Passion, portable sawmill, porcupine. These three words come to mind when I think about my recent experience at the Coverts Project. So, you may ask, what is the Coverts Project? It is an extremely valuable 3.5 day program that teaches landowners, land trusts, and passionate individuals about the sound management of forests in Connecticut. For the past two years, CFPA has sponsored and partnered with UCONN extension to help run this wonderful program.
Why those three words to describe my experience?
Passion because it is what I witnessed from start to finish. Upon arrival I was introduced and got to know 25 individuals who gave up their entire weekend to educate themselves about forest management, wildlife habitat creation, and ways to become better stewards of their own land while reaching out to teach others in their communities. I also had the honor of working with many dedicated program organizers and contributors. From Tom Worthley, UCONN Extension Forester, who has been organizing this program for over 20 years and whose passion for teaching forest management shines through in each piece of the program to the various state employees and partners who come up for a day or days to talk about important bird species, share their life-long research, show participants how to use various tools, and offer their time to help each and every participant move forward in a project of their own. Everyone shared this passion for improving forest management and wildlife habitat across the state and that passion is what has made this program such a success since its inception back in 1983.
Portable sawmill because the last day of the program included a demonstration of one and I think it really drives home the point that forest management does not mean that the trees are just marked and removed. They are a renewable resource that when managed correctly can provide useful products while also providing valuable wildlife habitat for a wide diversity of species. Also, let’s face it, who doesn’t love to see big equipment in action? Participants are always mesmerized by the sawmill and love to touch the wood and smell the wonderful aroma of freshly cut lumber.
Porcupine because I woke up early in the morning on the final day just before sunrise, walked out of my cabin, and just about stepped on one. Luckily it ran away to take shelter in a nearby tree and never felt threatened enough to shoot its quills. This reminded me of my place in the environment. We are intruders in their home, need to be respectful of the surrounding environment and ensure that the management we do put in place is beneficial to whatever species that particular environment can support.
For the last 32 years, the Coverts Project has taught and empowered landowners, land trusts, and individuals to improve forest management on their own properties and within their communities. It has also built a strong community of individuals who have done outreach to their neighbors, school groups, and the public. Thousands of people have been touched and will be touched by this wonderful program, I know I have been!