dummerston Center, at the 4-way stop sign, take a RIGHT and we will be on the right in the Dummerston Town Office parking lot, just after the Dummerston Congregational Church.

    From the North:  I-91 to Exit 4. Turn left onto Route 5 South and drive about 2.5 miles. Make a RIGHT onto Schoolhouse Road. Continue straight until you are in Dummerston Center. Make a LEFT at the 4-way stop sign and we will be on the right in the Dummerston Town Office parking lot, just after the Dummerston Congregational Church.

    From the South:  Take I-91 to Exit 3 in Vermont. Go around the Rotary to the third turnoff and go North on Route 5. After about 1.3 miles heading north, Middle Road will be the left fork. Take that LEFT onto Middle Road for about 3 miles to Dummerston Center (after about 6/10 of a mile, there is a strong curve left – stay on Middle Road). When you get to Dummerston Center, the Town Office parking lot is on the left just before the Congregational Church.

  • Annual Meeting 2019

    Saturday August 24, 2019 – Public Welcome
    8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (rain or shine)

    Registration Fee/lunch is $8, payable at the site.

    The meeting this year will be held at Shatterack Forest, 450 acres which have been owned by the same family for four generations. The story of the family, their forest, and their connection to the wider Jamaica State Park/Glebe Mountain Preserve area will be the bulk of our program.

    The Homestead was bought in the 1920s and the family ran a boys’ school there for 25 to 30 years, into the early 1950s.  The next generation then bought 450 acres. It has been managed in various ways such as through herbicide experimentation and white pine management.  A conservation easement was bought on the forest by the Vermont Land Trust and the property has more recently been entered in Current Use.  Hayden Lake is the current forester and the family decided to start cutting timber after a number of years of no active management.   The homestead on the property is the oldest registered building in the town of Jamaica, dating to the 1770s.  The forest incorporates some old cellar holes that were settled around that same time and  borders an old cemetery. Hamilton Falls was part of this property and was sold to the State of Vermont which incorporated it into a state park. 

    Ownership has become much more complicated over four generations; going from one, to three, to eight, and now to 9 or more owners. Currently the management is done through a board and annual meetings. The family is in the planning process of changing the land from a corporation into a family trust. All these changes have effects on the family, the management process, and priorities for the land. Their experiences are a good chance to reflect on long term forest management in all its complexities.

    Daniel Dubie, a fourth generation family member, will talk of highlights of the importance of this land as a connector between the Jamaica State Park and the Glebe Mountain Preserve, and then Jon Binhammer of the Nature Conservancy will then talk about the geology and ecology of the high valley and ridges, TNC’s conservation efforts in the area and the value of this ridge line in the eyes of the larger conservation picture.

    • The reasons for TNC’s interest in Glebe Mountain and nearby Turkey Mountain as conservation goals. (large intact tracts of habitat, Black Bear conservation, bird habitat)
    • TNC’s larger conservation model that encompasses these core tracts of intact old forest surrounded by buffer properties that likely are working forests with management plans and harvests (The model that we see here in Cobb brook Valley)
    • The story behind how Glebe Mountain parcel got to be 3500 acres and how TNC got it while still an intact forest

    Full meeting schedule and list of what to bring (click here)

    After the Annual Meeting portion of the schedule, lunch is always the highlight of the day with  potluck side dishes and, and organic burgers grilled to perfection. Please call ahead and let us know how many burgers/hotdogs/veggie burgers you would like. (802) 254 -8325.

    Directions: 535 West Windham Road, West Townshend VT

    From Route 30:
    Heading West: Travel through Townshend past the Townshend Dam into West Townshend. Take a right turn up Windham Hill Road at the West Townshend Store and post office.
    Heading East: Travel through Jamaica along the West River into West Townshend. Take a left turn up Windham Hill Road at the West Townshend Store and Post Office.

    • Windham Hill Road goes up a very steep hill. 
    • In 4.3 miles turn Left on Burbee’s Pond Road soon after passing through the small village of South Windham. 
    • In just under a mile, turn Left at the pond onto West Windham Road. 
    • Continue 2.8 miles while bearing left at intersections, to a parking area and a short walk to the tent site.

  • Essential Oils and Hydrosols from Local Plants

    Sunday, May 19th 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. –Preregistration Required

    Join herbalist Santalena Groves, Alchemist/Creator of Heart Grown Wild, LLC, an herbal skincare company based out of Southern Vermont, to take a deep dive into how essential oils are produced through live distillation of wild harvested plants. Join us for a plant walk outside and learn first-hand how to make hydrosol and essential oil from start to finish.

    Santalena will discuss the importance of safety when working with essential oils so that attendees can approach the use of these potent extractions with a working knowledge and respect for the plants. Santalena will then break down various methods of plant extraction that are more sustainable by using less plant material.

    Program Schedule:

    • 10:00 Introduction, start distillation process.
    • 11:00 head outside for a plant foraging walk
    • 12:30 Lunch (BYO lunch)
    • 1:00 Hear more about HGW’s work and the process of making products
    • 2:00 – 3:00 Wrap up distillation process

    The indoor portion of the program will take place at the home and headquarters of Santalena Groves. The plant walk will take place in a nearby forest. Expect about 1/4-1/2 mile walk with hills. Be prepared for rain, sun and ticks. Please, no dogs.

    Location: Heart Grown Wild headquarters in Wardsboro, VT. Directions given when you register.

    Heart Grown Wild will have products for sale. heartgrownwild.squarespace.com

    To Register, contact Dan Healey 802-387-6128

    Workshop is limited to 20 participants.

  • 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 3/16line 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.

    Directions:
    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 windhamcountynrcd@gmail.com

  • Use Value Appraisal: What you Need to Know

    Wednesday, November 28th, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.  – 130 Austine Drive, Holton Hall 4th Floor, Brattleboro VT.

    Windham County Forester Sam Schneski will speak about Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal program

    The Use Value Appraisal Program (UVA), also called “Current Use” or “Land Use” and established in 1980, is arguably the most successful state program for conserving Vermont’s working landscape. Statewide, there are 19,000 parcels of land enrolled in the UVA program comprised of 1.9 million acres of forestland and 500,000 acres of agricultural land. Windham County’s UVA enrollment totals 1682 parcels covering almost 200,000 acres. By achieving a greater equity in property taxes on undeveloped land, the program has kept forest and agricultural land in active production.

    A key to the forest land program is the commitment to manage the land to a state-defined standard. Signing and submitting a forestry plan is only the first step for a landowner. You are joining a statewide community of forest stewards. There is much to learn about your own forest, and there are ongoing communications with the county forester, your consulting forester, and also the  current use arm of state tax department.

    Whether enrolled since the beginning, recently enrolled, inherited enrolled land, or you bought your wonderful piece of Vermont and transferred UVA enrollment to your name, this program will provide important information regarding what your responsibilities as a steward of Vermont forestland entail.

  • Hard Cider: Pressing and Fermenting

    Friday, October 19, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.   Winston Prouty Center, 4th floor

    A slide show and talk by Alan Robertson, Tree Farmer and cider enthusiast from Sheffield VT. He will explain how to brew your own hard cider, from the selection of apple varieties to bottling and enjoying.  We will have samples from Al’s “famous” hard cider cellar.

     

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