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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.

 

CELEBRATING MONIQUE!

Date: April 27, 2014
Time: 2:00 - 3:15pm
Location: Lincoln Town Library

Join us to celebrate the life of Monique Pia Anderson -- organic gardener, landscape architect, building and land conservationist, and lover of work and learning. The celebration will include a presentation by Middlebury College’s Steve Trombulak, Professor of Environmental and Biosphere Studies, entitled “The Role of Ecological Reserves in Periods of Rapid Ecological Change.”


Following Professor Trombulak’s presentation, there will be the first public showing of Lester C. Anderson’s photographic tribute to Monique entitled “Farm Work.” The celebration will close with a community planting and dedication of a white oak tree in memory of Monique.

Middlebury College and the Colby Hill Ecological Project of Vermont Family Forests will host the event. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, please contact David Brynn at (802) 453-7728.


 

 

GAME OF LOGGING TRAINING PROGRAM, Fall 2014

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.

FALL 2014

Cost per training session level: $170

  1. Level I: October 2, 2014 at 8:00 am (Thursday), raindate October 9
  2. Level II: October 9, 2014 at 8:00 am (Thursday), raindate October 16
  3. Level III: October 16, 2014 at 8:00 am (Thursday), raindate October 23

Location and directions: All 2013 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                                                 

FOUR-SEASON BIRDING IN THE HOGBACK ECOREGION

We are thrilled that Jim Andrews will be teaching Four-Season Birding for a second year! Whether you've never birded before, have a good birding foundation, or took Jim's course last year, this is the course for you!

One of the most popular outdoor activities in North America, birding is fosters a greater understanding of local biodiversity, ecology, and improved stewardship of local landscapes. This course will immerse you in the joy of studying birds in the field, initiating or enhancing a lifetime pursuit.

 

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 knowledge of their natural history and conservation. We will discuss how and why the birds found in our region change over the seasons, how and where to find them, and characteristics of some of our more common bird families.

We will spend four Saturday mornings traveling by foot and by vehicle to search for, identify, and discuss birds between Lake Champlain and Lincoln Gap. We will begin with winter residents and migrants in February, check in on returning species and residents again in April, and then spend two mornings in late May and June searching for and listening to our local breeding birds.

Jim will also suggest a few species sheets to be filled out between meetings. Species sheets are a vehicle with which 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. Students will also be asked to get out on their own between our meetings and keep a list of the species they have seen, along with their key field marks. Binoculars and bird books will be required.

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 22, 2014 (back-up date Sunday, February 23)
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 (assign bird list and species sheets for selected species)
Sites: Porter Bay, Mud Island, and the Champlain Basin
Saturday, April 26, 2014 (back-up date Sunday, April 27)
Time: 8am – 1pm
Location: Meet at Park and Ride at Junction of Rtes 7 and 22A in Vergennes
Topic: Migrants Return (Continue bird list and new species sheets)
Sites: Porter Bay, South Slang, the Champlain Basin, and the Watershed Center
Saturday, May 31, 2014 (back-up date Sunday, June 1)
Time: 8am – 1pm
Location: Meet at the Watershed Center on Plank Road in Bristol
Topic: Warblers, Song ID, and Ecological Niches (Continue bird list and new species sheets)
Sites: The Watershed Center and Lincoln Gap
Saturday, June 21, 2014 (back-up date Sunday, June 22)
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 (Continue a lifetime of birding and bird stewardship)
Sites: Appalachian Gap

 

 

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


Fee: $160
Credit Hours*: 1.25 (20 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

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.

This 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 raind-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, March 1, 2014 (rain-date Sunday, March 2)
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
Saturday, March 22, 2014 (rain-date Sunday, March 23)
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 in Waltham
Saturday, May 24, 2014 (rain-date Sunday, May 25)
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
Saturday, June 28, 2014 (rain-date Sunday, June 29)
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: Camelís Hump State Forest in Buelís Gore near the Appalachian Gap.

 

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 TAI CHI (Spring 2014 session)

Just as the health of a forest can be gauged by its capacity for self-renewal, so the human body - an ecosystem of interconnected parts - depends on resiliency, balance and strength to maintain health.

The practice of Tai Chi Chuan with its slow and meditative movements cultivates this flexibility and balance while opening to the universal renewable energy source called "qi".

In this class, students will learn Tai Chi/Qi Gong exercises and the first set of the Tung Family Yang Style slow set. Classes will be held indoors. Class instruction will connect with the seasonal rhythms of our temperate rainforest.

In addition, there will be time for discussion and take-home reading about the philosophical roots of Tai Chi Chuan as well as healthful practices to integrate throughout the seasons. Master Tung Kai Ying's Learning Tai Chi Chuan will serve as an optional textbook.


About the Instructor

Rachel Edwards, M.S., L.Ac. is a practitioner of Chinese Medicine in Bristol. She is an assistant teacher of Tai Chi Chuan at Falling Water School of Tai Chi Chuan in Middlebury and teaches private lessons in Addison County. Her previous background in outdoor education, movement, and meditation led her to fully embrace Tai Chi as a life-long practice and gateway to wellbeing. For more information about Rachel, visit her website at www.stillmountain-quietheart.com.

Course Details

Wednesdays 5:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m.
April 16 - June 4, 2014 (8 sessions)

Open Sky Studio, 6Main St., Bristol 

 

Minimum/maximum student enrollment:

Minimum: 6    Maximum: 15

Fee: $100 for the course

Drop-in Fee:: $15 per session

Credit hours*: 0.5 (8 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 Seminar - Postponed due to scheduling conflicts                       

PRODUCING & USING FIREWOOD SUSTAINABLY IN THE HOGBACK ECOREGION

Are you interested in producing and utilizing wood heat in a way that is restorative, sustainable, efficient, local, and fair (R-SELF)? In each session of this 16-hour (1 credit) seminar, we’ll explore a different aspect of producing and using wood heat, from standing trees in a healthy forest through logging, processing, delivery, storage, and combustion in an energy-efficient building.

This seminar will involve much active participation—through readings, discussions, presentations, and hands-on applications of learning. In this process, we’ll both learn about and add to the discussion of R-SELF wood energy production. Our discussions and discoveries throughout the seminar will help inform the development of a community-based wood heat cooperative in the Hogback EcoRegion.

This special 16-hour seminar will be offered for a fee significantly lower than our usual $160/16-hour course fee. Check course details below for more information.

               

About the Instructors:

David Brynn is founding executive director and conservation forester for Vermont Family Forests. Home energy efficiency expert Matt Sharpe is engineering staff manager for Vermont Energy Investment Corporation. Bill Torrey has brought his logging expertise to Vermont Family Forests projects since the late 1990s. Roger Wallace is a biomass combustion expert and owner of Addison Biomass Energy.

Course Details:

Dates: September 5 - October 24, 2013 (see table below for schedule details)

Location: Bristol area (Brynn family forest and other sites TBD)

Minimum/maximum student enrollment:  Minimum: 12    Maximum: 18

Fee: $100 for full 16-hour seminar.

Once we have reached our minimum of 12 participants, we will open registration for individual seminar sessions at $25/evening.

 

September 5, 2013 ~Thursday evening

Topic:

Orientation & Assessing What Firewood the Forest is Willing to Yield

Time:

3.0 hours (5:30 pm - 8:30 pm)

Location:

Brynn Family Forest

Instructor:

David Brynn

Description:

During this session, we’ll head to the woods to learn how to assess a forest’s capacity to yield firewood. We’ll discuss and assess (through various hands-on practices) the many factors that go into marking a sustainable, restorative firewood harvest, including species mix, tree quality, the quality and characteristics of the residual stand (assessing what will be left behind), accessibility, and more. 

 

September 15, 2013 ~ Sunday afternoon

Topic:

Tree Marking,  GOL Felling Demonstration, & Forwarding

Time:

3 hours (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm)

Location:

Brynn Family Forest

Instructor:

Bill Torrey with David Brynn

Description:

This session will focus on marking firewood (i.e. “creating a portfolio”) and best practices for removing trees from the forest starting with standing trees and ending with stacked log-length firewood on a landing. We’ll assess and engage in hands-on practices related to access paths & log landings, identifying, marking, and tallying trees to remove; felling trees; limbing and bucking logs; and forwarding log-length firewood to the landing.

 
September 19, 2013 ~ Thursday evening

Topic:

Home Heating Efficiency

Time:

2.5 hours (6:00 pm - 8:30 pm)

Location:

TBA

Instructor:

Matt Sharpe with David Brynn

Description:

Utilizing wood heat well depends on the energy efficiency of the building in which the wood’s being burned. In this session, we’ll take a close look at efficiency with home energy efficiency guru Matt Sharpe, using the Brynn residence as our test case.

 

October 6,  2013 ~ Sunday afternoon

Topic:

Firewood Processing Showcase – Show us your best tools and techniques!

Time:

3 hours (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm)

Location:

TBA

Instructor:

David Brynn and other Coop members

Description:

In this session, we’ll look at the process involved in converting logs into split firewood that’s ready for delivery—exploring various processing technologies and techniques.

 

October 17, 2013 ~ Thursday evening

Topic:

Firewood Storage & Efficient Combustion

Time:

2.5  hours  (6:00 pm  - 8:30 pm)

Location:

Brynn Family Forest

Instructor:

Roger Wallace with David Brynn

Description:

To burn efficiently, wood must be sufficiently dry and be burned in an efficient woodstove or furnace. In this session, we’ll explore efficient and effective wood storage, and we’ll look at the factors that contribute to efficient combustion.

 

October 24, 2013 ~ Thursday evening

Topic:

Wood-fired Flatbread & Creating the Hogback NeighborWood Heating Co-op

Time:

2.5  hours (6:00 – 8:30 pm)

Location:

Brynn Family Forest

Instructor:

Hogback NeighborWood Heating Coop Members

Description:

We’ll light the oven and circle back on the course to highlight  findings. Over wood-fired flatbread and Hogback ale, we’ll wrap up with a discussion of how our findings during this seminar fit into the notion of a community-based wood heat cooperative. We’ll also identify next steps!

 

Credit hours*: 1 credit-hour (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.