The Giving Tree

Giving Tree
Nina was busy wrapping her presents!

Here at Vermont Woods Studios we are committed to staying active within the community around us. That is why each year we volunteer and donate as much as possible to organizations local to the Vernon, VT area.

This year, the Vernon Town Clerk’s Office, along with the Vernon Free Library and Vernon Girl Scout Troop #40907 joined forces to organize a “Giving Tree”. The “Giving Tree” was a way for people in the Vernon community to donate gifts and items to those in need. Over 30 individuals in this small Vermont community were identified as in need of assistance this Holiday season.

For each person, an ornament was hung on a tree in the Town Clerk’s Office. On the back of each ornament, a person’s age, gender and items they were most in need of were listed. We mostly saw requests for outdoor winter clothes along with toys, crafts and books for the children. Ages ranged from infants to adults.

Giving Tree
One of the many gifts we wrapped, ready to go!

Our team selected five ornaments from the tree and pledged to get every item listed.  We soon learned the project was so popular that the Town Clerk’s office quickly ran out of ornaments but learned of more families in need and created a second batch of ornaments. So we headed back and picked up two more.

Giving Tree
IT guru, Tristan helped with wrapping presents, too!

Members of the Vermont Woods Studios team donated clothing, toys and books as well as went out shopping to purchase new items. Soon our lunch table was overflowing with gifts. Next came an afternoon spent wrapping and organizing the gifts.

On a bone-chilling Monday (one of few this year) we headed back to the Town Hall where the Town Clerk and local Sheriff’s department helped us unload the gifts. From here we’ll let Santa do the rest!

Giving Tree
Megan (far right) stands in front of The Giving Tree alongside Nancy Gassett and Aina Linquist of the Town Clerk’s office, and Deputy Upton from the Windham County Sheriff’s Office

We were happy to help those in need this holiday season and supply them with New England winter essentials and toys to play with. We were even more happy to hear that the community really came together in a big way to help their fellow neighbors and friends in need.

It’s just another reason why we love the community we’re in and we’re happy to share these moments with all of you!

Giving Tree
A few more wrapped presents ready for The Giving Tree

Already following our Blog? For more info sign up for our e-newsletter

Sign up now

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Vermont Woods Studios Participates in Connecticut River Clean Up

Last updated on August 3rd, 2018 at 11:40 am

VWS volunteered in the Connecticut River Watershed Council’s (CRWC) yearly “Source to Sea” trash cleanup of the Connecticut River. CRWC works to educate, restore and preserve the health of the CT River. The CT River is just a few miles from our Vernon, VT showroom and in only a couple of hours our team collected five full bags of trash! The cleanup has participants collecting trash from as far north as the Canadian border all the way to the mouth of the river in Old Lyme, CT. Great job team and thanks to the CRWC for coordinating the event.

Already following our Blog? For more info sign up for our e-newsletter

Sign up now

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Shedding Light on Vermont’s Forest Industry

Shedding Light on Vermont Forests
Book cover Illustration by Vermont artist Kathleen Kolb. View additional artwork by Kathleen at http://www.kathleenkolb.com

Sustainable Forestry Exhibit Lights Up BMAC

The Brattleboro Museum and Art Center BMAC is currently hosting an innovative new exhibit, showcasing the beauty and value of Vermont’s sustainable working forest.  Local painter, Kathleen Kolb shares her  view of the Green Mountain state’s forest industry through various works of art she’s been creating over the past couple decades.  Kathleen’s artwork is enhanced by poetry and prose contributed by Guilford artist, Verandah Porche.  Verandah interviewed loggers, and their family members.  The resulting stories are rich with emotion expressing the bond these Vermonters have with the forest.

BMAC Schedule of Events

The forestry exhibit started October 2, 2015 and it will run until January 3, 2016.  This Thursday the museum (October 22, Thursday, 7 p.m) is hosting a panel discussion: Turning Local Wood Into Local Good.  I will be joining other representatives of forestry-related businesses in Vermont to discuss the importance of sustainable forests products to Vermont’s economy.   Please stop by and join us for a lively discussion!

 

Already following our Blog? For more info sign up for our e-newsletter

Sign up now

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

VWS Sponsors an Aquatic Field Trip for Vernon Elementary School

Vernon Elementary School Students: Future Scientists of America?

We are so happy to have sponsored BEEC’s Aquatic Field Trip, where Vernon Elementary School students got the opportunity to explore a pond ecosystem and observe a variety of aquatic organisms. They studied the life cycles and food webs of these insects and amphibians, explored the ponds, and kept field notes on their findings. The students caught, identified, and shared their discoveries with the class! We think we have some brilliant scientists and biologists in the making!

DSC04593Students were eagerly identifying different creatures they caught, and were excited to share their findings with their classmates. 

 

DSC04619

DSC04632They worked alongside each other and collaborated on how to best catch the creatures without harming them!

 

 

DSC04657Peggy got an up close look at a water bug that was discovered by one of the aquatic explorers. 

 

 

DSC04664

 

DSC04651Students took detailed field notes on their discoveries and sightings at the pond. 

 

DSC04667

DSC04675Teachers and students were excited to share the bugs they found with us. 

 

DSC04689Can you spot the water snake? It was the talk of the trip!

 

We’d like to thank BEEC for organizing this great trip and giving kids the opportunity to get outside and learn about the environment hands on. To learn more about them and their mission, visit their website

 

 

Already following our Blog? For more info sign up for our e-newsletter

Sign up now

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

VWS Donates Christmas Gifts to Local Girls Home

Last updated on August 3rd, 2018 at 11:45 am

The Vermont Woods Studios team donated Christmas gifts to a local NFI home for disadvantaged girls. The gifts included movies, video games, journals, markers, and board games. NFI Vermont works to create safe and supportive treatment programs for children, who struggle with severe emotional problems.

Already following our Blog? For more info sign up for our e-newsletter

Sign up now

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Vermont’s Monarch Butterflies: Help Bring Them Back!

Last updated on April 20th, 2016 at 10:19 am

Monarch Butterflies in Vermont

Click on the National Geographic video above to learn about the amazing 2000 mile annual migration of the Monarch butterfly. 

Vermonters over 10 years old will remember the colorful Monarch butterflies that used to grace our fields and backyards every summer and fall.  But unfortunately, many young children have never even seen a Monarch.  What a shame!  I remember when Kendall and Riley were in grammar school we used to bring their entire class to a field across from the school playground and every child would find a Monarch caterpillar to watch as it went through metamorphosis (the inset above shows Kendall with a Monarch that has just emerged from it’s chrysalis and is waiting for it’s wings to dry before it’s first flight).  That was only 10 years ago and now there’s nary a Monarch to be found in all of Vermont.

Could Vermont’s state butterfly be heading toward extinction?

Recently a legal petition was filed seeking Endangered Species Act protection for monarch butterflies.  “Monarchs are in a deadly free fall.  The 90 percent drop in the monarch’s population is a loss so staggering that in human-population terms it would be like losing every living person in the United States except those in Florida and Ohio” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Milkweed: The Monarch’s Elixir of Life

Plant Milkweed for the Monarchs
Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed and it is the only plant on which the butterflies will lay their eggs. But over the last several years, milkweed has been eradicated by the increased use of herbicides on genetically modified corn and soybean crops (GMO’s).  This is the only field of milkweed I could find in Vernon today.

“Fewer monarch butterflies are crossing North America to winter in Mexico, and the biggest culprit seems to be the disappearance of milkweed in the United States” according to Lindsay N Smith’s recent article in National Geographic.  “Although illegal deforestation and severe weather have contributed to the decline, research… suggests that the overwhelming concern is U.S. farms’ large-scale use of herbicides that destroy milkweed.”

It’s hard to believe that milkweed has nearly disappeared from Vermont’s landscape in just a few short years.   In the Green Mountain State, corn crops are everywhere and along the edges of those fields, we used to find lots of Monarch caterpillars feeding on milkweed.  Not anymore.  The Midwest has lost much of it’s milkweed too, as more land is being planted with (GMO) corn and soy to meet the world’s increasing demands for biofuels.

Monsanto and Round Up

The Monarch’s decline is being driven by the widespread use of genetically engineered crops that are made to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, a uniquely potent killer of milkweed, the monarch caterpillar’s only food. The dramatic surge in Roundup use with Roundup Ready crops has virtually wiped out milkweed plants in corn and soybean fields.

Sean, Douglas, Loryn and Michelle are preparing milkweed seeds to be donated to the seedbank at Monarch Watch.
Sean, Douglas, Loryn and Michelle are preparing milkweed seeds to be donated to the seedbank at Monarch Watch.

Plant Milkweed

Those of us who eat corn or soy (or any of the foods that contain them) can’t very well blame the farmers for milkweed’s eradication. So scientists, conservationists, and butterfly enthusiasts are encouraging road crews and property owners to grow the plant in their own yards, gardens and along roadsides.  Are you up for that?  If you need seeds, visit us at Stonehurst and we’ll give you as many as you’d like.  You can also contact the Monarch Watch Seed Bank where you can donate or request seeds.  Directions for planting milkweed seed can be found at LiveMonarch.com.  Vermonters can support Elizabeth Howard and her Journey North organization by reporting their sightings online.  Together and with a little help from Mother Nature we can bring back the Monarchs!

Let us know your thoughts on Facebook or in the comments section below.

 

Already following our Blog? For more info sign up for our e-newsletter

Sign up now

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Visit the Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS

Last updated on May 4th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS
Before your visit to VINS, check out their calendar of events so you can schedule a critter feeding or raptor show.

I’m not sure how summer slipped away so quickly, but there’s no getting around it… leaf peeping season is upon us!  Thousands of visitors will soon be motoring around the Green Mountain state enjoying the brilliant colors our maple trees are dressing up in.  If you’re one of those lucky leisure travelers be sure to add the Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences VINS in Quechee (near Woodstock) VT to your itinerary.

Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS. Helping nature stay in balance.
In addition to live raptor shows, raptor habitats, nature trails and playgrounds, you’ll find many interesting exhibits like this one on helping nature stay in balance.

I started volunteering at VINS when Kendall and Riley were in the Vernon Elementary School, so over 15 years ago.  They had a wonderful program called ELF (Environmental Learning for the Future) where parents would come into their childrens’ classrooms and give hands-on training using various wildlife artifacts we managed to come up with.

Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS. Wendy runs the beautiful and interesting gift shop at Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS.
Wendy runs the beautiful and interesting gift shop at Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS.

Today the VINS mission is mainly focused on bird conservation: “motivating individuals and communities to care for the environment through education, research, and avian wildlife rehabilitation.”  It’s a “nonprofit, member-supported, environmental education, research and avian rehabilitation organization headquartered at the VINS Nature Center in Quechee, Vermont. Open year-round, the 47-acre campus, adjacent to Quechee State Park, features 17 state-of-the-art raptor enclosures, 4 exhibit spaces, 2 classrooms, and ¾ miles of interpretive nature trails. VINS places a priority on making high-quality, compelling, and fun environmental education programs and learning opportunities accessible to more people and communities.”

Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS. Helping nature stay in balance. How big is an eagle's nest?
Ken and I visited VINS last weekend. For Ken it was a good excuse to get out on his Harley but he also found some cool trails to hike, including this one with a life-size replica of an eagle’s nest.

At Vermont Woods Studios we support VINS through their Adopt a Raptor, citizen science and other environmental programs.  If you’re interested in learning more about VINS, becoming a member or visiting their beautiful Nature Center in Quechee, VT check out their website today!

Already following our Blog? For more info sign up for our e-newsletter

Sign up now

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Vermont’s Make a Wish Needs Your Support

Boys twin bed donated to Make a Wish Vermont
Come bid on this Vermont made pencil post bed that we donated to Make a Wish Vermont. The auction is Saturday, September 20th at World Learning in Brattleboro, starting at 6pm with the Brattleboro Celebrity Waiter Dinner.

September is a big fundraising month for the Vermont chapter of Make A Wish and they’re hoping to get a little help from you.  “We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.”  What could be a better mission than that?  The Make a Wish website shows a couple recent wishes & dreams that have come true, locally:

  • Aaron, a 16-year-old boy suffering from cancer who always dreamed of going to Comic Con in New York City was flown there with his family.  They met celebrities at the show and attended Spiderman on Broadway
  • Lexi, a 15 year old girl, also suffering from cancer was flown to Spa Atlantis in the Bahamas to swim with the dolphins.  “We will always have the great memories and many pictures of the Bahamas, and when she goes back to the hospital next week, she will have all her stories and pictures to show the doctors. Lexi’s trip has re-energized her for what lies ahead.”

At Vermont Woods Studios we’re attending the annual Brattleboro Celebrity Waiter Dinner on September 20 and donating the pencil post bed shown above to the auction that night.  A few details about the dinner and auction:

Come and enjoy a gourmet meal at World Learning served by a team of “celebrity waiters”, including Steve “Corm” Cormier and Dave Manning, Jerry Goldberg and David Brown, Tom Nasiatka and Mary Linney, Gina Pattison and Karen Henry, Stephan Morse and Bob Woodworth, John Benouski and Steve Sweet, Diedre Baker and Laurie Blair, and Jane Baker and Kate O’Connor. Plus Corm will be Master of Ceremonies and co-host the auction. Saturday, September 20th at World Learning in Brattleboro. Beer and wine cash bar at 6pm; dinner served at 7pm. COST: $50 per person (cash or checks only). Proceeds from the dinner as well as any tips earned by the waiters will go toward granting the wishes of Vermont children with life-threatening illnesses. You will also have the opportunity to bid on gift certificates and other items to be auctioned off during the evening. For more info or to RSVP: contact Barb Harris @ 257-7803, e-mail: bharris115@yahoo.com

If you can’t make the dinner, there’s also the Wallace Golf Tournament at the Mount Snow Golf Course which takes place tomorrow, September 12 and the 2014 Walk for Wishes at the Shelburne Museum on Sunday, September 13.  We hope to see you at one of these fun events!

Already following our Blog? For more info sign up for our e-newsletter

Sign up now

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Forest to Furniture: Local Wood = Local Good

Last updated on March 13th, 2019 at 05:40 pm

Our friend Kathleen Wanner of the Vermont Wood Manufacturer’s Association VWMA is fond of the saying, “local wood = local good”.  It captures Vermont’s passion for supporting small, local businesses that emphasize sustainable use of the working landscape: our forests and fields.

Consider for a minute, your impact on local economies when you buy American made furniture versus imported furniture (most furniture in America is imported from Asia).  If, for example you buy Vermont made wood furniture,  you are supporting the local land owner who grew the trees, the forester who manages the land for sustainability, the logger who falls the trees, the sawyer who slices and dices the wood, perhaps a wholesaler (and/or retailer) who inventory the wood, the furniture maker who builds your furniture and (unless you buy directly from the furniture maker) the retail store that sells you the new bedroom set.  That’s why we say “local wood = local good”.

Here’s a typical Forest to Furniture scenario that happens routinely all over Vermont:

A local logging company or tree service harvests the trees.

Chuck Mayotte from Mayotte’s tree service in Guilford looks to find the highest and best use for the trees he removes.  Sometimes trees will be used for firewood, but when Chuck comes across high quality logs or those with special character, he sells them to area furniture makers.

Local sawyers cut the lumber into planks or beams.

Vince Johnson is a local sawyer in Vernon with a portable sawmill that he drives to the woodlot at harvest time.  He sawed black locust and norway spruce logs for us at Stonehurst, our new fine furniture gallery.  They are currently being used to build a deck behind our showroom.

Kerber Mills is another local sawyer with a small mill in Guilford, VT.  Clint Kerber milled the cherry and maple wood for our hardwood floors at the Stonehurst showroom.

Local furniture makers transform the wood into fine furniture.

Check out some of the specialty Forest to Furniture products that have been made by members the prestigious Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers including Richard Bissell of Putney Vermont and David Hurwitz of Randolf, VT.

So… what do you think?  Does the story (and the benefit to local economies) behind local wood furniture add enough value to sway your buying decision?  Or is imported furniture just too darned affordable to pass up? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook!

Already following our Blog? For more info sign up for our e-newsletter

Sign up now

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.