- Ramble and Potluck Lunch Munson Hicks
Saturday, February 8, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Land of Munson Hicks, WRWA President, Vernon, Vermont
Please come and join us for a “ramble” through the woods on the land of Munson Hicks. It is a one hundred thirty-two acre parcel of generally flat land. Depending on the weather, it will be an easy snowshoe, cross country ski, or just plain boots tour of the land, which will have been newly marked for an upcoming cut. George Weir (a former WRWA president) is the consulting forester who manages the land, and he will be along to answer any questions.
Directions to 870 Tyler Hill Road: From Brattleboro, go south on route 5 through Guilford. About 2.5 miles south of the Guilford store, turn LEFT onto Tyler Hill Road. After crossing over Rte. 91 the driveway is the second on the left (mailbox on the right).
- iNaturalist Workshop
Saturday, January 11, 2020, 9:30–11:30 a.m.
Holton Hall- third floor; 130 Austine Drive; Brattleboro
Learn to use iNaturalist for identification and recording of species. Attention all nature lovers, photographers, and citizen scientists! Windham Regional Woodlands Association and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies are offering a workshop on how to use the citizen science tool iNaturalist to collect data and learn more about the species that surround us. Join Emily Anderson as she explains the value of citizen science projects in conserving Vermont’s biodiversity and walks participants through the basics of recording their first observation on iNaturalist. For established users, she can help answer your questions that have come up while out observing.
iNaturalist is a crowd-sourced species identification app powered by artificial intelligence (AI). For the casual nature observer, it allows people to snap photos of animals and plants, and upload them for members of the iNaturalist community to identify. It is also a social network for naturalists to record information on species, meet others with similar interests and learn. It began as a web app, iNaturalist.org, founded in 2008 by students at the University of California, Berkeley.
Through iNaturalist, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies manages the Vermont Atlas of Life project whose mission is to discover, map, and monitor biodiversity across the state. In just a few years, over 7,000 Vermonters have added over 365,000 observations. It’s the largest biodiversity dataset ever assembled for the state, we welcome all to join in! A cell phone or digital camera is needed to use the app.
- 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 – CANCELED
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
CANCELED 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.
- 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.
- Treating Your Woodlot as a Business
Thursday, November 7th – 6:30 p.m.
Holton Hall, 130 Austine Dr. Brattleboro
Lead by George Weir, a private consulting forester with more than forty years of experience in our area and Sam Schneski, our Windham County forester, there will be discussion about Use Value Appraisal, growing timber for profit, state and federal programs for woodland improvement, and tax strategies after harvesting.
Whether you have 10 acres or a thousand, this informative forum will provide a number of ways to treat your woodlands more efficiently and profitably.
Both WRWA and the general public are invited and as always for WRWA programs, there is no charge.
The program will start at 6:30 and will be held at Holton Hall in the former Austine School complex, 130 Austine Dr, Brattleboro, VT 05301
- Green Burial Workshop
Thursday, November 21st – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Holton Hall, 130 Austine Dr. Brattleboro
More and more people are asking for environmentally responsible burial options that reflect their personal values. The practice of burying bodies without embalming with toxic chemicals, encasing in metal or rainforest wood caskets, or cement or plastic outer vaults—truly body to earth—is timeless, interrupted only over the past century. This workshop will show how efforts to return to these ancient, eco-friendly ways are gaining momentum across the country as people are finding a way to let their bodies return to the earth.
Lee Webster, noted author and national leader in the field of Green Burial will present the current status of green burial in Vermont and the movement towards developing conservation burial grounds on lands protected by conservation principles. These cemeteries support sustainable management while restoring and protecting the ecological integrity of the land. Land trust entities with the interest and capacity to partner with and support conservation burial projects come in many forms, from local conservation groups to state and regional land trusts to national chapters of prominent organizations, such as The Nature Conservancy. Vermont landowners can have questions answered regarding steps towards creating natural burial grounds on their land.
- Member Ramble -home of Steve Soszinski
Saturday, September 21st – 5:00 p.m.
Enrolled in UVA, this property was somewhat neglected by the previous owner and Steve has been on an enthusiastic learning curve to manage the invasives and prepare to implement the forestry plan.
Steve writes: A gentle walk through 72 acres of forest, fields, and views of 3 acres of ponds and wetlands. Otters, muskrats, and many birds have been sighted there. We believe the property was a small dairy operation and had cows through the 80’s. Evidence of the dairy farm shows throughout the forest, with old fence posts, barbed wire and stone walls. The forest is a mix of mostly mature softwood and deciduous woodlands with well-maintained trails we share with the VAST folks during the winter. Sadly, the powerline right of way has been a conduit for the invasive species that plague our area. We would be happy to have a stroll through the forest, and even show you around the barns on our property.
Directions from Exit 1: South on Route 5. At the Guilford Country Store, turn Right onto Guilford Center Road. Continue 1.1 mile. The house is on the right soon after the Blueberry Haus on the left.