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Vermont Family Forests
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Conserving The Health Of Our Local Forest Community

VFF Workshops and Events &

Hogback Community College Courses

We usually hold VFF workshops & events rain or shine, but sometimes weather conditions will cause us to cancel a workshop. We ask that you call the VFF offices (453-7728) the morning of the workshop in case of rain, snow, or high winds. We will leave a message on the answering machine if the workshop is cancelled.

Visit our Events Gallery to see the programs we've offered in the past!

Click on the titles below for in-depth course descriptions and registration information for current and up-coming courses:

General VFF Workshops and Events

 

Hogback Community College Courses

 

Hogback Community College (HCC) is a loose but energetic confederation of teachers and learners in the Five-Town Forest of northeastern Addison County, Vermont. Our goal in forming HCC is to create a true community college—one that celebrates and sustains this community by offering a diverse, changing array of useful and attractive courses. These 1- and 2-credit (16-32 hours of instruction) courses offer in-depth explorations on the subjects they cover.

 

 

 

COMMUNITY SCREENING OF "A WILL FOR THE WOODS"

Date: Friday, November 7, 2014

Time:    6:15, arrival and introductions, light refreshments

6:30 - 8pm, film

8 - 9pm, discussion

Cost: Optional $5 donation to help cover the cost of renting the film.

Location: Carpenter-Carse Library, 69 Ballards Corner Rd, Hinesburg, VT. Map.

What if our last act could be a gift to the planet? This documentary is an intimate account of psychiatrist Clark Wang's effort to secure a final resting place that will benefit the earth. After a cancer diagnosis, Clark discovers a movement that uses burial to conserve and restore natural areas, foregoing toxic and wasteful funeral practices.

Join us for a community screening of this award-winning documentary on green burial. View a trailer to the film at www.awillforthewoods.com.

While more than half of US states have at least one green cemetery, there are currently no such designated spaces in Vermont. Many of us have lived a life of growing and consuming organic foods, reducing our energy consumption, being mindful of waste, and responsibly stewarding the land around us.

It only makes sense that at the end of our lives we should have the option to choose a natural return to the earth. Information about current efforts to establish green burial sites in Vermont will be available, and we expect a lively discussion after the film.

 

GAME OF LOGGING TRAINING PROGRAM, Spring 2015

The Game of Logging training program combines Scandinavian logging techniques with the latest systems for working safely around trees. We cannot overstate the value of these courses. We have participants who’ve used chainsaws for 30 years prior to taking GOL Level I say that the course changed the way they work in the woods.

Spring 2015

Cost per training session level: $170

  1. Level I: April 2, 2015 at 8:00 am (Thursday), raindate April 9
  2. Level II: April 9, 2015 at 8:00 am (Thursday), raindate April 16
  3. Level III: April 16, 2015 at 8:00 am (Thursday), raindate April 23

Location and directions: All 2015 GOL workshops will be held at The Waterworks Property, which is located on Plank Road in Bristol. From the traffic light in downtown Bristol, head north 0.6 miles on North Street. Turn left (west) and drive 3.5 miles. You will see the Waterworks parking lot on your right (north). We look forward to seeing you at the workshop! Please contact VFF if you have any questions.

How to Register: Download the registration form here. On it you’ll find detailed information about the registration process, including fees, cancellation policies, directions to course meeting sites, etc.  Please complete the registration form and mail with payment to VERMONT FAMILY FORESTS to the address indicated on the form. We will hold your payment until we reach the minimum number of students required for offering the course. If we have already reached the course’s maximum student capacity by the time you submit your registration, we will place you on a waiting list.

 

 

Hogback Community College                                            

STORIES IN THE LAND

In this writing workshop, taught by two of Vermont's outstanding writers and teachers, you'll work on developing personal essays relating your present-day attitudes and feelings toward the natural world to the personal experiences—perhaps dating back as far as early childhood—that may have laid the groundwork for those perspectives. The goal of this workshop will be to tell these personal stories in effective and accessible ways, in part by evoking the specific landscapes in which they took place.

Students will be expected to read and discuss examples of model writing in this field. You should feel comfortable about sharing your own writing with the workshop group and paying thoughtful attention to the responses of others. Class meetings will take place at Treleven Farm in New Haven, Vermont, and will at times involve outdoor activities there. Students will share writing projects on a class weblog or blog, and this will ultimately become an anthology of work that will be made available to others.

John Elder

About the Instructors 

John Elder taught English and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and Bread Loaf School of English for 37 years. This will be his third course for Hogback Community College. John’s last three books combined discussions of literature and descriptions of the Vermont Landscape with memoir. He is now publishing a memoir about retirement and learning to play Irish traditional music on the wooden flute. It takes the form of a multimedia website rather than a conventional printed book.

 

 

Don Mitchell
Don Mitchell is a novelist, essayist, and sheep farmer. From 1986 to 2009 he taught a variety of workshops in Creative Writing at Middlebury College aswell as several courses inenvironmental literature. His most recent book—aptly described as an eco-memoir—is Flying Blind: One Man’s Adventures Battling Buckthorn, Making Peace with Authority, and Creating a Home for Endangered Bats.

 

Course Details

Location: Treleven Farm, 164 Mitchell Drive, Vergennes, VT

Dates:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 7:00-9:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 12, 2014 1:30-4:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 26, 2014 1:30-4:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 7:00-9:30 p.m
Sunday, November 2, 2014 1:30-4:00 p.m.


Student Enrollment: Minimum: 10, Maximum: 20
Fee: $150

Credit hours*: 0.8 (12.5 hours of instruction)

*While our courses offer the structure and content of college courses, we are not seeking accreditation for Hogback Community College, nor do we currently offer credits for transfer to other educational institutions. Many teachers have taken Hogback Community College courses as part of their Professional Development requirements.

How to Apply: Download a registration form here. On it you’ll find detailed information about the registration process, including fees, cancellation policies, directions to course meeting sites, etc.  Please complete the registration form and mail with payment to VERMONT FAMILY FORESTS to the address indicated on the form. We will hold your payment until we reach the minimum number of students required for offering the course. If we have already reached the course’s maximum student capacity by the time you submit your registration, we will place you on a waiting list.

 

 

Hogback Community College                                                 

FOUR-SEASON BIRDING IN THE HOGBACK ECOREGION

Back by popular demand! Taught by life-long birder and fabulous instructor Jim Andrews, students will immerse themselves in the joy of birding. Specifically, students will learn to locate and identify many of our local bird species by field marks, form, song, and habitat as a first step to a knowledge of their natural history and conservation. You will discuss how and why the birds found in our region change over the seasons, how and where to find them, and will learn the characteristics of some of our more common bird families. Intended for beginning and intermediate birders, this course is set up so that the students can attend in repeated years to enhance their skills. The sites will be the same, but the birds often are not.

Students will spend four Saturday mornings and one evening during the week traveling by foot and by vehicle searching for, identifying, and discussing birds between Lake Champlain and Appalachian Gap. You will begin with winter residents and migrants in February, check in on returning species and residents again in April, and spend one mid-week evening in early May and two Saturday mornings in late May and early June searching for and listening to our local breeding birds.

Students will receive species sheets to be filled out between meetings to learn more about the natural history and biology of the species that we are observing and help commit some of that information to memory. You will also be asked to get out on your own between course meetings and keep a list of the species you see, along with key field marks. Binoculars and bird books will be discussed during the first class and required by the second class.

About the Instructor

Jim Andrews is a full time herpetologist and conservationist with a life-long recreational interest in birds. He regularly leads birding trips in the Lake Champlain Basin, compiles the Middlebury Christmas Bird Count, and teaches herpetology and field ornithology as an adjunct professor at UVM. His goal is to create enjoyable and interesting field experiences through which the teacher and students can learn together and as a result become better stewards of our environment.

Course Details

Date, Time, and Location of instruction:

 

Saturday, February 21, 2015 (back-up date Sunday, February 22)
Time: 8am – 1pm
Location: Meet at Park and Ride at Junction of Rtes 7 and 22A in Vergennes
Topic:

Birding Equipment; Winter Birding; Hardy Locals and Winter Visitors

Sites: Pockets of open water and the open lands of the Champlain Basin
 
Saturday, April 18, 2015 (back-up date Sunday, April 19)
Time: 8am – 1pm
Location: Meet at Park and Ride at Junction of Rtes 7 and 22A in Vergennes
Topic: Migrants Return
Sites: Depending on conditions: Mud Island, Porter Bay, Kingsland Bay, and South Slang
 
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 (back-up date Thursday, May 7)
Time: 7pm - 9pm
Location: Meet at Park and Ride at Junction of Rtes 7 and 22A in Vergennes
Topic: Evening calls and activity
Sites: Depending on conditions: South Slang and Porter Bay
 
Saturday, May 30, 2015 (back-up date Sunday, May 31)
Time: 8am – 1pm
Location: Meet at The Watershed Center on Plank Road in Bristol
Topic: Warblers, Song ID, and Ecological Niches
Sites: The Watershed Center
 
Saturday, June 20, 2015 (back-up date Sunday, June 21)
Time: 8am – 1pm
Location: Meet at the green in the center of Bristol
Topic: Higher Elevation Species, Song ID, and Ecological Niches
Applying Skills and Gaining Confidence
Sites: Camel’s Hump State Forest in Buel’s Gore

 

 

Minimum and maximum number of students
Minimum: 8 Maximum:15


Fee: $220
Credit Hours*: 1.4 (22 hours of instruction)
*While our courses offer the structure and content of college courses, we are not seeking accreditation for Hogback Community College, nor do we currently offer credits for transfer to other educational institutions. Many teachers have taken Hogback Community College courses as part of their Professional Development requirements.

How to Apply: Download a registration form here. On it you’ll find detailed information about the registration process, including fees, cancellation policies, directions to course meeting sites, etc. Please complete the registration form and mail with payment to VERMONT FAMILY FORESTS to the address indicated on the form. We will hold your payment until we reach the minimum number of students required for offering the course. If we have already reached the course’s maximum student capacity by the time you submit your registration, we will place you on a waiting list.

 

 

 

Hogback Community College                                                    TREE IDENTIFICATION IN THE HOGBACK ECOREGION

We are delighted to have Jim Andrews back to teach this course for a second year! Whether you are managing land, cutting firewood, searching for wildlife, or just enjoying the beauty and diversity of trees, being able to identify trees is both useful and fun. It also fosters greater understanding of our local biodiversity, ecology, and improved stewardship of our local landscapes. This course will introduce you to year-round tree identification.

The course is intended as an introduction for beginners or those willing to share their skills and enthusiasm with beginners. You will learn to recognize some of the basic characteristics of bark, tree form, twigs, buds, leaves, fruit, and habitat to consider when trying to identify native trees in their natural settings.

You’ll become familiar with the common names of many of the more widespread species and will be introduced to some of the excellent resources available to help you continue to develop skills on your own.

We will spend four Saturday mornings (with Sunday rain-dates) traveling by foot in four local woodlands from the Lake Champlain Basin to the Appalachian Gap, identifying and discussing trees. We will begin with two walks in the winter to examine bark, form, habitat, twigs, and buds and follow that with two walks when the trees have their leaves. Excursions will be relaxed and slow, but on and off trail.

In between meetings you will have species sheets to complete—which serve as a vehicle for learning more about the natural history and biology of the species that we are observing. You will also be asked to get out on your own between class meetings and keep a list of the tree species you see, along with their key field marks.

 


About the Instructor

Jim Andrews is a full time herpetologist and conservationist with a life-long recreational and professional interest in the natural history and identification of trees. He has lead tree identification field trips in Vermont for a variety of organizations. He teaches herpetology and field ornithology as an adjunct professor at UVM and performs biological surveys of many taxonomic groups as a private consultant. His goal is to create enjoyable and interesting field experiences through which the teacher and students can learn together and as a result, become better stewards of our environment.

 

Course Details
Date, Time, and Location of instruction:

 

Saturday, February 28, 2015 (rain-date Sunday, March 1)
Time: 8am – noon
Location: Meet at the green in the center of Bristol (Park on Rt 116 near gazebo).
Topic:

Using bark, buds, form, and habitat to identify trees in winter.

Introduce some useful guides. Tree list and species sheets for selected species.

Site: Brynn Family Forest on Plank Road, and Sycamore Park
Saturday, March 21, 2015 (rain-date Sunday, March 22)
Time: 8am – noon
Location: Meet at Park and Ride at Junction of Rtes 7 and 22A in Vergennes
Topic:

Using bark, buds, form, and habitat to identify trees in early spring.

Continue tree list and species sheets for selected species.

Site: Buck Mountain and Trevelen Farm in Waltham
Saturday, June 6, 2015 (rain-date Sunday, June 7)
Time: 8am – noon
Location: Meet at the green in the center of Bristol.
Topic:

Using leaves, bark, buds, form, and habitat to identify trees in late spring.

Continue tree list and species sheets for selected species.

Site: Waterworks property in Bristol and South Slang/Kingsland Bay
Saturday, June 27, 2015 (rain-date Sunday, June 28)
Time: 8am – noon
Location: Meet at the green in the center of Bristol.
Topic:

Using leaves, bark, buds, form, and habitat to identify higher-elevation tree species in summer.

Continue a lifetime of tree ID and stewardship.

Site: Camel’s Hump State Forest in Buel’s Gore/2nd site TBA.

 

Minimum and maximum number of students
Minimum: 8 Maximum:15


Fee: $160
Credit Hours*: 1 (16 hours of instruction)
*While our courses offer the structure and content of college courses, we are not seeking accreditation for Hogback Community College, nor do we currently offer credits for transfer to other educational institutions. Many teachers have taken Hogback Community College courses as part of their Professional Development requirements.

How to Apply: Download a registration form here. On it you’ll find detailed information about the registration process, including fees, cancellation policies, directions to course meeting sites, etc. Please complete the registration form and mail with payment to VERMONT FAMILY FORESTS to the address indicated on the form. We will hold your payment until we reach the minimum number of students required for offering the course. If we have already reached the course’s maximum student capacity by the time you submit your registration, we will place you on a waiting list.

 

Hogback Community College                                               FOREST SOILS IN THE HOGBACK ECOREGION

"I’m thoroughly impressed with Dr. Harper’s extensive knowledge of soil science, and her ability to share seemingly endless technical information, which also included plant species, geology and topography that all related back to soils characterization."

former student of Forest Soils in the Hogback Ecoregion

 

We're delighted to offer this course for a fourth year! Soil scientist Wendy Sue Harper will teach this 1-credit (16 hour) introductory course on forest soils. Students will attend 2 classroom presentations and 4 field trips targeting different soils on the Waterworks in Bristol. During classroom lectures, students will learn about soil properties as indicators of soil formation and land use potential (including the five soil forming factors, soil profiles and horizons, soil texture, structure, color, pH, and organic matter), and how to use NRCS soil information and maps.

During field studies, students will undertake simple experiments and learn basic field soil examination techniques while studying several different soil types (including glacial outwash deposits, clayplain soils, soils formed in acid or neutral tills, and wetlands and streambank soils).

This course is especially appropriate for landowners, natural resource professionals, educators, and planners who want to improve their understanding of soils and how they influence our landscape.

Participants who complete this course receive continuing education credit from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources: 8 ANR soil credits and 4 ANR non-soil credits.

   

About the Instructor 

Wendy Sue Harper, Ph.D. has over 20 years of experience in college-level education and agricultural technical assistance. Her undergraduate and graduate degrees were in soil science. She has taught soil science, ecological agriculture, and composting using skill-building approaches at Green Mountain College, the University of Vermont, and Dartmouth College. Wendy Sue teaches soils and/or composting to the Master Gardeners and Master Composters and has worked for UVM-Extension, Northeast-SARE, and NOFA-VT. Currently, Wendy Sue provides educational and technical services to the farming and gardening community through her business, WSH Consulting, in Monkton, VT.

 

 

Course Details

Date, Time, and Location of instruction:

Day

Date

Time

Location

Thursday

4/2/15

7-9pm

Holley Halll, Bristol

Saturday

4/4/15

9am-12noon

Waterworks in Bristol

Saturday

4/11/15

9am-12noon

Waterworks in Bristol

Thursday

4/16/15

7-9pm

Holley Hall, Bristol

Saturday

4/18/15

9am-12noon

Waterworks in Bristol

Saturday

4/25/15

9am-12noon

Waterworks in Bristol

Saturday - Snow day if needed

5/2/15
9am-12noon
Waterworks in Bristol

 

Minimum/maximum student enrollment:

Minimum: 8    Maximum: 20

Fee: $160

Credit hours: 1 credit hour (16 hours of instruction)

Accreditation: The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has awarded this course 8 ANR soil credits and 4 ANR non-soil credits.

 

How to Apply: Download a registration form here. On it you’ll find detailed information about the registration process, including fees, cancellation policies, directions to course meeting sites, etc. Please complete the registration form and mail with payment to VERMONT FAMILY FORESTS to the address indicated on the form. We will hold your payment until we reach the minimum number of students required for offering the course. If we have already reached the course’s maximum student capacity by the time you submit your registration, we will place you on a waiting list.