HVNC receives forestry education award

Posted:  Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 8:45am

Midcoast Conservancy is proud to announce that its Hidden Valley Nature Center was recently awarded the Know-Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District 2016 Award for Excellence in Forestry Education. The sustainable forestry program at HVNC is aimed at improving the forest, water quality and wildlife. HVNC’s forestry practices also focus on recreation, education, and conservation.  In 2014, Hidden Valley Nature Center won the prestigious Maine and Regional Outstanding Tree Farm Award.

The forestry program at HVNC begins in the woods with a forest management plan prepared with help from Midmaine Forestry’s Barrie Brusila, an experienced forester serving many private and public landowners. After walking all 1000 acres of the Nature Center, taking notes and measuring the density, health, and diversity of the woods, a strategy is created for what work should be done when, generally on about 15 acres per year. The first step is laying out woods roads that will be future recreational trails, avoiding wet and other sensitive areas and geared toward things that hikers and skiers should find interesting.

Initial work includes thinning out crowded areas, cutting injured and dangerous trees. Each 15 acre area produces about 30 cords of firewood, 20 cords of softwood pulp, and about 6000 board feet of low grade lumber.  Pruning about 500 trees promotes fast growth of high grade lumber by cutting out the worst, and leaving the best.

Midcoast Conservancy maximizes the value of wood cut by selling firewood directly to members, and sawing lumber to supply its timber frame workshops and annual construction of funky picnic tables and benches. The economics are also helped out by annual support from Natural Resources Conservation Services.

A number of forestry courses, including Plant and Mushroom ID, Trail Building, Women and Our Woods, Medicine from the Forest, and Spoon Carving, round out the sustainable forestry program at HVNC. By improving land and water quality, these programs enhance wildlife, improve recreation, build and heat buildings, and more.  Go to www.midcoastconservancy.org/events for more information on upcoming courses, and to register; or call (207) 389-5150 with any questions.