Learn about Vermont’s working forests at Thursday’s panel

MIDDLEBURY — “Vermont’s Working Forests: Challenges and Opportunities” will be the topic of a panel discussion at the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury on Thursday, Nov. 19, from 5:30-7 p.m.
The discussion complements the documentary, “Portrait of a Forest: Men and Machine,” which is now on exhibit at the center. The exhibit, which combines 70 contemporary and historical photographs with commentary by the logging and forest products community, will run through Jan. 9.
Panelists include Michael Snyder, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation; Paul Costello, executive director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development; Jamey Fidel, general counsel and director of the forest and wildlife program at the Vermont Natural Resources Council; David Brynn, founder of Vermont Family Forests; and Tom Yager, head forester at A. Johnson Co. in Bristol, one of thestate’s largest mills.
“This panel brings together some of Vermont’s most thoughtful observers on the economic, social and environmental role of the state’s working forests,” said Gregory Sharrow, co-director of the VFC.
“Vermont is enviably blessed with a high-value hardwood forest, but we also face a daunting list of challenges from forest fragmentation to loss of infrastructure to global competition,” Sharrow added.
“Forests, from recreational use to logging, are a billion-dollar-plus industry and the state’s largest manufacturing employer,” George Bellerose, the exhibit photo-documentarian, noted.“Forestry has shaped Vermont since settlers first cleared the land. How Vermont will look in the future will continue to be shaped by those who work the land.”
The discussion is free and open to the public. Middlebury Community Television will tape the proceeding and make it available to organizations interested in the future of Vermont’s forests.
The discussion will be held at the folklife center headquarters at 88 Main St. The exhibit and discussion space are ADA accessible. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. For more information contact Bob Hooker at (802) 388-4964 or [email protected].

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