Vermont Town Forest Webinar Series

Join the Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program and our partners for a 5-part webinar series on stewarding  Vermont town forests! Come get ideas, connect with other town forest groups and share your own experiences.

These webinars are part of a broader project entitled Community Forests as Models of Stewardship – designed to elevate the role of community forests as models of stewardship of Vermont’s forestland through increased visibility and outreach about the stewardship occurring on community forests and increased training and capacity to support inclusive governance and management of community forests. 

The project is a collaboration among UVM Extension, Vermont Land Trust, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, Northern Forest Center, Vermont Coverts and others. This work is made possible by a grant funded by a USDA Forest Service Landscape Scale Restoration Grant.

Webinar Descriptions

Public Input Needed: Designing and Facilitating Community Engagement in Town Forest

Watch the recording

Engaging the community in the planning and stewardship of town forests is essential to achieving multiple-use and balanced integration of social values in municipally owned forests. In Vermont, public engagement takes many forms and often occurs at various milestones along the process of stewarding these forestlands. This webinar will begin with an overview of tips, tools, and strategies for public engagement with the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD). VCRD has facilitated community conversations in hundreds of towns and cities around the state. Drawing from this experience, they will share best practices for public participation and facilitation and ways to invite the whole community together to engage in the conversation. Then, we will hear from three town forest committee members who will share processes, approaches, and lessons learned around engaging the public in town forests. The webinar will conclude with a facilitated question and answer session to allow attendees to share their experiences and crowdsource solutions to fostering healthy public engagement and participation in town forest issues.Presenters: Jenna Koloski and Jessica Savage, Vermont Council on Rural Development; and community panelists from Huntington, VT, and Randolph, NH

Engaging Your Community Virtually: Harnessing Online and Socially Distanced Tools in the Times of COVID

Watch the recording

Over the past two years, we have learned a ton about how to engage and solicit input from community members virtually. In this webinar, planners from SE Group, a design and planning consulting group, will share their experience creating effective virtual engagement opportunities for communities. Building on the previous webinar on community engagement and the Town Forest Recreation Planning Toolkit, this presentation will provide guidance, practical tips, and tools for community groups to take their engagement efforts online and out into the woods.  Presenters:  Drew Pollak-Bruce and Julia Randall, SE Group

Making Decisions: Exploring Models of Town Forest Governance

Watch the recording

Community-level management and decision-making of town forests are often undertaken by a group of community stakeholders. Drawing on international research, this webinar will provide an overview of best practices of community forest governance. Then we will explore different models for town forest governance through our town forest volunteer panel. Each panelist will share their approach to governance and their communities experiences with making stewardship decisions. The webinar will conclude with a facilitated question and answer session to allow participants to ask questions, and share their own experiences with town forest decision-making. Presenter:  Kate Forrer, UVM Extension with community panelists from Newbury and Hinesburg

Town Forest Management Planning 101  

Watch the recording

Town Forests provide a myriad of public benefits and opportunities for our communities. From wildlife habitat to improved health and community usage, a forest management plan provides the town with a road map to reaching the communities vision and goals for the forest. Developing a management plan for town forests can seem complex and challenging. In this webinar, Keith Thompson, Stewardship Program Manager with VT Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation will break down the process of creating a management plan for town forests, including the various important milestones along the way. We will also be joined by a panel of town forest volunteers who will share their approach and experience with management planning, including what worked well and what lessons they learned during the process.  Presenter: Keith Thompson, Stewardship Program Manager, VT Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (VT FPR)  with community panelists (to be announced)

Successfully Implementing Stewardship Activities in Town Forests

Watch the recording

Once a town forest management plan has been developed, it is time to begin implementing it. Through highlighting a range of different projects and practices, Chittenden County Forester Ethan Tapper will share his experiences with assisting towns in the implementation of their forest management activities. Ethan will be joined by a panel of town forest volunteers that will share examples of stewardship projects they have implemented. Specifically, volunteers will highlight what went well and what they may do differently in the future. Bring your stewardship questions and plan to walk away more confident in implementing forest management in your town forest!  Presenter: Ethan Tapper, Chittenden County Forester, VT Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation with community panelists (to be announced)