Wood Crew & Forestry

Trees grow very well in Vermont. In an era of energy uncertainty and increasing concern over the effects of burning fossil fuels, the Mountain School is committed to harvesting timber from its 317-acre woodlot and exposing its students to sustainable forestry practices. Each student spends one afternoon work period per week on a wood crew, in which they become proficient in felling and processing trees with a bow saw and an axe. We use this wood to heat our school buildings, dorms, and dining hall, and also to produce maple syrup in our sugarbush. In other work periods, students spilt, haul, and stack wood, and their chores include stoking our furnaces. Students are an integral element in our effort to minimize our use of fossil fuels and to maximize the capacity of our woodlot to sequester carbon.

The forestry program builds off the Environmental Science curriculum by introducing students to basic principles in forest ecology and succession, carbon sequestration, and the timber economy. In addition to wood crews, students have the opportunity to meet and work with a consulting forester, a horse-logger, an arborist, and a sawyer during the semester. As with the farm program, the forestry program aims to deepen students’ awareness of their own energy consumption and choices, and to offer first-hand experience in producing and managing a carbon-neutral renewable energy source.