People often ask me why on earth we located our new sustainable furniture store in the middle of Vermont’s woodlands. The truth is that I don’t see Vermont Woods Studios as a furniture store. Yes we have IMHO a beautiful showcase of the best quality handmade furniture Vermont has to offer. But our business was built first and foremost, out of my passion for wildlife & forest conservation. I wanted to show people where their furniture comes from. And I wanted to appeal to them to buy furniture and flooring that come from forests that are re-planted and professionally managed for wildlife & sustainability.
We located Stonehurst in the foothills of the Green Mountain National Forest…
so customers could enjoy the 100 acre woodland we’re on and experience the beauty of the forest
so we could raise awareness about forest conservation and the fact that much of the wood furniture and flooring in America is made from imported rainforest timber that’s being mowed down at the mind-boggling rate of over 1 acre/second
so we could persuade people to buy American made furniture and flooring– a healthier, more sustainable choice for both people & planet
so we could inspire people to change the world
For the first 7 years our Vermont Woods Studios was an online furniture store. Our staff worked out of a spare bedroom in my house. When customers wanted to visit us we would invite them to Ken’s tiny workshop in the back of the house. But as business grew and more people wanted to visit, we figured maybe it was safe to set up shop in a more suitable location. From the very beginning we knew it had to be in the woods.
Looking for something exciting for the kids to do this summer? Vermont Woods Studios is offering three scholarships for local Vernon children to attend Nature Camp at the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center BEEC this year. Check out the different camps offered and contact Kelsey if you’d like to attend. The application process is quick and easy (see below).
What Are BEEC Nature Camps?
“BEEC’s Nature Explorers Camp is for the young person who enjoys the natural world. Our goal is to foster children’s love of nature in a safe, supportive environment. Campers spend most of each day outdoors, in small groups, exploring the forests, meadow and waters of our 60 open acres. Non-competitive games, stories, art projects, music and a cooling ride down our gentle water slide at the end of the day add to the Nature Explorers Summer Camp experience. Children return year after year, excited to visit special places such as Grandmother Tree and Frog Pond. They also return knowing that there is much fun to be had! Campers investigate the lives’ of their wild neighbors, learn naturalist skills, explore wildlife habitats, develop their sensory awareness skills, venture off-trail, and discover a sense of magic and wonder in the Great Outdoors!”
What Camps are Available, When and for What Ages?
BEEC offers 7 different nature camps for kids ranging in age from 4-11. Camps are fun and educational with an emphasis on getting to know the natural world. Here’s a list of this summer’s camps:
Finding Our Way ~ June 23 to 27, 9am – 3pm: ages 9-11
Cub Camp ~ June 30 to July 3, *9am – 1pm*: ages 4-5
Roots and Shoots ~ July 7 to 11, 9am – 3pm: ages 7-10
Wee Naturalists ~ July 14 to 18, 9am – 3pm: ages 5-7
Emerging Naturalists ~ July 21 to 25, 9am – 3pm: ages 6-8
Our Side of the Mountain ~ July 28 to August 1, 9am – 3pm: ages 8-11
Magical World of Nature ~ August 4 to 8, 9am – 3pm: ages 6-9
Where is BEEC?
BEEC is located on Bonnyvale Road in West Brattleboro, about a 25 minute drive from Vernon. Here’s a map.
How to Apply for the Vermont Woods Studios Scholarship
Vermont Woods Studios is offering three $150 scholarships to local Vernon kids in need. If you’re interested, just contact Kelsey (802-490-2189) (email@example.com) with a short paragraph about why you want to attend camp and which camp you prefer.
Deadlines and Award Checks
The sooner you apply the better, as these camps fill up quickly (they are almost at full enrollment for the last several weeks of camp, but the first 3 or 4 weeks still have plenty of space). We’ll accept applications until all 3 scholarships are awarded. Awards will be first-come, first-serve. The award will be in the form of a check paid directly to BEEC on your behalf. Have questions? Stop by and see us at Stonehurst on Huckle Hill Road in Vernon or contact Kelsey by phone (802-490-2189) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thanks for applying!
Picture this: It’s past 10pm and Peggy is outside in her rainboots, a bright yellow raincoat, and some reflective gear. She has a bucket on her arm, a flashlight in one hand, and a big spotted salamander in her other hand. It’s cold and raining and way past her bedtime but dozens of these local amphibians need her help! Yep, It’s salamander migration season! For the past 15 years Peggy has been helping these Spot-tacular salamanders make it across busy roads towards the vernal pools they use for breeding. With the help of great organizations like BEEC, we’ve saved hundreds of salamanders from being run over by cars (and depending on the amount of traffic, this can result in huge dents in the salamander population)!
Our forests are so much more than just trees. When Peggy started Vermont Woods Studios in 2005, she was inspired to help save disappearing animal habitats by promoting sustainable forestry. Did you know that almost every species of large primate & big cat are endangered? While these salamanders aren’t endangered (at least not yet), we want to make sure it stays that way! These salamanders have been following the same migration patterns for hundreds of years, way before roads and cars and all of the man-made things that put them in danger. On nights where we might have missed them crossing, there is evidence left on the roads of the threat to the survival of these crawly creatures that cars pose.
The least we can do is help these slow movers make it to where they’re headed.
After the salamanders have crossed and made it to the vernal pools, we visit them to see how many egg clusters we can find. This helps us keep track of the success of the salamanders each year and assures us that our efforts are making a difference!
All in all, we take care and keep track of the success of the salamander migration because we care about our environment– even the smallest parts! If you’re interested in learning more about helping salamanders, check out the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center website.
Have you ever wondered why Vermont is so clean, green and pristine? Well one reason is that since 1970, thousands of Vermonters have gotten outside on the first Saturday of May to collect tons of litter that would otherwise mar our state’s scenic beauty. The goal of “Green Up Day” is to “promote the stewardship of our state’s natural landscape and waterways and the livability of our communities by involving people and raising public awareness about the benefits of a litter-free environment”. So tomorrow May 3, volunteers will scour 13,000 miles of roads and collect 40,000 bags of trash.
Have you participated in Green Up day before? If not, how about giving it a try? Get your muck boots on and head outside for some fresh air, sunshine and the good feeling that comes from serving your community. Find out who’s coordinating Green Up day in your community here. They’ll have trash bags for you but more importantly they’ll probably throw a pizza party for all the local volunteers after the work is done.
Our Green Up efforts at Vermont Woods Studios took place yesterday as staff members had other obligations this weekend. Here are some photos of the work we did cleaning up the Vernon Pond and the Vernon Beach (bet you didn’t know we had a beach, did you?).
Please share your own Green Up Day photos with us on Facebook.
Earth Day Gives us the Opportunity to Reflect on our Environmental Impact
Each & Every one of us at Vermont Woods Studios works here for a reason; we are passionate about Vermont furniture and we are passionate about keeping our forests thriving. We love the outdoors, and we love the environment. Earth day is very special to us, and this year we’ve decided to each make a pledge towards making our everyday lives more eco-friendly. It’s easy to forget about the impact of even the smallest choices we make sometimes, and we’re excited to be more environmentally conscious this year.
This Earth Day, I pledge to….
Peggy: I pledge to buy more organic and bird friendly coffee for the office.
Douglas: I pledge to stop using plastic water bottles. My daughter and I use 20+ a week when working out– we’re both going to start using large glass mason jars instead!
Dennis: I pledge to maintain the bird houses I just built and put up around my house.
Liz: My pledge is to create a compost bin and start composting at my cabin, as I’ve been wanting to for a long time!
Sean: My pledge is to buy less clothes this year and to donate all of my old or unwanted clothes to charity!
Michelle: I pledge to eat more food from my own garden this year.
Loryn: I pledge to drive less since I will be buying a bike soon!
Kelsey: I pledge to grow monarch-friendly plants outside of my apartment.
Nina: My pledge is to collect rainwater and use that to water my garden, rather than wasting water from the faucet!
So what’s your Earth Day pledge? Remember that even a small change in your lifestyle can make a huge difference in our planet! We’d love to hear what you’re eco-change is going to be this year. Let us know on Facebook or send us a Tweet!