Great Mountain Forest has been an ever-present entity in my life. I have been lucky enough to have grown up on this land and even luckier to have had the opportunity to participate in its management over the years. From the first woodpile I stacked that, according to Jody, “looked like a box of broken matches,” to the pile of logs turned to lumber that built the new sugarhouse, I have written my own signature on this land.
In the summer of 2010, I participated in this internship under the guidance of Jody Bronson, the head forester, and was able to fully take part in my family’s heritage. As a summer intern I was expected to immerse myself fully in the day-to-day workings of a managed forest. This meant that on an average day I might take the tractor out to grade a piece of road that had been washed out in the last rain storm; take the chainsaw and a pair of loppers to clear a section of trail; eat my lunch under the shade of a large oak tree and swap stories about friends and family mishaps and adventures; find, follow, and mark a boundary line using a map and compass; and finally sweep up the shop, sharpen the chainsaw, and get ready for the next busy day. Jody was always fair and balanced in the delegation of work and he made sure that we knew what we were doing before he left it to us. He is also extraordinarily forgiving of mistakes as long as they lead towards learning.
I graduated from Sterling College in 2013 with a self-designed major in Integrated Land Management. My Senior Applied Research Project was titled Invasive Species Control: Using goats to control the growth and spread of invasive plants. I have been working at High Mowing Organic Seeds since then.
Production Crew Member, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Wolcott VT