Dear Network Friends,

We’re back! March is here, with all the madness that only a 21st century pandemic can bring. While there really is light at the end of the COVID tunnel, I know we’re all getting weary of a socially-distanced life. Hang in there – spring is almost upon us and vaccinations are coming in fast!

But spring also means major action in the woods. With temps rising into the 40s and 50s this week, we figured it was time for a maple sugar fix with this feature on a Vermont maple producer who mixes sustainable forestry with amazing taste. Check out their story here.

Heating season is definitely not over, and drying season is 365 days per year at Allard Lumber in Brattleboro, so they decided to combine these two energy-intensive jobs into one energy-efficient process with a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system that uses their sawmill residue to provide heat and power their kilns. Learn more about Allard's local, renewable CHP system here.

In the absence of in-person meetings, the Vermont Forest Industry Network has been plugging away on two projects we will bring to fruition this spring: the first is a Forest Economy Career Pathways Guide that showcases the variety of careers with wood that can be found in and around Vermont. As soon as it’s ready, we’ll share it with you all, and get it into the hands of students, parents, and guidance counselors around Vermont.

The second project is helping Northern Vermont University and Do North Co-Working in Lyndonville develop a business plan for an exciting new forest products business accelerator program they are developing. We’re tapping the great minds in forestry in our region and beyond to discover how a forest economy-specific business accelerator program can best meet the needs of our industry. If you have thoughts on this, send me an email!

Finally, the Vermont Forest Products Association is conducting a survey of members and non-members in the forest products industry to help them plan for the future. They are seeking feedback and ideas from industry members. Please click here to take the survey. The deadline to complete the survey is March 31.

And if you haven’t done it already, go dig out your muck boots, because Mud Season is coming.

Stay safe out there,