University of Vermont

A Cut Above

Aiken Renovation to Both Show and Tell the Story of the Jericho Research Forest

The Jericho Research Forest, a 492-acre tract of former farmland UVM acquired in 1941 and uses for teaching and research, will have an important new job this November, when the renovated George D. Aiken Center, home of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, officially opens its doors.

The forest is contributing 125 sustainably harvested trees to the Aiken renovation, about 24,000 board feet in all. The project will showcase the color and grain of nine different tree species from the forest via extensive paneling throughout the newly renovated building.

While aesthetics are partly the goal -- vertical lengths of paneling will scale the building's three story atrium, for instance - planners also want the wood to remind students and visitors of its origins.

This educational objective will be achieved with a series of displays outlining the history of the forest, culminating in its new status as an officially certified green forestry operation. While Jericho has been sustainably managed since UVM acquired it, the forest received formal certification -- from the Forest Stewardship Council -- just this January.

UVM Today recently visited the forest to meet up with the person who's managing the Aiken timber harvest, Brendan Weiner, to learn more about the principles of sustainable forestry and watch the process in action.