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Vermont Family Forests
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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 voicemail message 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:

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.

 

 

 

GAME OF LOGGING TRAINING PROGRAM, Spring 2017

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. The GOL courses must be taken in sequence (even if you have chainsaw experience, you must begin with Level I).

Level 1 introduces 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. 8AM-4PM one-day course. Maximum 10 participants.

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. 8AM-4PM one-day course. Maximum 10 participants.

The Game of Logging chainsaw training course is taught by the incomparable David Birdsall, of Northeast Woodland Training. Visit their website for detailed course descriptions.

Spring 2017

Cost per training session level: $190

  1. Level I: April 6, 2017 at 8:00 am (Thursday), raindate April 13
  2. Level I: April 13, 2017 at 8:00 am (Thursday), raindate April 20
  3. Level II: April 20, 2017 at 8:00 am (Thursday), raindate April 27

 

 

Location and directions: All 2017 GOL workshops will be held at The Waterworks Property, which is located at 4783 Plank Road in Bristol. From the traffic light in downtown Bristol, head north 0.6 miles on North Street. Turn left (west) onto Plank Road and drive 3.5 miles (You will remain on Plank Road through two intersections). The parking area for the Waterworks property is on the right just before a sharp turn to the left over Norton Brook.

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.

 

 

 

WARBLER WARM-UP

Date: Sunday, May 7, 2017

Time: 7:30 - 10:30AM

Where: The Waterworks Property, 4783 Plank Road, Bristol. Meet in the parking lot.

What to bring: Binoculars, water, bug spray, layers for the weather

NO PETS PLEASE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come join Otter Creek Audubon's annual Warbler Warm-Up at the Waterworks. Refresh your warbler ID skills and greet the returning migratory songbirds flooding back to Vermont's forests and fields. The outing will be led by Ron Payne, Warren King and Chris Runcie. Please direct any questions about the event to Otter Creek Audubon, ocasvt@gmail.com.

 

 

Hogback Community College                                                        FOREST SOILS IN THE HOGSBACK ECOREGION, 2017

Dates: April 6, 8, 15, 20, and 22, 2017 (see schedule table below)

Location: Bristol, Vermont

Cost: $160 (16-hour course)

 

Participants who complete this course can receive continuing education credit. Please indicate on your registration form if you are wanting to receive any of the credit options below:

  • Society of American Foresters Continuing Education Credits for re-licensing foresters: 12 Category 1 CFE credits
  • State of Vermont ANR/DEC Licensed Designer Continuing Education Credits: 8 for soils and 4 for non-soils.

 

 

"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."

—participant in Forest Soils in the Hogback Ecoregion

 

We are delighted to welcome back soil scientist and educator Dr. Wendy Sue Harper for her fifth year teaching this introductory course on forest soils, which is accredited through the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (see note below). 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.

Date Time Location Activity

April 6, 2017

Thursday

7-9pm VFF office, Bristol Lecture 1: Basic soil properties as indicators of soil formation, the natural environment, and land use, including: the five soil forming factors; soil profiles and horizons; and soil texture, structure, color, pH, and organic matter.

April 8, 2017

Saturday

8:30am-12:30pm Waterworks Property, Bristol Field study 1: Introduction to basic field soil examination, descriptions and techniques; focusing on forest soils formed in glacial outwash deposits or neutral tills (Colton, Melrose, and Farmington)

April 15, 2017

Saturday

8:30am-12:30pm Waterworks Property Field study 2: More soil examination, focusing on soils in the clayplain forest or acid tills (Kingsbury, Covington, and Tunbridge)

April 20, 2017

Thursday

7-9pm VFF office, Bristol Lecture 2: Time for additional question on materials covered. Tour Web Soil Survey to develop an understanding of making soil maps and maps of land use potential to understand sites and the natural environment. Mini-lectures on soil issues raised by students, e.g. soil biology, pH, CEC, etc.

April 22, 2017

Saturday

8:30am-12:30pm

 

Waterworks Property Field study 3: More soil examination, focusing on wetland soils and soils that form along streams or acid forest soils formed in kamic materials (Walpole, Elmwood, and Stetson)

April 29, 2017

Saturday

8:30am-12:30pm Waterworks Property Snow/rain date, if needed.

 

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 check payment to VERMONT FAMILY FORESTS at 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.

   

About the Instructor 

Wendy Sue Harper, Ph.D. has over 25 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 Agricultural Biodiversity at Green Mountain College and soils and 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.

 

 

Hogback Community College                                                    TREE IDENTIFICATION (plus critters!) IN THE LAKE CHAMPLAIN BASIN, From Mountains to Valley Floor

Dates: June 10, July 22, August 19, October 7, October 28, and November 11, 2017 (see schedule table below)

Location: various sites in Addison County, Vermont

Cost: $180 (18-hour course)

Registration: (download registration form below)

Minimum enrollment: 8 students

Maximum enrollment: 15 students

 

When you head into the woods with herpetologist/naturalist/conservationist extraordinare Jim Andrews, you're in for a whole-systems immersion. So while this course focuses on tree identification in the Lake Champlain watershed--from mountains to lake--you'll be immersed in exploration of the forest community of which those trees are a part. Here's how Jim describes the course:

 

"We are fortunate in Vermont to be surrounded by forestlands rich with a tremendous diversity of tree species. Our trees exhibit a wide variety of bark types, leaves, fruits, forms, and habitat preferences. Whether we are managing land, cutting firewood, searching for wildlife, or just enjoying the beauty and diversity of trees, being able to identify them is both useful and fun. It is also a vehicle to a greater understanding of our local biodiversity, ecology, and to improved stewardship of our local landscapes. This course will focus on year-round tree identification, but we will also discuss any of the interesting amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals we find among those trees."

 

In this course, you will spend six Saturday mornings traveling by foot in local woodlands from the lowlands of the Lake Champlain Basin to the bordering ridges identifying and discussing trees and any other vertebrates you find among them. The course will begin with four walks in the summer and early fall to examine leaves, fruit, bark, form, habitat, and twigs, then follow with two walks after leaf drop to focus on buds, bark, and form. Excursions will be relaxed and slow but on and off trail and will include some moderate climbing.

 

Students 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. The course is intended for beginners and for those willing to share their skills and enthusiasm with beginners. Students are encouraged to take the course more than once to continue to develop and reinforce their skills.

 

Date Time Location Activity
June 10, 2017 8-11 AM Camel's Hump State Forest, Buel's Gore Use leaves, bark, buds, form, and habitat to identify trees in summer
July 22, 2017 8-11AM Sycamore Park & The TWC Waterworks in Bristol

Use leaves, bark, fruit, form, and habitat to identify trees in summer. Introduce some useful guides.

August 19, 2017 8-11AM Snake Mountain & vicinity in Addison Use leaves, bark, fruit, form, and habitat to identify trees in summer.
October 7, 2017 8-11AM The Nature Conservancy's Buckner Preserve in West Haven

Use leaves, bark, fruit, form, and habitat to identify trees in early fall. Southern Valley Species and perhaps some other interesting critters.

October 28, 2017 8-11AM Green Mountain National Forest along Long Trail in Goshen

Use needles, bark, buds, form, and habitat to identify trees after leaf drop. Higher Elevation Species.

November 11, 2017 8-11AM Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area

Use bark, buds, form, and habitat to identify trees after leaf drop. Valley Species. Continue a lifetime of tree (& critter) ID and stewardship.

 

 

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 teacher and students can learn together and as a result, become better stewards of our environment.

 

How to Register: Download the registration form here. In 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 check payment to VERMONT FAMILY FORESTS at 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.