The Quiet Corner Initiative organizes workshops where landowners can share and improve their expertise on small-scale, private woodlands management. Wildlife specialists, tax attorneys, local owners and their families, foresters, farmers, loggers, Yale faculty, students, and researchers, all meet and learn together with a hands-on approach to build collective stewardship knowledge. The Workshop Series has covered topics ranging from land use history to wildlife habitat, funding opportunities, and wood processing.
All our workshops are free and open to the public! And they will always remain this way, but please do RSVP so we know how many people we need to host and feed. Workshops take place at the Yale-Myers Forest Camp or in the Yale-Myers Forest.
Oxen up front, Woodmizer in the middle, and horses in the back for an integrated draft-logging workshop! (picture by Monte Kawahara)
Sue Morse, a renowned tracker and the founder of Keeping Track will lead a winter tracking workshop at Yale-Myers in February. Come learn to read the track and sign around you and discover what creatures are out and about in the middle of winter.
DRAFT POWER LOGGING AND BANDSAW MILLING - Sunday, January 18th:Sam Rich and Erika Marczak and their trusty animals logged pine out of Yale-Myers for Denis Day to mill into lumber. Lumber produced from this workshop will be used to construct a new timber frame auditorium at the Yale-Myers Camp. Local trees are an excellent source of building materials for the New England construction industry.
YALE-MYERS HARVEST FESTIVAL - September 26th 2014: Yale-Myers Forest hosted the first annual Quiet Corner Initiative Harvest Festival. Students, staff, and faculty from New Haven, including Dean Peter Crane and Dan Esty, came up to join Quiet Corner landowners for an evening of merriment and seasonal celebration. Attendees competed for the best time in the cross-cut saw competition while onlookers pressed cider and listened to Yale College's folk band, Tangled Up in Blue. A local bee-keeper demonstrated his techniques and a local foods feast was served featuring CT raised pork, pies and apples from Buell's Orchard in Eastford, wine from Taylor Brook Winery in Woodstock, and vegetables from Willow Valley Farm in Willington. To cap the night off there was a screening of EFFY's King Corn. It was an excellent inaugural event and we're already looking forward to next year!
READING THE FORESTED LANDSCAPE - December 13th 2014: Tom Wessels came to Yale-Myers to lead local landowners on a walk of the forest. The author of Forest Forensics and Reading the Forest Landscape, Tom pointed out forest clues indicated past land uses, forest compositions, and causes of change. A superb ecologist, Tom also elucidated numerous species interactions in the surrounding forest.
FOREST FARMING: SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS - Sunday, April 13, 2014: Mushrooms, ginseng, ramps, nuts, and berries are some of the many products that New England woodlands can yield. During this hands-on workshop, attendants will learn how to produce their own Shiitake mushrooms. We provide red oak logs from our forest and an inoculation demonstration: you come with a power drill, you leave with a future supply of delicious food.
CONSERVATION: MAKING SENSE OF EASEMENTS - April, 2014: The process of getting an easement for your land is often lengthy, complex, and very confusing. During this workshop, we will bring in conservation specialists that will take the time to meet with owners on an individual basis and recommend steps to help you along the way, get started, or simply learn more about what an easement is.
FOREST MANAGEMENT: DRAFT LOGGING AND BANDSAW MILL II - January 18, 2014: Draft animal farmers and loggers Sam Rich and Erika Marczak were back in the Yale-Myers Forest this year to haul out freshly cut white pines in a selective harvest with their horses and steers. Woodworker Denis Day turned the trees into boards with his bandsaw mill, and a team of forestry students aided by local owner Rich Dezso built planters for all attendants. The techniques presented in this workshop are both low impact and low cost, and they can be a good way of managing your woodlot. Horse-logging can protect soils, leave the woods intact, and is adapted to harvest smaller trees.
AGROFORESTRY: SILVOPASTURE - Saturday, September 21, 2013: Pasturing cows, pigs, goats, or poultry in the woods can be a mutual benefit for both the health of your animals and the production of quality timber and nuts. But it can also go wrong... Extension forester and livestock farmer Brett Chedzoy came to talk about silvopasture, explain what makes a project successful, and show us how to pick a good site. Delicious food produced through silvopasture at local farm Bush Meadows helped drive the point home! You can now download the materials presented at this workshop!
CONSERVATION: ESTATE PLANNING - Thursday, April 18, 2013: Do you think you might want to protect your family land but are not sure where to start? This workshop presented a simple set of steps to help you get your affairs in order and design a protection plan that accomplishes exactly what you want to do. You can now download the materials presented at this workshop!
FOREST MANAGEMENT: DRAFT LOGGING AND BANDSAW MILL - Saturday, January 26, 2013: Our topic was small-scale wood processing and wood utilization. Horse-loggers Sam Rich and Erika Marczak pulled out two freshly felled white pines from our forest and we had a bandsaw mill on-site operated by Will Conklin, an educator, sawyer and timber-framer from Western Massachusetts. A team of forestry students then turned the lumber into boxes for all workshop attendants. You can now see the pictures taken at this workshop!
Sam and Erika introduce their team of Percheron horses to the group during the Sawmill Workshop (picture by Alex Barrett)
WILDLIFE: IMPROVING HABITAT ON YOUR LAND - Saturday, October 13, 2012: This session focused on the wildlife of Connecticut forests and explored the tools and funding opportunities for landowners to create and improve wildlife habitat on their land. You can now see the pictures taken at this workshop!
FOREST SCIENCE: HOW A FOREST CHANGES, AND HOW TO CHANGE A FOREST - Saturday, June 9, 2012: How did your forest come to look how it does now? During this workshop, we explored the processes responsible for creating the hardwood forests so ubiquitous in northeastern Connecticut. We then took a look at what active forest management looks like and tried our hand at a couple of silvicultural prescriptions.
FOREST HISTORY: READING THE NEW ENGLAND LANDSCAPE - Saturday, September 24, 2011: This workshop focused on understanding the history of your woodlands. After sessions about plant identification and soil sampling, we took a hike through the forest and used "detective skills" to interpret the past land use of a property thanks to clues such as landscape features (like stone walls), soils (like evidence of plowing) and vegetation (wolf trees, mountain laurel, and so on).
Landowners looking down a soil pit during the Past Land Use Workshop (picture by Angela Orthmeyer)
Every other Thursday evening in June and July, the Yale-Myers camp fills up with community members and students gathering for the Summer Research Seminar Series. Members of the local community, visiting scholars, faculty and students present their work at this popular annual series. All seminars are open to the public and refreshments are served.
In the past four years, topics have included:
In 2013 for the first time, this student-run festival moved to the Yale-Myers Forest. For this first edition, we showed two documentaries by filmmaker Ian Cheney, New England native and graduate of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental studies:
You can find more pictures of our workshops on Flickr, and fact sheets are currently being compiled to summarize useful information that was discussed during the seminars.