Maine Timber Research & Environmental Education’s (Maine TREE) first public online course connected over 50 teachers, land trust staff, and family landowners with an overview of Maine’s forest community. This virtual program, called “Window to the Woods,” was Maine TREE’s substitute for the ever-popular Forest of Maine’s Teachers’ Tours, which was postponed due to on-going concerns around COVID-19.
The six-session course covered a wide array of topics about Maine’s forests. Topics included woodland ownership, forest management and harvest systems, wood processing, and careers. For each session, participants reviewed related resources, discussed the provided resources in small groups, and then asked guest experts questions. In the final session, participants shared how they plan on using what they learned in the course in their professional or personal lives.
Many fantastic guest experts spoke to the group throughout the course. Retired Maine Forest Service biometrician joined the first session to walk participants through a Project Learning Tree Activity called, “If You Were the Boss.” Drs. Bob Seymour and Jessica Leahy, Professor Emeritus and Professor, respectively at the University of Maine School of Forest Resources and 2020 Maine Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year, joined the group to discuss woodland ownership.
Maine TREE board members Barrie Brusila, licensed forester for Mid-Maine Forestry, and Will Cole, Certified Logging Professional for Tree’s Ltd, partnered together to discuss forest management harvest systems found in the Maine woods. Jim Robbins, President (retired) and former owner of Robbins Lumber in Searsmont, spoke about wood processing, among many other topics in the Maine Woods. Finally, Molly London, a licensed forester for William W. London & Son, shared her story about finding a career in Maine’s forestry community.
Window to the Woods would not have been possible without the dedication of Maine TREE’s staff and contractors, as well as their vast network of volunteer facilitators. Volunteers dedicated over 100 hours to the program as facilitators for small group discussions.
Thanks to the success of the first course, Maine TREE is now exploring opportunities to continue offering Window to the Woods virtual programming. To express interest in participating in a future class or if you have ideas for individual sessions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.