A Game of Logging class member operates a saw on a downed log.
A Game of Logging class member operates a saw on a downed log. (Submitted photo)

BRATTLEBORO — For the independent person who likes to plan ahead for winter, a special course on logging may be a wise investment.

This course is called the Game of Logging, where an instructor from Vermont Coverts: Woodlands for Wildlife, Inc. teaches eight to 10 individuals safe and productive chainsaw skills. The participants receive individualized coaching at a series of in-the-woods practice stations and the instructor offers constructive feedback.

"Regardless of your experience, you'll take home valuable new skills from this workshop," stated a press release. "You do not need experience with chainsaws or own one to participate, but please note that you will be felling a tree."

On April 29 in Stamford at 8 a.m. there is a Women's only Level I class, organized by Woodlands for Wildlife and hosted by landowner Joanne Moore.

"Most of the time the classes are open to anyone," said Lisa Sausville, executive director at Vermont Coverts: Woodlands for Wildlife. "Once in a while we offer a women only class because some women are intimidated to using power tools, particularly chainsaws. Offering a class with only women allows the participants to feel more comfortable and supported and it is just an option for those that want to take advantage of it."


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The level one classes offer an overview of chainsaw safety and covers basic tree felling, which is the process of downing individual trees. Each participant is expected to fell a tree by the end of the class. Level two classes cover basic saw maintenance and chain sharpening techniques and provide an additional opportunity for tree felling.

There is also a level one and level two class at 8 a.m. in Readsboro on May 14 and 15, hosted by landowner John Whitman.

"It's a two-day class; in the first day, you learn 10 things that will save your life and 100 things that will make using a chainsaw easier," said Tom Prunier, of Westminster, who has participated in the GOL twice, once where he hosted the event on his land.

Prunier is a home owner who uses a chainsaw to cut firewood and realized the importance of signing up for this class. In addition, he noted three tree felling deaths that occurred about eight years ago, which "opened my eyes to the dangers." Prunier said he has been using a chainsaw since he was teenager, but this class offered new safety recommendations for him to learn, such as how to hold a chainsaw without it hurting your back and so it does not come back and "bite you."

"You learn how to fell a tree accurately and look up into a tree, a lot of dangers come from up above," said Prunier.

The fee for each class $170 and directions will be sent upon registration.

Each course is taught by an instructor from Northeast Woodland Training, who looks to educate participants about logging safety and also "excite people outside the forest products industry (small woodlot owners, homeowners, students, etc.) about forestry," states the website.

NEWT co-owner John Adler has 15 years of experience as a Game of Logging instructor and has trained hundreds of professional loggers, forest owners, and students throughout New England, New York, and beyond. NEWT co-owner David Birdsall is a "woods-educator." He has worked extensively with young adults at Sterling College, the Vermont Leadership Center, and the Merck Farm and Forest Program.

When the instructor fells a tree, they talks through each point. It's also called the GOL because participants can earn points. There is a chart for safe felling and the students are encouraged to make suggestions on how each person could do better or what they did well.

"Each student brings their experiences to the class and the very experienced instructor brings their knowledge," said Prunier.

For more information or to register contact Vermont Coverts at 802-877-2777, e-mail lisa@vtcoverts.org

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-275-6356