We manage 400 acres of northern hardwood stands and softwood plantations of pine and spruce. These living ecosystems provide lumber, firewood, wildlife habitat, recreational trails, and open-air classrooms for teaching the lessons of ecology, “green forestry” and environmental stewardship.
Our woodlands are Green Certified by the American Tree Farm System. Each year, we harvest 10 to 20 thousand board feet of lumber and 30 cords of firewood. We take great care to minimize forest disturbance, maintain a healthy balance of young and old trees, leave untouched areas for wildlife, and maximize use of the logs. Areas are cut on a 20-year rotation.
- “Character-marked” fine furniture by Beeken/Parsons Woodshop, an independent business in our Farm Barn. “character-marks” = knots, bark or other defects.
- Lumber stockpiled and used for onsite construction projects.
- Lumber for sale to woodworkers. For sales information contact Dana Bishop.
We have nearly 1,500 taps in sugar maples throughout our 15-acre sugarbush, primarily on the west side of Lone Tree Hill. We collect the sap using plastic tubing, as well as in 50 or so metal buckets, which are primarily educational. In 2016 we produced 600 gallons of pure maple syrup, which we sell at our Welcome Center and Farm Store. Proceeds are reinvested into our farm-based education programs for students, families, and educators.
In recent years, we’ve been upgrading our operation, as part of a phased project supported by donors:
- We installed a vacuum pump in 2011, which encourages greater sap flow from the trees.
- We installed a reverse osmosis (RO) machine to process sap more efficiently. (Nearly 90% of Vermont producers currently use RO.) The RO machine removes water to concentrate the sugar in the sap, generally raising the sugar content from 2% to 8%. (Large RO machines can shoot that percentage to higher than 20%.) This cuts down significantly on boiling time, using less fuel.
- In 2015-2016, we constructed a new sugarhouse to support the growth in our sugaring capacity.
Through our school field trips and public programs, we want to authentically represent and educate about today’s Vermont sugaring industry and how climate change might affect its forests. We also want to give students the hands-on learning experiences that we believe in, and we want to honor Vermont’s sugaring traditions.