Past Programs

  • 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.


  • Forest Management in Germany

    Saturday, October 20, 9:30 -11:00 a.m. – Winston Prouty Center , 4th floor

    Forest Management in Germany and the Black Forest: Sustainability through the Centuries. 

    Alan Robertson, Forester and Tree Farmer from Sheffield, will present a slide show and discussion about his time stationed in Germany, and a recent trip back with the American Forest Foundation looking at a variety of forestry philosophies and methods. After centuries of management, the knowledge is still evolving and the desire for sustainable “forever forests” (dauerwald) and natural regeneration is increasing.

  • Woodland Exploration

    Saturday, Sept. 8, 10–11:30 a.m. — Recognizing Trees

    A family friendly woodland exploration to learn about year round tree identification. Mark Mikolas will lead this walk and share his approach of recognizing the key characteristics of each tree species, that make them easily recognizable. This is the technique explained in his book, A Beginner’s Guide to Recognizing Trees of the Northeast.

    Directions: West River Trailhead near the Marina Restaurant. Turn into the Marina Restaurant parking lot. At the river, take a right on the dirt road that runs along the river. In approximately ½ mile there will be a cornfield and a big clearing on the right with an industrial building on it. We’ll park and gather there. It is an easy level walk (also appropriate for kids) under the beautiful new I-91 bridge. Please, leave your dogs at home.

    For further information, contact Mark Mikolas ().

  • WRWA Annual Meeting: Celebrating the “Career in the Woods” of Bill Guenther

    Saturday August 25, 8:30 a.m. – late afternoon

    In Newfane — Newfane Hill Old Common, Newfane Village Common (The Green), and at Bill’s place on Bensch Mountain.

    This Annual Meeting will be a big one with optional events from 8:30 a.m. to late afternoon (maybe into the evening!). First, a tour of the Newfane Town Forest (“The Old Common”) at the top of Newfane Hill which includes the old village, accompanied by someone from the Windham County Historical Society, located in Newfane.

    Then we move down to the current Newfane Village for some history and discussion of
    legacy tree maintenance at the Newfane Green. Again, the Windham County Historical
    Society will be there with some great background.

    At 11:30 the annual business meeting will be at Bill’s place, followed by the traditional barbecue lunch and potluck. Bill will lead an afternoon workshop on small acreage management for sustainable home firewood production. The day will be capped by an appreciation of Bill Guenther’s years as Windham County Forester, aided by Munson Hick’s memories of his father, Halsey Hicks, the first Windham County Forester.

    This will be the time for members also to share stories of Bill, and enjoy cake, libation and good company. All events are open to non-members.


    Meeting Schedule

  • Elysian Hills Walk

    Wednesday,  August 15, 2018, 6-7:30 p.m  (Rain date: August 16), Elysian Hills, 223 Knapp Road, Dummerston

    Bill Schmidt will lead a walk to Elysian Hills Stone Trees and circular stone cemetery, and a site along the main woods trail where the April wind storm uprooted and broke almost a dozen pine, hemlock and black birch trees. Time permitting,  the tour will continue along the entrance section to East Knapp Rd. where there are 33 different trees in the quarter mile between the house and mailbox. This is an easy walk.

    Information:   802-258-0431

    Directions: Coming from I-91 south, take Exit 3, go 3/4 around the round-a-bout and north on Route 5 about a mile. Take Middle Road on left about 1 1/2 miles to Tucker Reed Road on right. Go up Tucker Reed Road 1/2 mile to top of the hill and see our sign on left.

    Coming from I-91 north, take Exit 4. Turn south on Route 5. Go 4 miles to East-West Road across from KOA Campground on right. Go one mile on East-West Road to Tucker Reed Road on left. Go up Tucker Reed Road 1/2 mile to top of hill and see our sign on right.

    Coming from the west Route 30. Cross through Dummerston Covered Bridge and travel up East-West Road to Dummerston Center about 4 miles. Turn right on Middle Road and travel about 3 miles to Tucker Reed Road on left.  Go up Tucker Reed Road 1/2 mile to top of the hill and see our sign on left.

  • Cersosimo Lumber Company Facility Tour

    Thursday, July 26, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

    On Thursday, 26 July, the Cersosimo Lumber Company will host WRWA at its facility in Vernon, Vermont. This sawmill operation produces hardwood lumber and White Pine lumber from local forests that reaches markets all over the globe.  Eric Parenti, the Chief Forester will be our tour guide. The tour starts at 5 p.m. sharp!

    Dress appropriately for a short walk; closed-toed footwear is required. Our hosts will provide hearing protection and safety glasses. All participants must be at least 12-years old, and no pets are allowed on the tour. The tour is limited to 30 participants.

    If you plan to attend, please contact the Woodlands Section at Cersosimo Lumber at (802-254-4508) or no later than Friday July 20 at 4:30 p.m. so Cersosimo will know how many guests to prepare for. You must have an advance reservation to attend, due to safety considerations.  

    Directions:  From the south end of Main Street in Brattleboro (near the Brattleboro Food Co-op) go east towards the bridge over the Connecticut River. Just beyond Main Street, make a quick right turn (south) onto Route 142. (Do not go over the bridge into N.H.). Continue south about two miles, looking for a red Cersosimo office building on the right. From the south it will be on your left. Park across the road from the red building.

  • Natural Tree Art: The Work of artist Dan Ladd

    Saturday, June 16 at 10 a.m., Putney Village

    We will tour a property in Putney Village that has some interesting botanical manipulations that have created a special type of art form from trees. We will meet behind the Putney Town offices (right in the center of Putney Village) and car pool a short distance up Kimball Hill to the site of Dan’s work. The tour will be about an hour in length. Should you have any questions please contact County Forester Bill Guenther at 257-7967 (Ext. 305) or .  The tour will happen rain or shine so please bring appropriate footwear. We ask that no dogs be brought on this tour as it is a private residence.


    Dan Ladd is an internationally recognized expert in the art of nature collaboration. Dan has devoted more than 38 years to observing, then utilizing suggestive interventions in the living world. The results are often startling: the creation of unfamiliar and unique art forms manifested from plants growing under his guidance. Much of Ladd’s work takes place in the outside world, and he is currently artist-in-residence at Smith College’s prestigious MacLeish Field Station campus. There he maintains an outdoor studio and a score of ongoing botanical architecture projects including the grafting of trees and the unique molding of tree roots and hard-shell gourds.


    Dan Ladd has won several grants from the NEA, the Gottlieb Foundation, and Art Matters, among others. His work has shown in dozens of indoor venues as well. You can learn more about him at and at


  • 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!

  • 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

    Click here for Directions

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