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Alive in the Forest, January 2021 newsletter

In this Issue: Co-thriving with beavers, a touch of mapping magic, free screening of Burned, spring chainsaw training courses, lines of grace for Abraham’s Knees, and more.

Co-Thriving with Beavers

If you’ve walked the main trail on the lands of The Watershed Center in Bristol recently, you know that the beavers who call that land home are doing what they do best—felling trees, building dams, creating ponds. During the summer, their efforts flooded the main trail into the land. Again.

In our latest blog, learn about how creative commoning offered a mutually beneficial solution for people, beavers, and the whole wetland community of life.

Read the Story >

Mapping App Brings a little Hogwarts to Family Forestry

Vermont Family Forests is all about hands-on connection with the forest community. Sometimes, we use simple, time-honored hand tools to make that connection. Sometimes we use the latest technology, as is the case with our current forest mapping and inventory system.

Anyone familiar with the Harry Potter books knows the Marauders’ Map and how it magically reveals, via little moving dots, the location of whoever is within the Hogwarts school grounds. Maybe that’s part of why the mapping program, Avenza, is so darn fun, besides being very helpful and easy to use—whether you’re a forester, landowner, or community commoner.

Read the story >

Upcoming Events—

Free Screening of BURNED: Are Trees the New Coal?

Join a free online viewing of the acclaimed documentary “BURNED” on January 28 at 7:00pm. The film powerfully shows how intensively logging forests and burning them to produce electricity is supported and subsidized on a massive scale as “clean, “carbon neutral” and “renewable” even as it fast-tracks deforestation, pollutes our air, and makes climate change worse.

Standing Trees Vermont, a new coalition working to protect, preserve and restore forests on our State and Federal lands, is hosting this on-line event with the support of many allies in the region, including Vermont Family Forests. Coalition members as well as film-makers Lisa Merton and Chris Hardee will be available for Q and A following the film. All are welcome.

About the film: Through interviews with activists, experts, and citizens, along with verité-style footage shot across the U.S. and in Europe, BURNED interweaves the science of climate change, energy-policy disputes, the biomass industry practices, forest ecology, conflict over jobs, and the actions of activists and citizens who are working to protect their health and that of their communities, the forest, and our climate.

What: A film showing and discussion of BURNED: Are Trees the New Coal?
When: 01/28/2021 @ 7:00 pm—TOMORROW NIGHT!
Where: This is a virtual event. Registrants will receive a Zoom link prior to the event. Register at The Action Network.

Game of Logging Chainsaw Training Courses

At the risk of stating the obvious, when used without proper training, a chainsaw is a major hazard to your health. In all our chainsaw training courses, top-notch instructors from Northeast Woodland Training teach techniques that maximize safety, efficiency, and accuracy. Whether you want to be able to safely buck up logs for firewood, or want to learn how to fell a tree where you want it to go even if it's leaning where you don’t want it to go, this training for you.

This spring, we’re offering the Basic training course, as well as Game of Logging Levels 1 and 2. As with our fall 2020 courses, special Covid precautions will be in place and are outlined on our registration page.


Basic Chainsaw Use and Safety, April 20, 2021
Game of Logging Level 1, April 22 or April 27, 2021
Game of Logging Level 2, April 29, 2021


All courses run 8:00am - 4:30pm, $200 per session

To learn more and register for courses, visit our EVENTBRITE page.

Lines of Grace at Abraham’s Knees

When Vermont Family Forests purchased the 53-acre piece of land on the side of Mount Abraham known as “Abraham’s Knees,” the land came with an existing Forest Service access trail. That path heads straight up the mountainside, with steep grades and significant erosion in places.

One of the big reasons we purchased Abraham’s Knees was to have a piece of land where we could walk the talk of VFF’s organic forest health conservation practices—a place to explore mutually beneficial relationship with the forest through careful, contemplative, hands-on work with the land. The old access path offered a great place to start that process.

Read the story >

Exploring the Nature of Our Home Grounds

We’re delighted to share this latest video from Alicia Daniel and the Vermont Master Naturalist Program, exploring some of the natural communities along Lake Champlain in the Center-West Ecoregion. Thank you Alicia!

Bedrock to Birds: Wildlands of the Champlain Valley
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