Gift Will Expand Environmental Learning Opportunities
Release Date: 02-15-2002
University of Vermont students will have expanded learning, research and outreach opportunities in sustainable forestry thanks to a $230,000 donation from the Westford Forestry Foundation. The gift establishes an endowment fund in the School of Natural Resources, named for Marthe Kruse of Westford, Vermont, and her late husband, Henrik.
"This generous contribution will give our students broader hands-on experiences. They'll be in the forests, maximizing their exposure to sustainable practices," said Don DeHayes, dean of the School of Natural Resources. The Kruse Sustainable Forestry Fund will support sustainable forestry internships for academic credit, the establishment of sustainable forestry demonstration areas, and development of sustainable forestry seminars and outreach activities, DeHayes said.
"We wanted to support what UVM is already doing well and expand the practical opportunities so students see what's happening on a larger scale, in more locations," said Christian Kruse, son of Henrik and Marthe.
The Kruse family owns and operates the 450-acre Westford Woods Tree Farm, which is home to one of the few small band saw mills and solar kiln operations in the state. Their progressive timber management and land stewardship practices also have earned Henrik and Marthe the Vermont Woodlands Association honor of being Chittenden County's Outstanding Tree Farmer in 1997.
During the past six years, UVM Forestry Professor Dale Bergdahl has been working with the Kruse family designing and implementing sustainable forestry practices with the aid of his students. These student interns mainly have been involved with the implementation phase by getting their hands dirty working on ongoing projects such as forest health inventories,promotion of red oak regeneration and developing a geographic information system database for the property that will allow modeling of future forest growth on the Kruse land.
"The Kruses have been a great inspiration to our students and faculty by virtue of their responsible forest management practices and abiding concern for the welfare of wildlife and the forest ecosystem as a whole," DeHayes said. "We intend to emulate their private land management practices on University owned forest land in ways that involve our students in hands-on learning experiences. The late Henrick Kruse was a passionate believer in innovation, learning-by-doing, and implementing new and improved ways of managing forests in a way that can enhance local communities. Our students will experience his vision," he said.
UVM intends to use the Westford Forestry Foundation's gift as a catalyst for an effort to raise $500,000 in endowment funding for educational and research activities related to sustainable forestry. "This is the start of a solid foundation from which we can build upon," DeHayes said. "We believe others support the expanded educational opportunities we're providing and hope they will follow the Kruses' lead by contributing to the sustainable forestry fund."