- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Game of Logging- 2019
Chainsaw Training Information
All Sessions are Full -Look for sessions in the Spring
Level 1 Women’s Workshop: Sunday, September 29 – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Level 1: Saturday, October 5 – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Level 2: Sunday, October 6 – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Putney School, 418 Houghton Brook Rd, Putney, Vermont
Sponsored by: Windham Regional Woodlands Association and the
Windham County Natural Resources Conservation District
What to Wear/Bring:
- Sturdy boots
- Dress for the weather (layers recommended) — You will be outside all day. Lunch and beverages
- Hardhat with eye and ear protection — all participants must bring a hardhat. The instructor can provide eye and ear protection if participant does not have it.
- Chaps — Our instructors have a limited supply of chaps available for use during training sessions. We recommend that you wait on purchasing new equipment until after the first day of training.
- Chainsaws if you own one. Otherwise there will be saws provided by the instructor.
Start Time: Classes start promptly at 8:00 a.m.
Take Interstate 91 to Exit 4.
From the South: At Exit 4, turn LEFT at the stop sign to cross over the highway. Fork right to go north on Route 5 (Main Street).
From the North: At Exit 4, turn RIGHT to go north on Route 5 (Main Street)
Drive 1/2 a mile through the village of Putney and turn LEFT at the Putney General Store. One mile from the village, and just after passing Putney Central School, turn LEFT on West Hill Road. Drive one mile up West Hill past an orchard and past the delivery entrance for The Putney School. Turn left on Houghton Brook Rd, a steep paved road. 1/4 mile up the road, turn LEFT into the main entrance of The Putney School.
Payment and Refund Policy:
We require payment in full upon registration. You may cancel your registration up to two weeks prior to the workshop date and receive a full refund, less a $25 administration fee.
Cancellations made less than two weeks prior to the workshop will not be eligible for refund, unless we have someone on a waiting list that can fill your space, in which case you will receive a full refund, less a $25 administration fee.
In the event that we do not have enough registered participants to cover workshop costs, we will cancel the workshop. In the event of such a cancellation, we will issue a full refund to all registered participants.
If you are interested in reading more about the Game of Logging Course, visit our instructors’ website, www.woodlandtraining.com.
- 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
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 ( or 802-368-2211) by March 6th for directions and parking details.