Come join us at the Salamander Soiree tonight, April 5th from 6-8:30pm at the River Garden on Main Street in Brattleboro VT.  A number of animal lovers from Vermont Woods Studios will be attending the annual party sponsored by our friends at the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center BEEC.  We’ll be helping to recruit and train crossing guards for this year’s annual amphibian migration. Why not join us?

Tom Tyning, author of the Stokes Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles will be speaking about his research projects on vernal pools, rare salamanders, endangered snakes, and spade foot toads.  Tom is always lively, informative, and funny.  Other festivities include: hors d’oeuvres, live music and the famous Salamander Crossing Guard Fashion Show.  Bring your iphone or ipad and you can install BEEC’s new Salamander Crossing app.  Best of all, it’s free!

For a little background on why a fine furniture company would be so dedicated to protecting frogs, toads and salamanders, here’s a look back at previous amphibian-related posts:

See you tonight!  Dress code?  Black and yellow, of course.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios.  Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Stonehurst: A Sustainable Furniture Store with a Green Mission
Our sustainable furniture showroom at Stonehurst sits on a 100 acre wooded parcel in Vernon, Vermont.  This is the view out our back windows– also a place for weekly meetings (weather permitting) and a backdrop for forest conservation projects.

Ken and I founded Vermont Woods Studios fine furniture store almost nine years ago.  As a woodworker, Ken’s interest was in earning a living by promoting the tradition of high quality Vermont made wood furniture.  For me, the project was about forest conservation and my desire to help protect forest habitat and wildlife for future generations*.   Over the years it’s been a challenge managing this yin-yang pair of objectives but I think we’ve been able to maintain a pretty good balance.

Stonehurst Opens Up New Opportunities for Forest Conservation

This year we have a chance to bring a whole new dimension to our forest conservation mission through our newly acquired property at Stonehurst.  The farmhouse we purchased and renovated into a Vermont made furniture gallery sits on 100 wooded acres in the foothills of the Green Mountain National Forest.  In the past our environmental mission was largely fulfilled by donating to like-minded non-profits**, but now we can also also partner with them by providing forest habitat for various conservation projects.

Join Us!

Below are a few conservation activities we’re supporting for 2014:

  • Woodlands for Wildlife – Vermont Coverts educates landowners in sound forest management practices and the principles of stewardship for the enhancement of wildlife.  Ken and I are attending their 3-day seminar on forest and wildlife management this spring to learn how to improve wildlife habitat and provide better conditions for native deer, turkeys, moose, bear, birds, bob cats, chipmunks, squirrels and other species that may be living at Stonehurst.
  • MonarchWatch – When Kendall and Riley were in elementary school we used to capture monarch caterpillars, watch their metamorphosis and tag the butterflies before waving them off on their epic migration to Mexico every fall.  But for the past several years I haven’t seen even a single monarch.  So this year we’ll support Chip Taylor at MonarchWatch by planting butterfly gardens (including milkweed) and encouraging others to do the same.
  • Vermont Center for Eco Studies- VCE is a group of Vermont’s foremost conservation scientists who inspire citizen volunteers across Vermont and around the world.  We’ve been supporting them for years and are excited about being able to use Stonehurst as a place to gather data for their many programs including:
    • Vernal pool mapping
    • VT reptile and amphibian atlas
    • VT breeding bird survey
  • Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center – BEEC’s annual Salamander Soiree is this Saturday April 5th from 6-8:30pm in Brattleboro at the River Garden on Main Street.  We’ll be there to help recruit crossing guards for this year’s annual amphibian migration.

If you’re in our neighborhood and share similar interests, please stop by Stonehurst, give us a call or connect with us on Facebook.  Let us know what you’re working on and how we can help.  As the southern most corner of Vermont, Vernon can play a significant role in our state’s conservation efforts.  Let’s make it happen!

* We are losing the worlds forests at a rate of > 1 acre/second.  A major factor in deforestation is widespread illegal logging for timber that’s used to make cheap furniture sold by IKEA, Home Depot and other big-box stores.  Our goal at Vermont Woods Studios is to help raise awareness about where your furniture comes from and persuade people to buy sustainable furniture made from legally harvested wood.

** The non-profits we’ve supported include the World Wildlife Fund WWF, The Nature Conservancy TNC, Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center BEEC, Vermont Center for Ecostudies VCE and others working to conserve forests and wildlife.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios.  Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Earth Hour 2014 | WWF

This Saturday March 29th from 8:30-9:30pm is Earth Hour, the largest environmental movement in history. Be a part of it by turning your lights off to symbolize your support for Mother Nature.

What is Earth Hour?

Earth Hour is the largest environmental movement in history and it’s sponsored annually by the World Wide Fund WWF.  It’s purpose is to bring people from around the world together for 1 hour in solidarity and support of Mother Nature.  The event has grown to include over 7000 cities and towns worldwide that participate by turning their lights off from 8:30-9:30pm (local time) as a symbol of their commitment to the planet.

Why Do We Care?

I started Vermont Woods Studios in 2005 as my personal attempt to be part of the solution to environmental care, especially in the area of forest and wildlife conservation.  Since then I’ve been fortunate enough to find a small cadre of brilliant professionals, willing to work long hours in an effort to get this sustainable furniture company up and running.  Today I can say we’re making great strides and much of that is attributed to our commitment to a mission that we believe in.  Earth hour symbolizes that mission.

How Can You Participate?

It’s easy and fun to be a part of Earth Hour this Saturday, March 29th at 8:30pm.   Check out WWF’s Earth Hour website for things to do while the lights are out.  Candlelight dinners, star-gazing, nighttime bike rides, moonlit picnics and more.

Curious about what others in your city are doing for Earth Hour?  Here’s a map showing various celebrations across America and a list of cities, buildings and businesses that are participating.  Around New England you’ll find dozens of activities including dramatic displays in New York City’s Times Square and the Empire State Building and dimming of the lights in locations all around Boston.  If you add your name to the movement this Saturday, share photos with us at Vermont Woods Studios (Twitter and Facebook #earthhour).  Together we can make a difference!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios.  Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

International Day of Forests is held anually on March 21st as a way to raise awareness for sustainable forest management, conservation, and sustainable development of all types of forests for the benefit of our planet and for current and future generations.

Why Raising Awareness about our Forests is Important

Forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihood.

Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than half of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. Forests also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent populations.

They play a key role in our battle against climate change. Forests contribute to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air. They protect watersheds, which supply fresh water to rivers.

Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, we are destroying the very forests we need to survive. Global deforestation continues at an alarming rate – 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.” (UN)

Participating in International Day of Forests

Forests are a vital part of our local and international ecosystem. At Vermont Woods Studios, we’re proud to make our commitment to sustainable forestry the driving force behind our mission. We hope that by promoting sustainable wood products, our audience will become more aware of where their wood furniture comes from & choose not to support companies who practice unsustainable logging practices. We celebrate trees & forests each and every single day.

 For International Day of Forests, countries across the globe will celebrate trees and forests with a variety activities spanning from community level activities like film showings and tree plantings, to national and international campaigns through art, photography & social media. What are you doing to celebrate International Day of Forests? Let us know in the comments section or on Facebook!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Sustainable Eco Friendly Furniture from Vermont
With yet another snowstorm on it’s way to Vermont, my mind is longing for Spring. How about you? Perhaps a few images of green grass and the birds and the bees (courtesy of Polyvore) will hurry things along?

In Vermont the seasons are still tied to production of wood furniture.  Winter provides the best opportunity for careful logging because frozen ground is less susceptible to damage.  And Spring begins a new cycle for forest stewardship planning– a process that ensures availability of wood for future generations.  At Vermont Woods Studios that process is led by Lynn Levine (our professional forester) who helps manage the 100 acre woodland that Stonehurst sits upon.  A woodland we’re using to help people understand where their furniture comes from:  trees that are sustainably harvested.

What is Sustainable, Eco Friendly Furniture?

Polywood all weather Adirondack chairs | Recycled plastic milk jugs
These eco friendly POLYWOOD all weather Adirondack chairs are made of recycled plastic milk jugs.  Other marks of sustainability include green certifications, local responsibly harvested wood and use of non-toxic materials.

I just googled “sustainable eco friendly furniture” and came up with everything from IKEA (who was recently suspended from the Forest Stewardship Council FSC for illegally clear cutting 600 year old trees in Russia) to Pottery Barn (well known for  greenwashing campaigns like their eco chic collection). At Vermont Woods Studios  we’ve written a lot about sustainable furniture and how it’s defined.   Because we sell mainly wooden furniture we focus on responsible sourcing, green certification of wood, advantages of local and American made furniture, and the importance of recycled  and handmade furniture.  For examples of a wider variety of eco friendly furniture, check out the latest green furniture articles on Inhabitat.

Why Buy Sustainable Furniture?

“Every dollar you spend or don’t spend is a vote you cast for the world you want.” – L.N. Smith

A couple other reasons that come to mind include:

  • better health for your family (no exposure to the flammables, lead and toxic coatings that are often present in furniture)
  • less investment in furniture over the long run (sustainable furniture is built to last a lifetime so no replacements are necessary) and
  • support for local communities that produce sustainable furniture

Have some reasons of your own?  Let us know on Facebook or in the comments section below.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.