People love Vermont for its distinctive landscape. The patchwork
of mountains and river valleys, camps and villages, farms and
forests, speaks to a love of nature, community, and self-reliance.
That we value these things is clearly visible in our support of
farming, but the value of working forests remains a mystery to
many. Key organizations want to change that.
Today, the loss of family dairy farms is being paralleled by the
closing of sawmills and a decline in forest-based enterprises.
Forestland that has, for years, been managed for sawlogs and fuel,
is today going unmanaged, or worse, being parcelized and developed
in a way that undermines the look and feel of Vermont. It will be
up to the next generation of forestland owners, and citizens, and
voters, to continue, or reverse, this trend.
Vermonters can, through good forestry, protect the ecological
integrity of our forests while harvesting wood in a sustainable
way, at the same time maintaining the working landscape and rural
culture of the state. Or we can watch it slip away.
In light of this reality, the Vermont Woodlands Association
partnered with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and
Recreation, the French Foundation and Northern Woodlands magazine
to sponsor an essay contest for high school students.
The question addressed by entrants was, "As the next generation
of forest stewards, we would like you to tell us, in 600 words or
less, why working forests in Vermont are important and how they
contribute to the quality of life of all Vermonters."
Organizers were both overwhelmed and heartened by the response,
receiving more than sixty essays from students around the state.
The team of judges read every essay, often several times, and
finally selected the top three entries.
. Kia Amirkiaee from Woodstock Union High
. Ben Dillner from North Country Union High
. Nicholas Sweet from Rutland High School
The three students who placed first, second, and third will each
receive cash prizes to be awarded at the VT Woodlands Association
annual meeting on April 6, VTC in Randolph. The winning essay by
Kia Amirkiaee will appear in the Northern Woodlands Magazine spring
2013 edition. To read the winning essays please visit
VWA and its co-sponsors would like to thank everyone who
participated. "We are very fortunate to have such good land
stewards in our next generation," state the partnering