My friennd Annette sent this nature quote to me a couple years ago but I still think about it often:

Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees.
Their sermons on the mountains go to our hearts;
and if people in general could be got into the woods, even for once,
to hear the trees speak for themselves,
all difficulties in the way of forest preservation would vanish.

-John Muir, naturalist, explorer, and writer (1838-1914)



Fall-colors-vtJohn Muir co-founded the Sierra Club and is often referred to as the Father of the USA National Park Service.  He is America's most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist.  At Vermont Woods Studios, our mission is founded on sustainable forestry, so Muir's life and accomplishments serve as a poignant reminder of the important things that just one person can do.  Here's how Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard put it in an interview with Sierra Magazine:

  •  If you think about all the gains our society has made, from independence to now, it wasn't government. It was activism. People think, 'Oh, Teddy Roosevelt established Yosemite National Park, what a great president.' BS. It was John Muir who invited Roosevelt out and then convinced him to ditch his security and go camping. It was Muir, an activist, a single person.

I really do believe that each of us can make a difference and help to change the world.  What do you think? 

Heading out for a walk in the woods now :)

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.

We're big tree lovers here at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture. Yes, we rely on them as natural resources for your furniture but also– Vermonters just have a very personal connection to the forest.  Stewardship and sustainability are a part of us.

I happened to catch a great show on PBS the other night called Return to the Forest Where We Live.  It focused on our country's urban forests and the vital role they play in the economic health of our cities.  Would you believe that about 2400 acres/day are being converted from rural to urban land use in America?  Joni Mitchell said this decades ago:  when you cut down trees to put up parking lots you end up with trouble. 

Now we know that among other problems, deforestation increases the temperature of these formerly rural cities by anywhere from five to ten degrees. And that hot temperature really does have a negative impact.  It lowers air quality because hot trees are less healthy and unable to scrub the air of CO2 and pollutants effectively.

Loss of trees in cities also causes flooding, erosion, runoff and water pollution.

Scientist can now quantify the economic benefits of trees in urban areas.  City planners are seeing the hard financial facts about the role of green spaces in reducing air pollution, erosion, summer temperatures, storm water problems and smog.  They are fighting for budgets to increase urban forests and trees and showing the enormous savings associated with the planting and management of trees.  In fact, six million trees provide about $64 million worth of benefits every year.  Where else are you going to get a better than 10:1 return on investment?

Trees can make a big difference to the quality of lives in urban areas. They modify the microclimate of our environments, they clean our air, they reduce flooding and rainfall runoff, they protect our soil from erosion. They just contribute to the quality of our environment, and the quality of our life in many, many ways.

So anyway, I just loved this Tree show on Louisiana PBS and I'm going to celebrate Earth Day by planting a tree.  You can do so too.  If it's not easy to plant one yourself, you can have The Nature Conservancy plant one for you.  They'll do it for $1/tree as part of their Plant A Billion Trees Campaign.

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.


American-wood-bed-furniture Have you ever thought about where your wood furniture comes from?  
Over the past few decades, the organic food movement has made us ask questions about the origin of our food. Now the fundamental concerns voiced in that movement are being extrapolated to the furniture and flooring industries. People want to know where their furniture comes from and what they're finding out is often more disturbing than the facts that were uncovered regarding the origins of our food.

For facts about the origin of your furniture, check out Vermont Woods Studios' latest article on American Wood Furniture and Global Forest Conservation at Ezine.

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.

Siberian-tigers 2010 is the Year of the Tiger.  Did you know there are only about 3200 tigers left in the wild?  This tiger subspecies, the Siberian Tiger– the world's largest cat is literally on the brink of extinction with only about 400 individuals remaining in their natural habitat.  I can't stand the idea of letting these magnificient creatures disappear forever on our watch.  Can you?

If not, here's something you need to know and it has to do with where you and your friends, family and neighbors buy your furniture. 

Siberian tigers live mainly in Russian forests which are now under assault by global timber conglomerates.  Tiger habitat is being systematically decimated to provide illegal timber that's used to make cheap furniture which is marketed mainly in the USA.  In fact, up to 90% of the furniture you see for sale in our country is made of illegally harvested wood that is clear cut from ecologically sensitive habitats like this.

You can help save the tiger by avoiding the purchase of imported wood furniture.  Buy American made furniture instead.  There are still many companies in the USA that specialize in furniture made from sustainably harvested wood that grows and is replanted right here in the USA.  America has some of the world's best quality hardwoods and our forest conservation laws are working to keep it that way.  One of our Vermont foresters told me the other day that in VT, our forests are growing at a rate that is faster than the harvest rate– certainly an important part of the definition of sustainability.

 If you want to learn more about the connection between tigers, forest conservation and wood furniture, give us a call at Vermont Woods Studios.

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.

Madagascar If you are buying furniture, flooring or other wood products, please avoid the purchase of ebony, rosewood, pallisander or any other exotic rainforest species. 

One of our founding missions at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture is rainforest conservation.  We are trying to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from.  Did you know that up to 90% of the furniture in America is made from illegally harvested wood that is plundered from the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests?  Furniture buyers can help correct this situation by avoiding the purchase of imported furniture and flooring.  The wood for most American made furniture is sourced in sustainably managed forests in the USA.

Here's an example of why this issue is so important.  News agencies, Mongabay and the BBC are reporting again about virgin primary rainforest in Madagascar being illegally pillaged by Chinese logging companies.  Irreparable damage to the fragile rainforest ecosystem is taking place.  The very unique species that live there are being pushed further towards extinction. This is not really news– it's happening continuously in nearly all of the worlds rainforests.

 

This photo shows the deforestation in Madagascar.  With its rivers running blood red from soil erosion and staining the surrounding Indian Ocean, astronauts have remarked that it looks as if Madagascar is bleeding to death.

 

Madagascar-lemurs The Madagascan destruction is to satisfy China's demand for rare rosewood which they use to make beds that sell for upwards of $1 million each.  In the process, we see a free-for-all of illegal hunting of some of the country's most endangered and charismatic species (including the lemur which is found nowhere else on earth) according to Conservation International.

We're asking our customers and readers to avoid the purchase of exotic woods and to spread this message to their friends and colleagues.  There are conservation laws on the books but corruption runs rampant in these rainforest countries.  Only a decrease in demand for the lumber will help to preserve these lands and the species that have evolved there for millions of years.  Please spread the word… 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.