On a Saturday morning, women landowners began to arrive at the Hidden Valley Nature Center in Jefferson. After parking, they followed the dirt road to the Nature Center where forestry professionals waited to greet them with coffee, tea, and donuts.
Once all had arrived and gotten their fill of drinks and sweets, Maren Granstrom, forester intern at Mid-Maine Forestry, and Bambi Jones, 2014 Northeast Region Tree Farmer and co-founder of HVNC, introduced participants to the Midcoast Conservancy’s HVNC property and the Women Owning Woodlands project. Then, in round-robin fashion, each woman introduced themselves and described their land. Participants shared their favorite place to sit and spot otters, their favorite project – such as beaver management or maple sugaring, or where they married their husband under a tree.
Following the introductions, a series of guests introduced important land management topics. Allyssa Gregory, district forester with the Maine Forest Service, discussed setting goals for your land. She asked participants, according to a news release, “What are your dreams for your woodland?”
Participants paired up to discuss each other’s properties then shared with the group around their tables. Many women were concerned with wildlife management, legacy planning, and conservation management.
Maggie Mansfield, forester at Two Trees Forestry, then lead the group through a discussion on forest management plans. She also dove into the conversation of taxes and state and local programs for forested lands.
Following a break, Sandy Walczyk, conservation forester at Blue Hill Heritage Trust, then discussed “Timber Harvesting Dos and Don’ts,” as well as “5 Steps to a Successful Timber Harvest.”
Participants were able to sit outside at picnic tables to eat lunch, continuing conversations about their land and getting to know one another better. The speakers sat dispersed throughout the groups to continue answering questions and holding discussions on trees and all related topics.
Feeling refueled, the group took to the woods. Thompson introduced a few important pruning tools she has used on white pine around HVNC and demonstrated their usage. She and Barrie Brusila, forester at Mid-Maine Forestry, have pruned white pine to increase the quality of wood being grown for harvest.
Continuing along the well-maintained trails, the group periodically stopped to discuss what management has been done in different areas, as well as what various practices might look like. The walk ended at a small pond with many turtles basking in the sun on partially submerged logs. Management of water flow, in swiftness and quantity, is a large consideration when creating harvest plans and installing structures such as bridges and culverts. Brusila shared the previous forest management plan for the property with interested participants.
Upon returning to the Nature Center, the women landowners could explore a couple of tables full of resources to take home for continued learning, and a raffle presented four landowners with a copy of “Forest Trees of Maine.”
For more information about forestry at HVNC, go to midcoastconservancy.org.