Family-oriented Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival on Saturday, August 11

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH  03887
(603) 473-2020
info@mmrg.info

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date submitted:  August 3, 2018

Family-oriented Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival on Saturday, August 11

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways’ 16th Annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival will take place on Saturday, August 11 from 10 am to 3 pm at Branch Hill Farm, 307 Applebee Road, Milton Mills, NH. This family-friendly celebration of the great outdoors provides children and adults an opportunity to enjoy, understand and appreciate the natural world, an essential part of MMRG’s goal to foster a conservation ethic in future generations.

The WWW Festival has an abundance of activities optimized for grandparents, parents and other family members to enjoy time outside with kids. For children, the emphasis is on having fun, exploring the outdoors and getting a close look at nature. Families get to watch and learn about rescued wild and barnyard animals or try fishing in the pond. Kids can take a discovery walk to find natural treasures in the woods, try out a logger’s crosscut saw, meet Smokey Bear, build a bee house for native pollinators, or swing on a rope swing in the woods. Families can also relax together on a hayride or while listening to Native American stories.

 

Learning opportunities targeted at adults include apple tree grafting and cider-making, beekeeping and collecting honey, low impact horse logging, using solar panels to generate electricity, landscaping for pollinators and wildlife, permaculture gardening and composting, tree identification, controlling invasive species, and more topics in forestry, agriculture, and sustainability. The live fiddle and guitar music is also a big attraction.

The festival takes place rain or shine. The cost is $5/person or $10/family and free to ages 12 and under; all events included; food concessions available. Rest rooms and most events are wheelchair accessible. No pets, please. For more information and a program of events, visit www.mmrg.info/festival.

MMRG is grateful to its festival underwriters, D.F. Richard Energy, the Siemon Company and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust. Moose Mountains Regional Greenways is a non-profit land trust serving Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro (see www.mmrg.info). Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust is a private operating foundation (see www.branchhillfarm.org).

 

Bee house building 2017

Crosscut saw closeup concentration WWW 2016 (David O’Connor)

Family nature walk WWW 2017 (Kate Wilcox)

Girl concentrating on sawing (Dave O)

Girl dipping for wildlife in the Salmon Falls River at WWW 2017 (Emily Lord)

Crowds in seating area WWW 2015 (Kate Wilcox)

Girls painting their tree cookies WWW 2017 (Kate Wilcox)

Kestrel shown at Squam Lakes Wildlife Workshop WWW 2017 (Kate Wilcox)

16th Annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival Features Fun for the Whole Family

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH  03887
(603) 473-2020
info@mmrg.info

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date submitted:  July 19, 2018

16th Annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival Features Fun for the Whole Family                                                                                                                      

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways’ 16th Annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival will take place on Saturday, August 11 from 10 am to 3 pm at Branch Hill Farm, 307 Applebee Road, Milton Mills, NH. This day-long celebration of the great outdoors regularly attracts more than 600 participants who make the most of this chance for families to have fun, explore and learn about the natural world together.

MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren is excited about some new festival offerings this year. “I’m looking forward to hearing storyteller Anne Jennison, with her Native American tales of the natural world. And I can’t wait to sample some fresh local produce and pick up some recipes from Seacoast Eat Local! They also stock a bus full of information about local agriculture, the economy and the environment which will be part of our new Steps to Sustainability. Follow the carbon footprints to discover ways to reduce your impact on our local and global environments.”

The Festival offers many fun learning experiences for children. In Nature’s Playground, kids swing on a rope, jump between log stumps, climb on a treehouse, walk along a fallen log and find something new to play on each year. Children use a crosscut saw to cut a thin slice of a pine log, then decorate it in Tree Cookies/Kids’ Craft Corner.  Families test their observational skills to discover hidden treasures in the woods in the Kids Discover the Forest event. Build a Bee House provides materials and instruction for kids to make a house for native bees, using hollow plant stems, clay, and plant pots.

Animal and wildlife lovers have several opportunities to get up close and personal with a variety of creatures. Families observe and learn about rescued wildlife brought by Squam Lakes Natural Science Center; children use dip nets to look at creatures of the Salmon Falls River or borrow a pole and bait from NH Fish & Game to catch a fish from the farm pond. There are barnyard animals brought by 4H, Mitchell Logging draft horses to watch scooting logs, and animal pelts to touch in the Mountain Man’s Mansion.

Two different Hayrides run all day, giving everyone a choice and chance to ride. A Guided Family Forest Walk takes families on trails through the woods. The Permaculture Garden has meandering paths among raised beds of organic vegetables and is part of the Steps to Sustainability, as is Here Comes the Sun, a demonstration of solar panels by ReVision energy. Volunteers from the NH Farm Museum and local craftsmen and orchardists demonstrate traditional rural skills. The Moose Mountaineers will be back with their toe-tapping tunes on guitar and fiddle.

The festival takes place rain or shine. Homemade salads, desserts, hot grilled food, and cold smoothies will be on sale along with T-shirts and raffle baskets of local fresh produce and other items. Rest rooms and most events are wheelchair accessible. No pets, please. The cost is $5/person or $10/family and free to ages 12 and under and to MMRG members; all events are included in the admission price. For more information and a program of events, visit www.mmrg.info/festival.

Festival proceeds and business sponsorships support MMRG’s land conservation and educational outreach mission. MMRG is grateful to its festival underwriters, Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust, D. F. Richard Energy, and the Siemon Company, and would like to thank the following major sponsors:, the Hays-Dombrower Families, Norman Vetter Inc. Poured Foundations, Bruce and Jennifer Rich, S&S Plumbing and Heating LLC, Carl and Beth Ann Siemon, Hank and Junko Siemon, and the Wyatt Family.

Thanks also go to many more business, organizational, and individual sponsors and supporters and to the dedicated volunteers who have already signed up to help out. More volunteers are needed; please call Education Coordinator Kari Lygren at 603-978-7125 or email info@mmrg.info. Business sponsorships of festival events are still available; information is on a link from the festival webpage listed above.

Moose Mountains Regional Greenway is a non-profit land trust serving Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro (see www.mmrg.info). Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust is a private operating foundation (see www.branchhillfarm.org).

 

crowds in front of barn (David O’Connor)

Hayride (David O’Connor)

Acadia

Acadia

Planting a Pollinator Garden…Not So Hard!!

As part of Branch Hill Farm’s field management plan, we installed our first pollinator garden last year and have been enjoying the colorful blooms all spring.  We plan to install many more pollinator gardens along the edges of our fields to attract and sustain pollinators. Pollinators are critical in assisting 80% of the world’s flowering plants in their reproduction and include species of ants, bats, bees, beetles, birds, butterflies, flies, moths, and wasps.  Without pollinators to fertilize many of our fruits and vegetables, people and wildlife would not have much eat, and we would be deprived of the flowering plants’ beauty and fragrance.

Here are the tips we received from UNH Cooperative Extension to install a pollinator garden:  Cover a manageable area (18’ by 20’) with heavy duty black plastic in the early spring. (Save the plastic for your next garden.) The plastic kills the grass and the heat of the sun kills most of the seeds.  Remove the plastic in late September and rake up the dead grass and rough up the soil. UNHCE recommended using a mix of native perennial wildflowers and grasses. I planted ¼ lb. of the Bee Feed Mix from Johnny’s Selected Seeds and ¼ lb. of All Perennial Wildflower Seed Mix from Vermont Wildflower Farm and mixed them with ½ lb. of native grasses recommended by UNHCE.  After spreading the seed, we covered with straw mulch and watered when dry.

The picture is worth a thousand words. Visit Branch Hill Farm for the WWW Festival on August 11th and learn firsthand from UNHCE professionals about pollinator gardens and many things pertaining to New England woods, wildlife and water.

Cynthia Wyatt

Manager of Branch Hill Farm and MMRG Board Member

 

UNH Cooperative Extension Forestry and Wildlife Program Visits BHF

UNH Cooperative Extension Forestry and Wildlife Program published this post to their Facebook page:

At our staff meeting last week, the Forestry & Wildlife staff visited Branch Hill Farm in Milton with Charlie Moreno, the forester for this piece of the property. Charlie told us that historically this site was heavily cut, and repeatedly. What he found when he started working on the property almost 10 years ago was a lack of diversity. Beech had overtaken much of the understory. He’s been working since to bring back more pine, oak and other species. Beech is great for wildlife, but more diversity of food options is better!

 

Charlie describes the property and the work that’s been done so far.

Some pine saplings were planted, while others have naturally regenerated.

Can you find all the foresters in this thicket of beech?

Charlie and a sugar maple

Paddlers invited to annual Branch River Paddle with Moose Mountains Regional Greenways on May 26

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH 03887
603-473-2020
info@mmrg.info

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: May 8, 2017

Paddlers invited to annual Branch River Paddle with Moose Mountains Regional Greenways on May 26

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust (BHF/CSFCT) are teaming up once again to offer canoe and kayak enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy a group paddle of the pristine Branch River in Milton Mills, NH. The event will take place 10 am – 2 pm on Saturday, May 26. It features a 4-mile scenic trip along the conserved banks of the Branch River to the upper end of Milton Three Ponds. Participants and their boats will be transported back to the launch site, where a picnic lunch by Chef Gracie will be provided.

Colin Lawson of Trout Unlimited (TU) will be this year’s guest presenter. Lawson has a Masters in Environmental Science from Antioch New England University and works as the New England Culvert Project Coordinator for TU. His focus is to reconnect Eastern brook trout habitat in priority New England watersheds through the retrofitting or removal of currently impassable road stream crossings and other instream barriers. At the Paddle, Lawson will talk about fish habitats and the process of reconnecting streams such as the Branch and Salmon Falls Rivers so fish can access upstream cold waters and places to spawn. He’ll also address the vulnerability of undersized dams and culverts during so-called ‘100-year’ storms and the consequences of the resulting floods.

Paddle stops along the way give paddlers a chance to learn more about and appreciate these environs. In particular, the lush wetland area near the confluence of the Branch and Salmon Falls Rivers is a prime birdwatching spot for riparian species. Paddlers are encouraged to bring binoculars to enjoy possible sightings of kingfishers, yellow warblers, Baltimore orioles, osprey and more.

Paddlers should bring their own kayaks or canoes and wear US Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices. Children should be 12 years or older and accompanied by an adult. This event is extremely popular and spaces are limited, so early registration is advised. All reservations must be made by the morning of Thursday, May 24; contact MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren at 603-978-7125 or info@mmrg.info with your name, phone number, and the number of people who will attend. A $15 per person donation is suggested and may be made at the event or online at MMRG’s website, www.mmrg.info. There is no rain date and participants are requested to leave pets at home.

MMRG, a non-profit land trust, works to conserve and connect important water resources, farm and forest lands, wildlife habitats, and recreational land in Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro. Throughout the year, MMRG offers many educational opportunities to inform all ages about the benefits of our region’s natural resources. Branch Hill Farm/CSFCT is a private operating foundation whose mission is to conserve land, produce quality timber products, and educate people about sound forestry practices and conservation. For more information, visit www.branchhillfarm.org. MMRG would like to thank the business co-sponsor of this event, M&M Boat Storage in Wakefield.

 

Kate Wilcox Branch River-38

Colin Lawson

Jared Kane demonstrates grafting techniques to MMRG’s Grafting Workshop participants in the barn at Branch Hill Farm.(Kari Lygren)

 

Apple Tree Grafting Workshop Attracts Loads of Apple Lovers

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH  03887
603-473-2020
info@mmrg.info

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: 4/19/2018

 Apple Tree Grafting Workshop Attracts Loads of Apple Lovers

The recent first-ever Apple Tree Grafting Workshop offered by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) was record-breaking in its popularity. With hands-on participants capped at twenty, the registration list filled up a month early, and another forty were on a waiting list hoping to come and learn to graft their own tree, ten of whom decided to attend just the introductory slide presentations on pruning and grafting. The class was hosted and co-sponsored by Branch Hill Farm and taught by Jared Kane, owner of Jug Hill Orchards in Milton Mills.

Kane, who grows cider specific apples and has won national awards for his hard cider, is knowledgeable about all things related to apple trees and apples. Jill Vendituoli, a workshop participant from West Newfield, ME and an apple cider enthusiast, and was thrilled to attend and learn from Kane. An experienced orchardist herself with 35 apple trees, she thought Kane provided lots of good information about how to bring back an old neglected orchard. After the workshop, she fluently summed up the basic principles of pruning. “The whole idea is to let light into the trees and keep air flowing. Jared told us an old saying as a rule of thumb, ‘You want to be able to throw a cat through the branches.’ So don’t be afraid to prune, but don’t take off more than 30% at a time.”

Vendituoli was particularly interested in getting a refresher on grafting, the focus of the second half of the workshop. Participants were given a root stock of a variety of Russian apple tree, which is very hardy and can withstand the cold NH climate, and were offered a scion (a branch that gets grafted onto the rootstock) taken from an old local heirloom apple. Most people learned the tongue and whip technique of grafting, done on scions of the same diameter branch as the root stock stem, matching up the cambium along one edge.

Mikel O’Brien of Union, NH learned to graft her own small tree, which is now in her basement. Although grafted trees may become sturdier and more disease resistant than native trees, newly-grafted trees are quite fragile for about a year. O’Brien recited the care her new tree will take. After 2 weeks of ‘nursery time’ in the basement, she’ll put it in a semi-shady spot and keep it watered, buy a crabapple tree to pollinate it, and plant them both next fall, being sure to protect them from nibbling creatures over the winter. She quipped, “I feel like I’m having a baby! Right now it just look like a stick wrapped with tape in a pot. But I’m optimistic that it’ll become a real tree. And the workshop was fun! I’d like to have a reunion next year to see how everyone’s trees are doing.”

MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren was equally enthusiastic. “The workshop was phenomenal and we’re delighted there’s so much local interest in apple trees. MMRG supports local agriculture so given the popularity of this workshop, a repeat next year sounds like an excellent idea.”

MMRG, a non-profit land trust, works to conserve and connect important water resources, farm and forest lands, wildlife habitats, and recreational land. For more information and a calendar of upcoming events, visit www.mmrg.info.  Branch Hill Farm/the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust works to protect open space and working forests and to educate the public about sound forestry, conservation and agricultural practices; see www.branchillfarm.org.

 

MMRG workshop participants work on grafting their own small apple tree (Sharon Buttirck)

MMRG workshop participants examine a scion to graft to root stock (Amy Gardner)

Jug Hill Cider Orchard owner Jared Kane presents information on grafting and pruning apple trees to workshop attendees in the barn at Branch Hill farm. (Kari Lygren)

 

MMRG’s Apple Tree Grafting Workshop set for April 14

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH 03887
603-473-2020
info@mmrg.info

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 3/20/2018

MMRG’s Apple Tree Grafting Workshop set for April 14

On Saturday, April 14, Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust will offer an apple tree grafting class from 10 am to 12 pm at the barn at Branch Hill Farm, 307 Applebee Road in Milton Mills. The class will be taught by Jared Kane, owner of Jug Hill Orchards, and will take place rain or shine.

Jared Kane started his own cider specific apple orchard in Milton Mills and has won national awards for his hard cider. For this workshop, Kane will teach the art of grafting apple trees and the basics of pruning and care. The workshop will include an introductory slide presentation as well as hands-on training. By the end of the class, each person will have completed grafting their own small apple tree to take home in a pot, with a scion collected from an heirloom tree that bears excellent apples for fresh eating or cider. If time and weather permit, the class will take a short walk to see some wild apple trees growing at Branch Hill Farm.

The workshop cost is $10 to cover supplies. Pre-registration is required by April 11 and earlier registration is advised since class size is limited to twenty. To pre-register, call MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren at (603) 978-7125 or email info@mmrg.info.

MMRG, a non-profit land trust, works to conserve and connect important water resources, farm and forest lands, wildlife habitats, and recreational land in Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro. Throughout the year, MMRG offers many educational opportunities to inform all ages about the benefits of our region’s natural resources. For more information and a calendar of upcoming events, visit www.mmrg.info. Branch Hill Farm/the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust works to protect open space and working forests and to educate the public about sound forestry, conservation and agricultural practices; see www.branchillfarm.org.

Jared Kane at favorite apple tree

‘Little Trackers’ Offered Fun and Learning for Families

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH 03887
603-473-2020
info@mmrg.info

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 2/27/2018

‘Little Trackers’ Offered Fun and Learning for Families

Kids love to learn about animals and they love to have fun in the snow. They got to do both at the recent ‘Little Trackers’ outing sponsored by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust. This event was the second in MMRG’s new ‘MOOSE-ies for Families’ program of activities that creates opportunities for families to enjoy the outdoors together while learning about nature, in order to foster future generations of conservationists.

Coverts volunteers Emily Lord of UNH Cooperative Extension and Middleton Pastor Tom Gardner planned a variety of activities to keep kids interested and having fun as they explored the snowy field and woods at Branch Hill Farm in Milton Mills. Kids went sledding, tried out walking in snowshoes, and crowded around the leaders as they pointed out signs of wildlife on a trail leading down to the river.

Turkey tracks, coyote tracks, and possible skunk and fox tracks were all discovered. Kids learned to compare the tracks in the snow to the footprints pictured on tracking ID cards that were handed out. They also learned that wildlife scat, better known as ‘poop’, could be examined (poked at with a stick) to find out what the animal had been eating and identify the creature that left it. Coyotes, for example, often eat small rodents and leave scat filled with bones and fur on top of a rock or in the middle of a trail to mark their territory.

At the edge of the woods, kids stood still and listened intently after Emily Lord whispered for quiet. Upon the approach from field to forest, she had started to hear sounds of birds and wanted the children to notice them. Among the bird songs, the ‘dee-dee-dee’ call of Chickadees was familiar and successfully identified by one young participant.

Tom Gardner delighted kids with his ‘discovery’ of a pile of pretend deer poop (planted in advance) consisting of raisinets that looked uncannily like the real thing. After clear instructions that they should never eat real deer scat, kids followed Gardner’s lead and happily popped some into their mouths.

At the end of the outing, almost-4-year-old Caleb, son of Tom and Amy Gardner, proclaimed “I like coming here.” When asked what he saw, he remembered the turkey tracks and pointed them out on his tracking card.

An East Wakefield family of five were newcomers to the ‘MOOSE-ies for Families’ program. The mother of three was enthusiastic, saying, “I’m always looking for family activities and I was happy to find these events. My 6-year-old twins really liked snowshoeing; it was a great chance for them to try it out today with the loaner snowshoes.”

‘MOOSE-ies for Families’ stands for Members Only Outdoor and Social Events for Families and the program of six ‘MOOSE-ies for Families’ activities per year is free for MMRG members. Membership is $25 per household per year. Other 2018 upcoming events are: ‘Ponding with Sally Cornwell’ on May 19, ‘Rail Trail Scavenger Hunt’ on June 23, the 16th annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival on August 11, and ‘Family Moonlight Walk’ on September 22. Scholarships are available; call Executive Director Patti Connaughton-Burns at (603) 473-2020 to inquire.

MMRG is a non-profit land trust educational outreach organization; see www.mmrg.info. Branch Hill Farm/the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust works to protect open space and working forests and to educate the public about sound forestry, conservation and agricultural practices; see www.branchillfarm.org.

 

Sledding on hill 3

Chocolate coated rasins pretend deer poop

Discovery on the trail (Amy gardner)

Looking at poop

Looking at tracks

 

‘Little Trackers’ Family Snowshoe Activity set for February 24

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH  03887
603-473-2020
info@mmrg.info

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: 2/1/2018

‘Little Trackers’ Family Snowshoe Activity set for February 24

On Saturday, February 24, Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust will offer a kids’ snowshoe tracking activity as part of MMRG’s new program of nature-oriented events for families called ‘MOOSE-ies for Families’. ‘Little Trackers’ will take place at Branch Hill Farm in Milton Mills with leaders Emily Lord of UNH Cooperative Extension and Middleton Pastor Tom Gardner and help from MMRG staff and volunteers.

Emily Lord is Stewardship Outreach Coordinator for UNH Cooperative Extension and a member of MMRG’s Board of Directors. Her passion for wildlife tracking began as a winter camp counselor for Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center in Laconia.

In addition to serving as Pastor at Middleton Gospel Chapel, Tom Gardner teaches the Middleton Nature Club after-school program. He captivated children and adults alike at MMRG’s Family Bonfire Storytime event last October with his stories of real-life strange and creepy organisms. Both Lord and Gardner trained as NH Coverts Project volunteers and serve on MMRG’s Education Outreach Committee, which designed MMRG’s new MOOSE-ies for Families program.

MOOSE-ies for Families creates opportunities for families to have fun together outdoors while learning about nature, in order to foster future generations of conservationists. Anticipating the upcoming event, Pastor Tom said, “Little Trackers is a chance to introduce kids to the animals that share our community and show them how to read the signs and stories that wildlife leave behind, like footprints, food, and much more.” Emily Lord added, “The first MOOSE-ies for Families event was so much fun, we’re really looking forward to this next one!”

The event is planned for 10 – 11:30 am on February 24. Although it is designed as a snowshoe activity while looking for tracks in the snow, trip leaders confirm it will take place even if snow is scarce. In case of rain, however, it will be postponed to Sunday, February 25, 1 – 2:30 pm.  Children of all ages are welcome with their families and loaner snowshoes for both kids and adults will be available. The outing is free for MMRG member families (see below) but pre-registration is required. For more information, directions, and to pre-register, call MMRG’s Education Coordinator Kari Lygren at (603) 978-7125 or email info@mmrg.info.

‘MOOSE-ies for Families’ stands for Members Only Outdoor and Social Events for Families and the program of six ‘MOOSE-ies for Families’ activities per year is free for MMRG members. For interested families who are not current MMRG members, the requirement is fulfilled with a minimum of $25 per household per year membership donation. Other 2018 upcoming events are: ‘Ponding with Sally Cornwell’ on May 19, ‘Rail Trail Scavenger Hunt’ on June 23,   the 16th annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival on August 11, and ‘Family Moonlight Walk’ on September 22. If the membership fee is a financial burden, families may inquire of Executive Director Patti Connaughton-Burns about available scholarships by calling (603) 473-2020.

MMRG, a non-profit land trust, works to conserve and connect important water resources, farm and forest lands, wildlife habitats, and recreational land in Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro. Throughout the year, MMRG offers many educational opportunities to inform all ages about the benefits of our region’s natural resources. For more information and a calendar of upcoming events, visit www.mmrg.info.  Branch Hill Farm/the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust works to protect open space and working forests and to educate the public about sound forestry, conservation and agricultural practices; see www.branchillfarm.org.

MooseMountainsRunAround2018_ELordPhoto-48 MooseMountainsRunAround2018_ELordPhoto-50

Forestry Workshops Inspired Woodlot Owners and Woodworkers

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH  03887
603-473-2020
info@mmrg.info

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 11/22/2017 

Forestry Workshops Inspired Woodlot Owners and Woodworkers

In early November, Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) teamed up with Branch Hill Farm/the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust to offer two forestry workshops led by consulting forester Charlie Moreno. ‘Restoration of a Forest’ and ‘Wood: From Forest to Workbench’ showcased two Branch Hill Farm-owned properties in Milton where Moreno has worked to improve the long term quality of the forest through sustainable forestry practices. The Restoration Workshop was intended for woodlot owners, whereas the Forest to Workbench Workshop was aimed at woodworkers; several enthusiastic participants attended both.

Both workshops covered the economics of forest products — the costs of cutting, trucking and milling (different for hardwoods and softwoods) to prepare the tree products for market, and the potential value of timber from a poor quality stand up through an exceptional quality stand.  For example, high quality hardwood veneer logs can be worth 20 times as much as an equal volume of firewood.    

Participants learned how to size up a tree for its timber value. A high value tree is straight, sound, and limbless, so the boards have no knots.  For white pine, long log lengths are important. Special and valuable hardwood grains, or ‘figure’, such as ‘tiger maple’ or ‘curly maple’ are sometimes revealed after logs are milled into boards. Board footage can be estimated from the measured circumference and height of the tree, with adjustments for defects. The branches and treetop generally yield only low value products such as firewood, pulp, or chipwood.

Sustainable management is key to cultivating a high value timber stand over the long term, and insuring that the forest is regenerated.  A sustainably managed forest will be diverse in tree species and ages, including some mature high quality timber trees to propagate by seed. A forest that has been high-graded (all the best trees removed, sometimes repeatedly) will quickly lose both its timber value and resilience to disease or disturbance but can be coaxed back to health and quality timber with good forestry practices.

In the Jones Brook East forest, which had been severely high-graded before purchase by Branch Hill Farm, American beech had taken over and white pine was nearly absent in large areas. Although beech is valuable for wildlife and is used for lower value wood products such as dowels and firewood, a beech monoculture is unhealthy.  A lack of species diversity reduces forest value for both timber and wildlife habitat. Moreno showed Restoration Workshop attendees several steps being taken to restore this forest, including removal of beech in a biomass harvest, planting of thousands of white pine seedlings supplemented by natural regeneration, and successive forest stand improvement (FSI) treatments to ‘release’ desirable seedlings and saplings by cutting nearby beech. These FSI treatments allow critical light to penetrate through to the wanted young trees and stimulate their growth. If given such a chance, most trees will grow an inch in diameter every year. Experiments are also underway to determine the most effective and cost efficient means to slow beech regeneration by comparing various sapling cutting intervals in several beech thicket plots.

Forest to Workbench participants learned to identify the many hardwood species of trees that are the source of the types of wood they love to work with and to recognize the tree species of milled boards. They also learned about scaling logs and the meticulous process of air drying lumber after milling. Carefully stacked boards and slower air drying is crucial early on.

MMRG member Frank Frazier was one of those attending both workshops. Afterwards, Frank said, “I was very inspired by these workshops. My biggest take-away was the passion Charlie Moreno has to look at the forest and think not just 5 or 20 years but 1,000 years ahead and to start the process of putting the forest back into balance after 300 years of mankind’s heavy hand upon the land. And he gave some great practical info on how to maximize future revenues on the trees you have now, how to manage your woodlands not only for bio-diversity but also for growing trees that can become valuable veneer logs and saw logs down the road.”  

MMRG, a non-profit land trust, works to conserve and connect important water resources, farm and forest lands, wildlife habitats, and recreational land in Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro. Throughout the year, MMRG offers many educational opportunities to inform all ages about the benefits of our region’s natural resources. For more information and a calendar of upcoming events, visit www.mmrg.info.  Branch Hill Farm/the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust works to protect open space and working forests and to educate the public about sound forestry, conservation and agricultural practices; see www.branchillfarm.org.

 

Restoration of a Forest’ workshop attendees posed for a group photo with forester Charlie Moreno (third from left with white cup). Photo by Kari Lygren

Wood From Forest to Workbench’ taught workshop participants how to size up logs for their timber value. Photo by Kari Lygren