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Women and the Woods Program Seeks Women to Host “Kitchen Table” Gatherings on Woodland Issues

Contact: Vivianne Holmes, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, 207-353-5557, vholmes@umext.maine.edu

ORONO–Women who own forest land have an opportunity to convene informal “kitchen table” gatherings with other women who own and manage forest lands in Maine. The Women and the Woods (WAW) program is seeking women to serve as hosts or facilitators for locally organized meetings throughout the state.

The purpose of these gatherings is to bring women woodland owners together to talk about stewardship, setting objectives, planning, working with a forester and getting access to resources, according to WAW organizers.

Women and the Woods is a program created in direct response to requests from women landowners who suggested they would benefit from a women-only forestry program. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the program is the result of a creative partnership between the Maine Forest Service, the Women’s Agricultural Network (WAgN) of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and Extension’s Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center.

University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Forest Service staff will hold a free workshop on January 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Georgia Pacific Training Center in Old Town. The workshop will train and support hosts and facilitators in learning to create their own gathering. Volunteers will be asked to hold one gathering focused on land stewardship.

The goal of the Women and the Woods program is to increase the number of women woodland owners who are aware of the options for caring for their forestland in an environment that is supportive of women’s preferred learning styles. This includes opportunities for discussion, as well as networking with other women woodland owners and a preference for participatory, hands-on and/or outdoors activities.

This year, Women and the Woods will offer: 1) locally organized women-only network meetings throughout the state; 2) a demonstration day on low-impact harvesting and maple sugaring; and 3) a women-only multi-day conference focusing on all business aspects of woodland ownership including land stewardship, communicating with resource professionals, timber harvesting, estate planning and forest-related tax laws.

People who are interested in hosting or facilitating a gathering in their area and attending the training workshop on January 20 can contact Laura Sebastianelli, Extension adult education program coordinator, at 207-789-5808.

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