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This cute little squirrel visits Heather B. everyday!

At Vermont Woods Studios we all have a special place in our hearts for animals.  From our own cats, dogs, snakes and other pets, to the familiar faces of chipmunks, squirrels and birds that share our backyards to the exotic and elusive endangered species we read about or catch a glimpse of in Vermont's forests.

 

So today on National Wildlife Day we'll be thinking about our furry, slimy, feathered and scaley friends and remembering that part of our mission is to conserve forest habitat for them.  In fact, one of the statistics that urged me to form Vermont Woods Studios is that half of the world's animal species live in the rainforest which is disappearing at an alarming rate– we're losing over 100 rainforest species every day.  It's something we're trying to help change by raising awareness about where your furniture comes from.

 

 

 

 

 

Adopt_web_east_screech_owl_lp

Vermont Woods Studios participated in VINS' "adopt a raptor" program. Welcome to the Woods, Woody!

Here at home in Vermont
we support Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS), a non-profit located in
Quechee. VINS aims to "motivate individuals and communities to care for
the environment though education, research and aviation wildlife
rehabilitation." VINS invites guests of all ages to visit and learn about
the most recent environmental science information. More than 40,000 people
through out New England go to VINS for environmental
education programs.

While visiting VINS, guests will see some of New
England's most interesting avian wildlife. Humans head to the doctors when we are sick, wild animals seek
professional care at VINS. The Nature
Center at VINS has licensed
wildlife rehabilitators who heal wildlife and raise the orphaned.  The ultimate goal is to return the wildlife
back to their natural homes; however, if they do not feel that an animal can
safely be returned, the animal will stay with VINS.

Because VINS is a non-profit they rely on the help of the
general public to keep their facilities running.  They have created an "adopt a
raptor
" program as a fun way for people to help fund their rehabilitation
program. Vermont Woods Studios has participated in this program by adopting a Gray
Phase Eastern Screech Owl, whom we have named Woody.  Woody's age is unknown; however, it arrived
at VINS in May of 2004 because of a right shoulder injury caused by a collision
with a vehicle.  In the VINS education
programs, they teach visitors that they do not name the owls to stress the fact
that they are not pets, they are wild animals. We have decided that because we
have only symbolically adopted Woody, that it is okay to have named it (we
don't know Woody's sex). By adoption Woody, we helped provide food and
specialized care.

The Adopt a Raptor Program is a fun way to support VINS and
the raptors they care for.  It is also a
great, feel good gift for an animal lover like us!

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.

 

I started Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture almost 7 years ago as part of a mission to help with rainforest conservation. We promote American made furniture that’s built with local, sustainably harvested wood as an alternative to imported furniture made with illegal tropical timber, clear cut from the world’s rapidly disappearing rainforests.

 

But a couple years ago when we were searching for an eco-friendly line of outdoor furniture, I began to learn that furniture is such a HUGE commodity it’s manufacture affects ocean conservation as well as forest conservation.  Often when rainforests are clear-cut for timber, they are converted into plantations that require massive amounts of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. The whole process results in soil erosion, run-off, ocean pollution and coral bleaching.

This knowledge is what led us to begin carrying our POLYWOOD outdoor furniture collection which is made from recycled plastic beverage containers, rather than rainforest woods like teak or mahogany.   I know this is a convoluted pathyway, but that’s what reminded me of today’s designation as World Oceans Day.

There’s no denying it– we are destroying the oceans and we need to take action to restore them.  90% of the big fish are gone and many of the fish caught today never even have the chance to reproduce. The average size of the remaining big fish has been cut in half in the last 50 years (the average weight of a swordfish caught today is 90 lbs., down from 266 lbs. in 1960).

The Green Prophet has some great suggestions if you’re wondering what you can do to help restore the oceans.  In addition to avoiding the purchase of furniture made from tropical woods (like teak, mahogany, ipe and eucalyptus) you can also help by eating only sustainably harvested fish and learning more about ocean conservation.

OK, thanks for reading all this.  Now time to head out to the beach for a swim!

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.

 

Wwf-living-planet-2012

World Wildlife Fund's landmark Living Planet Report underscores our mission of Forest Conservation at Vermont Woods Studios

 

Our friends at the World Wildlife Fund have just published their bi-annual Living Planet Report.  It's a landmark study of our planet in terms of the health of our forests, rivers and oceans.

 

The results aren't pretty.  Here are some of the facts they highlighted about our environment:

 

  • We’ve lost 30 to 70 percent of our wildlife since 1970. That's an average.  The tropics have lost 50 percent of their animals over the last 40 years, and tropical freshwater ecosystems have lost about 70 percent. The wild tiger population has suffered a 70 per cent decline in populations

 

  • We are living as if we have the resources of an extra planet at our disposal. We’re using 50 percent more resources than the Earth can provide sustainably

 

  • The U.S. has the fifth largest ecological footprint in terms of the amount of resources each person annually consumes. We rank only behind Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Denmark in the global rankings of the Ecological Footprint

 

These are just a few of the statistics noted in the 80 page report.  But the good news is that it's not too late to save wildlife species and reverse unsustainable trends. 

 

Green commerce plays a fundamental role in this as do you and I.  The choices we make about our purchases will determine our planet's future. 

 

Change-the-world

Excerpts from World Wildlife Fund's landmark Living Planet Report

 

 

 

Learn more about what Vermont Woods Studios is doing to promote forest conservation and preservation of endangered species like the Sumatran tiger. Join us in our green mission!

 

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.

Scroll down to see how our Manifesto evloved

Today the World Wildlife Fund reports that after losing nearly 70 per cent of its forest habitat and half its population in one generation, the Sumatran elephant is heading for imminent extinction due to deforestation and habitat loss.

These elephants are not alone.  According to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, 3-5 species become extinct every hour of every day. That’s up to 45,000 species every year!

What we’re doing at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture is trying to raise awareness about the how your choices as a consumer directly affect the extinction of endangered species like the Sumatran elephant.  If you can avoid buying imported forest products, especially wood furniture and flooring (if it’s not clearly labelled Made in America–pretty much any furniture you’ll find at Home Depot, Walmart, Bob’s, Lowe’s or other big box stores is imported) you’ll be doing your part to lessen global deforestation and destruction of the habitat these elephants live in.

What else are we doing?

We support a number of projects to save endangered species.  Here’s one I was pretty excited about last week:  when I was on the Vernon Selectboard a few years back, our town partnered with the Vermont Division of Fish and Wildlife DFW to protect habitat and save the critically endangered spotted turtle from extinction.  Last week we were able to celebrate our work.  It’s 6 or 7 years later, but finally through a long process, the turtle habitat is being cared for and hopefully we’ll start to see their population come back.

How about you?  Tell us what you’re doing in the comments below or on our Vermont Furniture 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.

Vt-birds-coffeeI do love my work here at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture but if I could pick a dream job for just a month or a year, I think it might be working as a biologist for The Vermont Center for Ecostudies VCE.

Here's how they describe their work:  "VCE biologists scale high peaks, paddle remote ponds, slog through wetlands, visit ordinary backyards, and traverse the Americas to study birds, insects, mammals, amphibians and other wildlife."  How cool would that be?

One of my favorite VCE project areas is bird conservation.  In fact, we named a line of our furniture after Roz Renfrew a champion VCE ecologist. Roz has dedicated her life to conserving tropical habitat for Vermont migratory birds in places like Hispaniola and Bolivia.  Through her work we've come to understand the importance of buying shade grown coffee.

 

 

Bird-friendly-coffee

 

It turns out that the reason we started Vermont Woods Studios (to promote rainforest conservation) is also the reason to buy "bird friendly coffee".  Whereas coffee used to be grown under the canopy of the rainforest (thus providing great habitat for birds) it's now more profitable to cut the rainforest down and grow coffee in the sun.  Besides requiring tons of pesticides and fertilizers which destroy life in nearby streams, rivers and coastline this un-natural practice eliminates critical habitat for birds.

So… I've been able to make the switch at home, no problem but now I've got to get Douglas to find Bird Friendly coffee for our Kuerig dispenser at work.  I've looked everywhere and can't find it. Any ideas?  I'd welcome your suggestions below or on our Facebook.  Thanks!

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.