Forests are an important part of the working landscape. When they are well managed, forests provide clean air and water, homes for wildlife, beautiful scenery, as well as both timber and non-timber forest products. The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College is offering a new course in “Holistic Forest Management” for those interested in low-impact forest management and forest farming.

This team taught, two-week course, held May 15-26, 2017, is designed to expand the concept of the farmstead to include forested areas. Lectures, hands-on learning experiences, and meaningful work will be employed to build skills and knowledge required to bring a systems-thinking approach to forest management.

“Forest management is a science and a process,” says Sterling faculty in Sustainable Agriculture and Draft Horse Manager Rick Thomas. “It’s providing a forest the proper care so that it remains healthy and vigorous, and will continue to provide the products the farmer or landowner desires.”

The class will include sessions on forest ecology and management, silvopasture and forest farming, bird-friendly forest management and certification, extraction of timber products with draft animals, and green woodworking.

Instructors include Thomas, as well as: forest manager Jared Nunery, Steve Gabriel, the Agroforestry Extension Specialist for the Cornell Small Farm Program and author of Farming the Woods (Chelsea Green, 2014); Ken Mudge, co-author of Farming the Woods; Steve Hagenbuch, conservation biologist with Audubon Vermont’s Forest Bird Initiative; andAndre Souligny.

The class is being offered at Sterling College as part of the School of the New American Farmstead, its continuing education program that provides a variety of classes and workshops for aspiring agrarians, artisan food enthusiasts, and environmental stewards. These hands-on short courses in small-scale food production and sustainable farming offer one-on-one mentorship, inspiration, skills, and new perspectives that will feed the body, the mind, and the spirit.

This is the second year of the visionary School of the New American Farmstead, the creation of President Matthew Derr. Under President Derr’s leadership, the College has launched the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems; made substantial progress on renewable energy; transformed its agricultural facilities; and set records for enrollment and fundraising.

The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College is generously underwritten by two great Vermont businesses: Chelsea Green Publishing, the preeminent publisher of books on the politics and practice of sustainable living, and Vermont Creamery, an award winning creamery offering fresh and aged goat cheeses, cultured butter, and créme fraîche that combine the European tradition of cheesemaking with Vermont’s terroir. Both Chelsea Green and Vermont Creamery are partner businesses that share a deep commitment to the environmental stewardship mission of Sterling College.

Online registration is now open, but spaces are limited. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Academic credit is available for all courses. For more information this course and to register, visit



Filed Under: Newsroom School of the New American Farmstead

Social Media

Connect with Sterling College