- 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.
- 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 3/16” line 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.
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 email@example.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.
- 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.