Students Visit the Northern Hardwoods During the Fall Forestry Field Trip 

The 2022 fall forestry field trip visited forest and agricultural lands in Vermont in October 2022. Photo courtesy of Philipp Hoehme, visiting TUM student. 
January 9, 2023

For the third week of October, master’s and PhD students headed to the regenerative farms and northern hardwood forests of Vermont for the 2022 fall forestry field trip. This year’s trip centered on land use, both forestry and agricultural, and the people who tend these lands. 

The Smokey House Center served as a homebase for the field trip. Curtis Rand ‘80 MF serves on the Smokey House’s board and serves as their consulting forester, providing a warm welcome to our students to spend time on the landscape. Additionally, Yale Forest Fellow on Agroforestry Walker Cammack ‘22 MF will lead Smokey House Center’s maple and agroforestry program starting in May, at a time when Smokey House is kick-starting a substantial sugarbush and maple syrup operation. With these alumni connections, the Smokey House Center and The Forest School collaborated on this trip where students stayed at the camp on the center’s land in Danbury, VT. 

The first days of the trip focused on Smokey House’s programming and land, where they are turning their attention toward leasing agricultural land to small farmers who are dedicated to sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices. Smokey House is utilizing an equity leasing structure and fostering learning and sustainable land use.

Students visit the Dorcet Peak regenerative cattle farm on October 20, 2022, where the farm is being transitioned from cattle to sheep. Photo courtesy of Philipp Hoehme, visiting TUM student.

While here, students toured farms—from vegetables to apples to regenerative livestock—and shared meals from harvests with the farmers and stewards themselves. They also toured a forest under active management to discuss silviculture of northern hardwood forests. 

From there, the group traveled to Pittsfield, VT to visit Gagnon Lumber, small family-owned FSC-certified saw mill—the exact mill that processed the red oak harvested from Yale Forests to build Kroon Hall.  

Chittenden County Forester Ethan Tapper (center left) and UVM Forest Manager Jess Wikle ‘18 MFS (center right) host students in the Catamount Community Forest to discuss forest management in northern hardwoods on October 21, 2022. Photo courtesy of Philipp Hoehme, visiting TUM student. 

Further north at the Catamount Community Forest, the group then met with recent alum Jess Wikle ‘18 MFS and Chittenden County Forester Ethan Tapper to learn about a town—rather than individually owned—forest. Wikle, UVM PhD candidate in silviculture and applied forest ecology, also provided a tour of University of Vermont’s Jericho Research Forest where she is the forest manager. The tour also included rich discussions on manging forests for ‘old-growth’ ecological characteristics and mixed use recreation, with strong relationships with the mountain biking community.

Students examine the bark of black gum while visiting an “old growth” forest in Vernon, VT on October 22, 2022. Photo courtesy of Alma Trujillo, PhD student.  

The field trip rounded out with a seasonally timed tour of an heirloom apple orchard and a visit to an “old growth” black gum swamp in Vernon.

Twelve students attended the forestry fall field trip, with exceptional support from Emma Broderick ‘23 MBA/MF, Walker Cammack ‘22 MF, Forest Manager Matt Valido ‘21 MF, and Katie Michaels ‘23 MESc/MBA. Director of Forest and Agricultural Operation Joe Orefice led the field trip and gave lectures on maple syrup and silviculture.