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?
Who doesn’t love trees? As a purveyor of natural wood furniture, we are big tree lovers. Not surprisingly, forest conservation is a big part of our mission at Vermont Woods Studios. If we’re going to be providing solid wood furniture for generations into the future, we have to focus on forest conservation today.
This morning I was searching for a tree photo to help us show people how your furniture gets from the forest to your living room. I couldn’t believe how many spectacular tree photos are out there! It’s obvious we’re not the only tree fanatics on this planet.
Pinterest seems to be the keeper of some of the world’s favorite tree photos. The Pinterest “Trees” page contains boards on every tree topic you can think of, from “tree houses” to “roots”, “forests”, “tree life” and “tree tatoos”.
Then there’s another love afair with trees on a site called (pardon me) Tree Porn (somewhat akin to the website Kendall showed me called Food Porn– great food photos and recipes). 40 Nautrally Beautiful Photos of Trees is another web page showcasing amazing tree photos.
OK, now I have to get back to writing a post about how your furniture gets from the forest to your living room. But this was a fun digression.
Since forest conservation is a big part of my mission at Vermont Woods Studios, it’s been a little heart-breaking for me to see some of the 100 year old trees at Stonehurst being taken down. There were a handful that were leaning over the house and garage and Ken insisted that they were a hazard and had to go.
But lucky for me, Vince Johnson of Johnson Custom Milling in Vernon, VT came to the rescue. Vince is milling the trees so we can use them for future phases of construction at Stonehurst, our fine furniture showroom. Here’s a video of his portable sawmill in operation.
Ken and Jeremy Coleman of J Coleman & Company Architects are looking into building a solar kiln to dry the wood so we can use it as soon as possible.
And Dennis has plans to siphon off some of the wood to build bluebird houses, owl boxes and such. It’s turning out to be a fun project after all. Let us know on our Facebook if you have any thoughts or advice for us as we go down this road of renovation at Stonehurst, our future fine furniture showroom. We’ll be posting photos of the transformation and announcing details of our open house as we get closer to completion.
Dennis took this picture of a black cherry tree on his property in New Hampshire. Our cherry wood furniture typically comes from PA though, which has soils and climate more ideally suited to growing black cherry trees.
Heather Barrett mentioned the other day that many customers are coming
to us by way of Google when they're searching for answers to questions
like "where does cherry wood come from"?
At Vermont Woods
Studios we feel it's important to provide detailed information about
where your furniture comes from. We want customers to know that our
wood is all sustainably harvested and that forest conservation is a fundamental part of our mission.
We source as much wood as we can locally, preferably right here in Vermont. Cherry wood
however isn't a big component of the Green Mountain Forest. There are a few
cherry trees here and there across Vermont, but Pennsylvania is really
the Cherry Capitol of the world and that's where we get most of our
cherry wood. It is arguably the finest cherry wood on earth and is
prized for its lovely red color, grain and luster.
Fortunately in 1995 the state of Pennsylvania had the foresight to protect and
preserve a great deal of their cherry wood resources. They committed to
maintaining the state forest system sustainably and began green
certifying it, by the Forest Stewardship Council, FSC.
FSC is considered
the gold standard in third party certifications of forests so we can be
confident that the forests providing our cherry wood will be around to
enjoy for many generations… just like our cherry wood furniture.
140 years after J. Sterling Morton initiated Arbor Day in 1872, the future brings an ever-increasing need to fulfill his mission of planting trees.
So we're celebrating Arbor Day today and honoring trees–the wonder plants of the universe. How about joining us? Here are some ideas for celebrating Arbor Day from The Arbor Day Foundation. If you're not up for anything quite that ambitious, then maybe plant a tree for $1 on our Plant A Billion Trees webpage or just have a look at this beautiful 39 second video about trees and wood.
Or join the Arbor Day Foundation for $10 and get 10 free trees to plant in your yard. Have I convinced you yet? Just in case, I'll leave one final attempt. This one by a professional– poet Alfred Joyce Kilmer:
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Nationally, Arbor Day is celebrated tomorrow on April 27. In Vermont the holiday is the first Friday in May or May 5th this year. And just so you know, our state tree in Vermont is the Sugar Maple. What is yours?
Naturally, as wood furniture makers, we at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture have to be concerned about forest conservation. It's the foundation of our company's viability.
Although our Green Mountain Forests in Vermont are healthy and sustainable we know that, from a global perspective deforestation is the Number 1 environmental problem on our planet today. Deforestation is a huge contributor to global warming, climate change, air pollution (carbon and other emissions from slash and burn practices), habitat loss, biodiversity loss, pollution of marine habitats (due to run-off from pesticides and fertilizers used to transform diverse forests into mono-cultured plantations) and more.
So at Vermont Woods Studios, we are working with The Nature Conservancy in support of their Plant A Billion Trees project. We plant one tree for every order we fulfill and we support many non-profits dedicated to forest conservation.
We appreciate your concern for the environment. When you buy wood furniture from us, you can rest assured that the forest where your furniture began it's life, will still be around for generations to come. As will your furniture!
This Saturday, November 12 Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture Store will be running a fundraiser for The Nature Conservancy's Plant A Billion Trees campaign. 100% of our profits on that day will be donated to The Nature Conservancy.
Forest conservation has always been a fundamental part of our green mission. Although Vermont's forests are among the best managed in the world we realize that globally, deforestation is one of the top environmental problems facing the planet today.
In fact, the world’s tropical rainforests are disappearing at a rate of one football field every second! This deforestation pours carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and contributes more to air pollution and global climate change than exhaust from the entire transportation sector. Hard to believe isn't it? Furthermore, forest animals and plants are being lost at a rate of over 100 species/day due to deforestation.
So, if you're planning a fine furniture purchase or you know someone else who is, please consider buying your furniture this Saturday. Put your purchasing power to work and help us use green commerce to change the world!
During their 20 years of existence, The Arbor Day Foundation has been helping replant our Nation's Forests "to restore their life-giving benefits and awe-inspiring splendor." In fact, we've helped plant over 25 million trees in forests that have been damaged by fire, insects, and disease.
If you love trees like we do here at Vermont Furniture, you might be interested in giving them as gifts for upcoming holidays like Mother's Day and Father's Day. A tree is a thoughtful gift that everybody can enjoy, and it's a gift that will last long into the future. The Arbor Day Foundation has a great gift program where they'll send you a gift tree and planting instructions for only $3 making it easy, painless and fun to plant.
So Happy Arbor Day… don't foget to go outside and enjoy your trees.
We're big tree lovers here at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture. Yes, we rely on them as natural resources for your furniture but also– Vermonters just have a very personal connection to the forest. Stewardship and sustainability are a part of us.
I happened to catch a great show on PBS the other night called Return to the Forest Where We Live. It focused on our country's urban forests and the vital role they play in the economic health of our cities. Would you believe that about 2400 acres/day are being converted from rural to urban land use in America? Joni Mitchell said this decades ago: when you cut down trees to put up parking lots you end up with trouble.
Now we know that among other problems, deforestation increases the temperature of these formerly rural cities by anywhere from five to ten degrees. And that hot temperature really does have a negative impact. It lowers air quality because hot trees are less healthy and unable to scrub the air of CO2 and pollutants effectively.
Loss of trees in cities also causes flooding, erosion, runoff and water pollution.
Scientist can now quantify the economic benefits of trees in urban areas. City planners are seeing the hard financial facts about the role of green spaces in reducing air pollution, erosion, summer temperatures, storm water problems and smog. They are fighting for budgets to increase urban forests and trees and showing the enormous savings associated with the planting and management of trees. In fact, six million trees provide about $64 million worth of benefits every year. Where else are you going to get a better than 10:1 return on investment?
Trees can make a big difference to the quality of lives in urban areas. They modify the microclimate of our environments, they clean our air, they reduce flooding and rainfall runoff, they protect our soil from erosion. They just contribute to the quality of our environment, and the quality of our life in many, many ways.
So anyway, I just loved this Tree show on Louisiana PBS and I'm going to celebrate Earth Day by planting a tree. You can do so too. If it's not easy to plant one yourself, you can have The Nature Conservancy plant one for you. They'll do it for $1/tree as part of their Plant A Billion Trees Campaign.
Earth Day is just around the corner, on April 22. This year is a Big Milestone: the 40th anniversary of Earth Day so I thought you might want to do something special to honor Mother Nature. How about planting a tree?
As makers of wood furniture, we at Vermont Woods Studios are all about tree planting and hugging and such. I love this website, called Trees Are Good. It's run by the International Society of Arboriculture in Champaign, IL. In addition to extolling the many environmental benefits of trees (like moderating climate, improving air quality, conserving water, and harboring wildlife) they also point out virtues like beauty, serenity and tranquility:
"We feel serene, peaceful and restful in a grove of trees. Hospital patients have been shown to recover from surgery more quickly when their room offers a view of trees."
Amazing isn't it?
Trees Are Good has lots of advice on how to plant a tree, what kind of trees to select, care for trees, pruning, feeding, mulching, pest control and much more. Check it out!
Next Thursday, a week from today I hope you'll consider planting a tree in your yard or perhaps in someone else's yard as a gift. Maybe you have someone you'd like to honor or remember with your new tree. Trees make a beautiful and enduring memorial.
Happy Earth Day.