Instructor Bill Girard with Gina La Cerva ’15 M.E.Sc. ’15 (Photo by Sara Rose Tannenbaum)

Learning the ‘Game of Logging’
at Yale-Myers Forest

The other weekend, when snow still covered the ground at Yale-Myers Forest, nine students were trained in the art of chainsaw safety and tree felling. Otherwise known as the “Game of Logging,” this daylong Level One workshop began with an introduction to the chainsaw, its mechanics and functions, and ended with each student donning PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and cutting down a tree.

There is a tremendous amount of thought and calculation behind tree felling. Expert loggers navigate in seconds what we novices walked through in minutes. The Game of Logging philosophy celebrates proper chainsaw technique, safety, and skill as a way to achieve higher productivity and efficiency.

Bill Girard, “Game of Logging” instructor (second from left), with Yale student David Milewicz, Elias Kohn ’16 M.E.M., and Hale Morrell ’15 M.E.Sc. (Photo by Sara Rose Tannenbaum)

Bill Girard, “Game of Logging” instructor (second from left), with Yale student David Milewicz, Elias Kohn ’16 M.E.M., and Hale Morrell ’15 M.E.Sc. (Photo by Sara Rose Tannenbaum)

Instructor Bill Girard taught us to remove hazards, safely plan our exits, and use the diameter of the tree to calculate the dimensions of the hinge. The angle of the hinges we cut had to account for the natural lean of the tree if we were to hit our target.

In addition to his patience, Bill had no shortage of logging logic and stories to share. Needless to say we were all convinced to wear our hard hats and plan an exit 45 degrees from the tree. Thankfully no human limbs were harmed in the duration of this workshop—and we have an enthusiastic fast-learning crew of FES-ers ready to harvest a new batch of Christmas trees next December.

Sara Rose Tannenbaum ’16 M.E.M. is a first-year student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.