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Vermont Family Forests
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Conserving The Health Of Our Local Forest Community

Hogback Community College                                                  TREES AND WHERE THEY GROW

Forests are exceedingly complex. To fully experience them, one must understand the individual members that contribute to the forest system. An important first step in cultivating understanding is the proper identification of these individual members, and woody plants are significant members of forest communities.

In this course--taught by John Shane, retired chair of the UVM School of Forestry--students will learn to identify (by leaves, buds, and bark) common trees and shrubs of Vermont forests. Since woody plants are parts of forest systems, we will explore each species' specific ecological roles in the forest.

Additionally, since it is impossible to learn all woody plants in Vermont in such a short time-frame, the course will also stress methods of viewing plant characteristics, and organizing observations, to facilitate the further self-instruction that can lead to a lifetime of enjoyable plant identification.

After a brief indoor introduction to some terminology and ID methodology, we will spend the remaining course time in the field, introducing and reviewing woody plant ID using leaves, twigs/buds, and bark characteristics.

About the Instructor

After a childhood that was, according to teachers, largely wasted in roaming the woods, John went to college. Last year, after 30 years, he re-emerged after resigning as Chair of UVM's Forestry Program. Rumor has it that, despite the lengthy immersion in academia, he behaves more-or-less normally.



Course Details

Date, Time, and Location of instruction:






September 8, 2012

8:30am – 11am

Brynns’ Sugarhouse, 7623 Plank Road,

Bristol, VT


September 15, 2012

8:30am – 12:30pm

Brynns’ Woods, 7623 Plank Road, Bristol, VT


September 22, 2012

8:30am – 12:30pm



September 29, 2012

8:30am – 12:30pm

Lincoln Gap Road, Lincoln, VT – Meet at the Lincoln Elementary School Parking Lot


October 6, 2012

8:30am – 12:30pm

The Waterworks Property, Plank Road,

Bristol, VT

Meet at the parking lot.

Minimum and maximum number of students:
Minimum:  8   Maximum:  15

Fee:  $180
Credit Hours*: 1.125  (18 hours of instruction)
*While our courses offer the structure and content of college courses, we are not seeking accreditation for Hogback Community College, nor do we currently offer credits for transfer to other educational institutions. We are continuing to look at our options for offering students course credit in the future. Numerous teachers have taken Hogback Community College courses as part of their Professional Development requirements.

How to Apply: Download a registration form here. On it you’ll find detailed information about the registration process, including fees, cancellation policies, directions to course meeting sites, etc. Please complete the registration form and mail with payment to Vermont Family Forests to the address indicated on the form. We will hold your payment until we reach the minimum number of students required for offering the course. If we have already reached the course’s maximum student capacity by the time you submit your registration, we will place you on a waiting list.


For more information about any of Vermont Family Forests' events,
contact us at 453-7728 or e-mail