We recently had an opportunity to sit down and talk to 10 of Vermont’s Tree Farmers to learn why they became a Tree Farmer and what they value most about the program.
Here are their stories.
Mark and Catie Raishart are the owners of Foxglove Farm in Leicester, VT. Foxglove Farm is a small farm and homestead that combines a working forest with agritourism. Featuring a log cabin which serves as an Air B&B, eggs, maple syrup, handcrafted jewelry and knitted apparel, trails for recreation, and more, the farm welcomes visitors of all kinds each year
Ethan Tapper is the Chittenden County Forester and the owner of Bear Island Tree Farm in Bolton, VT. As the Chittenden County Forester, Ethan also helps manage the Hinesburg Town Forest, a 1,000-acre public forest.
Brendan Whittaker is a tree farmer from Brunswick, VT. Located in the northernmost regions of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, Brendan and his wife, Dorothy, have been managing their tree farm for 60 years.
Gerry Hawkes is a retired forester from Vermont. His property sits on 60 acres, 40 of which are wooded. In the past he managed about 30,000 acres of land for private clients in Vermont as well as serving as a consultant on USAID, World Bank, and United Nations projects in Africa and Asia. He is also an inventor making products that limit air pollution.
The Green Mountain Club
The Green Mountain Club (GMC) works to protect and maintain The Long Trail in Vermont. The Long Trail is the oldest long distances hiking trail in the United States. Spanning 272 miles and following the ridge of the Green Mountains, the trail stretches from the Massachusetts border to the Canadian border. Overall, the goal of the GMC is to make Vermont’s mountains play a larger part in the lives of people, and to promote the stewardship of Vermont’s hiking trails and mountains through stewardship.
The Hinesburg Town Forest
The Hinesburg Town Forest is a public forest located in Hinesburg, VT. The property is 1,125 acres and is stewarded by the Town of Hinesburg Forest Committee. As a public forest, the Hinesburg Town Forest serves the public by providing recreation, education, and a space to connect with nature.
John Buck- Buck Family Maple Farm
John Buck is the owner of a 70 acre woodland property in Washington, VT. John, who is a retired wildlife biologist for the Fish & Wildlife Department, purchased the property in 2012 with the intent of it becoming a place where his family could retreat to, know the woods better, and participate in activities like deer hunting and maple sugar making. He and his family operate Buck Family Maple Farm making pure Vermont maple syrup from 2,000 maple trees on the property. He and his son also operate a small portable sawmill business as well.
Phil and Donna Wheeler
Phil and Donna Wheeler are the owners of Heavenly High Tree Farm, LLC in Sharon, VT. The Wheelers have owned their 150-acre Tree Farm for over 30 years. Phil and Donna said they operate a “different kind of tree farm” growing veneer trees which consists of predominantly maple trees along with some oak trees. Phil does a great deal of what he called “weeding of the forest” pruning individual trees, treating invasive plants he finds, and more.
John and Heather Bingaman
John and Heather Bingaman are the owners of Bingaman Woods, LLC. Bingaman Woods consists of two Tree Farms: #1483 a 72-acre property in Brookfield which the family purchased in 1992, and #1484 a 123-acre property in West Corinth which was bought in 2007. Both properties were first enrolled in the Tree Farm program in 2008.