The University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment
and Natural Resources is revolutionizing its forestry program through
the creation of The GREEN FORESTRY Education Initiative.
We are defining and demonstrating a new niche for forestry and forest
conservation education that emphasizes the integration of sustainable
design, land ethics, and real-world learning. Our approach to forest
conservation is guided by Aldo Leopold who stated that “Health
is the capacity of the land for self-renewal. Conservation is our
effort to understand and preserve this capacity.”
Understanding and preserving the capacity of the land for self-renewal
is at the heart of our approach to forest conservation education.
Our approach is built upon a solid foundation of sustainable forestry
principles outlined in The Montreal Process and increasingly recognized
throughout the temperate world. We seek to develop a better understanding
of our relationship to forests by asking “why” and “for
whom” they are conserved. Our approach to forest conservation
education emphasizes the importance of real world experiences for
students and recognizes that the success of forest conservation of
any kind ultimately depends upon functional and viable links with
local communities, businesses, and public and private organizations.
The Green Forestry Education Initiative exists in three concentric
circles: on campus; at the Forest Conservation Center at the UVM Forest
at Jericho; and in the community. The UVM Forest at Jericho is currently
the primary focus of activities and is an ideal location for the project.
The Jericho Forest is located just 20 minutes from the UVM campus,
and students, landowners, and organizational representatives have
excellent access to the forest there. The forest had a long and well
documented history of use and – in some instances – exploitation
followed by a remarkable ecological recovery. In 1790 the land was
blanketed by a primeval forest. By 1937 the land consisted of high-graded
forest and eroded farm fields with sand blows and gullies. Today there
are healthy, beautiful, productive, biologically diverse forests growing
The Green Forestry Education Initiative is being
constructed to be simultaneously well-defined and cohesive enough to
have immediate and substantial impact, and yet flexible and energetic
enough to respond to very rapidly emerging needs. We emphasize: 1) undergraduate
education and the interaction of undergraduates with the surrounding
community via outreach and service-learning activities; 2) research,
demonstration and dissemination; and 3) partnerships with educational,
community, and governmental and non-governmental organizations.