Vermont Coverts Cohort:  Woodlands for Wildlife
These are the amazing people in my cohort at last week’s Vermont Coverts workshop: “Woodlands for Wildlife”.  The word “covert” (pronounced cuh-vert) is an old English term meaning a thicket, home or hiding place for animals.

After locating our fine furniture and home decor store on a 100 acre wood in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest (see my last post), I found myself in the familiar position of trying to do something I knew little about.  How would we properly manage this woodland for wildlife and sustainability?  My friends Kathleen Wanner (Executive Director of the Vermont Wood Manufacturer’s Association VWMA) and Lynn Levine (a professional forester) suggested that Ken and I attend the Vermont Coverts:  Woodlands for Wildlife Cooperator Training.  What a great idea!

Mess is best when it comes to creating habitat for wildlife
One of the key points we learned about managing our woodlands is that “mess is best” when it comes to creating habitat for wildlife.  Forests need to be thinned with plenty of coarse woody debris remaining on the floor to provide cover for animals.

The program was last weekend at the Woods of Wikahowi in Northfield, VT.  Ken had to cancel at the last minute but I attended along with a dozen or so like-minded landowners from all across Vermont.  Because 80% of Vermont’s forestland is owned privately, the Coverts organization concluded that the key to sustaining our state’s forests & wildlife is education of private landowners.  They provide a free 3-day training course every Spring and every Fall, focusing on classroom and field studies in forest and wildlife management.

Kim Royar, VT Department of Fish and Wildlife shows us bear claws on a beech tree.
Kim Royar, VT Department of Fish and Wildlife shows us bear claws on a beech tree.

The course was taught by Vermont’s foremost experts in forestry & wildlife including:

  • Lisa Sausville, Executive Director, Vermont Coverts
  • Mary Sisock, UVM Extension Forester
  • Kim Royar, VT Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Dan Singleton, Washington County Forester
  • Steve Hagenbuch, Audubon VT
  • Kathy Decker, VT Forest, Parks and Recreation
  • Rich Chalmers, VP VT Coverts
Maple is Vermont's Most Important Hardwood Tree
The Maple is Vermont’s most important tree.  Here Rich Chalmers is showing us his newly built sugar house– made from timbers logged in the surrounding forest.

VT Coverts is so committed to their mission that they offer the course for free, including food and lodging!  Dedicated Coverts members work hard to meet expenses through grants and fundraising programs.  If you own woodlands in Vermont or know someone who does, please refer them to the Coverts program.  It’s an unforgettable weekend with fascinating people and thought-provoking discussion. The graduates of the program hold the future of Vermont’s forests in their hands.

Vermont Coverts | Reference Books | Sustainable Forestry
Some of the handouts from Vermont Coverts.  Click here to apply for the next Vermont Coverts Training workshop.  Did I mention the training is FREE?

 

 

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.

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins
Marlin Perkins from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom was my childhood idol.  As a “larger than life” wildlife conservationist, he was succeeded by Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter.  But who is the voice of wildlife conservation today?

If you’re under 50 you probably don’t know who Marlin Perkins was.  When I was a kid, my whole family would sit in front of the TV on Sunday nights and watch Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom*.  Marlin Perkins was the host— kind of a 1960s version of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter.

Marlin was always venturing into exotic places like the African savannah or the Amazon rainforest, filming wild animals in their natural habitats.  Orangutans, gorillas, kangaroos, pythons, lions, tigers, bears… the whole shebang. He would be holding a chimp and talking about conservation and… oh how I wanted to be him!  Cuddling up with a tiger cub, rescuing a couple orphaned bear cubs — what could be better?

Although I didn’t end up majoring in zoology or doing research for Jane Goodall, my passion for wildlife conservation has stayed with me.  Like most people I went for a “more practical career” and decided to pursue my passion as a hobby.  I visited zoos and natural history museums whenever I could.  I studied wildlife news in National Geographic, World Wildlife Fund, Sierra Club and other green publications. I poured my support into wildlife conservation non-profits.

But the real fun didn’t start along until Kendall and Riley came along.  How convenient?  It seems little boys love wildlife!  We camped out in local beaver ponds and vernal pools getting to know the resident turtles, frogs, salamanders, snakes and such.  We made trips to the rainforest, adopted snakes and started a non-profit called Kids Saving the Planet.  Our adventures in Vermont’s forests and in the Central American rainforests eventually led to the creation of Vermont Woods Studios Sustainable Furniture.   More about that in my next post.

 

* and the Wonderful World of Disney and Ed Sullivan Show, of course

The Vermont Furniture 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, a 200 year old 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.

National Wildlife Week
National Wildlife Week starts today.  With this year’s theme, “Branching Out for Wildlife”, the National Wildlife Federation is planting tens of thousands of trees in over 200 communities across the country—bringing children and adults together to provide crucial habitat for wildlife. 

Each year during the 3rd week of March our friends at the National Wildlife Federation celebrate wildlife, nature and our need to protect them. This year’s National Wildlife Week, March 18-23, explores the roles of trees for wildlife, people and communities.

As woodworkers, we at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture have a thing about trees and forest conservation.   NWF captures our sentiments: “from the canopy to the roots, trees are critical for thousands of wildlife species—from woodpeckers that drill on the trunks of mature trees, to beavers felling trees to build their homes, and huge moose eating tree leaves and sprouts in the forest.  Not only do trees benefit wildlife at all stages of their lives—by providing shelter, nesting places, food, and hiding places for predators and prey—trees are also the lungs of the Earth, because they renew our air supply by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen for us to breathe.”

NWF is planting tens of thousands of trees this week, in over 200 communities across the country—bringing children and adults together to provide crucial habitat for wildlife.  You can join their celebration by  planting a tree, making a donation or sharing a photo of wildlife in trees (upload your photos to their Facebook timeline).

It’s a little early to be planting trees in Vermont this season, so at Vermont Woods Studios we’ll be participating by donating $1/sale to our Plant a Billion Trees initiative.  Trees are the longest living organisms on our planet and one of the earth’s greatest natural resources.  What are you doing to conserve them?

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.

 

Heart-Chairs

Steve Holman's Broken Hearted Chairs

 

We posted a few suggestions for Valentine's gifts last week, but here it is Valentine's Day already and you may be caught unprepared.  What are you going to do now?

 

Well, you could place an order with Steve Holman for a couple of these stunning heart-shaped, custom artisan chairs.  They would certainly make a unique once-in-a-lifetime gift.

 

But if you're looking for something faster and less expensive, how about sending a free Valentine's Day Ecard courtesy of The World Wildlife Fund?  There are many cards to choose from– one is sure to catch your sweetheart's fancy.

 

 

 

Valentine's-Day

Valentine's e Cards from WWF.  Free and easy!

 

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.