Helping Hands -- In early December, 2011, on a rare snowy day, Mike Raishart, a Forestry and Natural Resources instructor at Stafford Technical Center in Rutland, brought a team of his students to High Pond Natural Area to help The Nature Conservancy clean up trails that had been covered in downed trees after a major wind storm.
After the Storm -- Without the students' help, it would have taken Murray McHugh, the Conservancy's Southern Lake Champlain Valley Stewardship Program Coordinator, at least a week to complete the cleanup.
Trained Eye -- Forestry and Natural Resources student Nick Scott of Poultney wears safety gear as he cuts downed trees covering the trails at High Pond Natural Area.
Big Barriers -- Before the students cleared the trails at High Pond Natural Area, many downed trees made the trails nearly impassable.
Intent on Job -- Tyler Bathalon of West Rutland is among the Forestry and Natural Resources students whose program includes practical instruction on the use of chainsaws as well as lessons about the forest, including tree identification.
Safe and Sure -- The students, all chainsaw certified, spent two days cutting sections of trees across the trails.They also removed brush and other obstructions.
Clean Cut -- The Stafford Technical Center students are skilled with chainsaws and made quick work of the fallen trees along the trails.
Bagel Break -- Kiefer Metcalf of Proctor grabs a little sustenance along the trail.
Hands-on Lessons -- Stafford Technical Instructor Mike Raishart, in foreground, and the Conservancy's Murray McHugh spent time teaching the students about the local flora and fauna and how to cut trees in a disaster type scenario (when the trees are not perfectly placed for safe cutting).
Snow Day -- In a mostly snowless December, the crew experienced a rare wintry day in the woods on Dec. 8.
The Crew -- L to R: Peter Davidson, RJ Goodell, Nick Scott, Murray McHugh (TNC), Kiefer Metcalf, Mark Raishart, Connor Petrossi, Aleea Dauphina, Jordan Palmer, Eliese Dykstra, David Seagren, James Greeno, Tyler Bathalon.
Photographer -- Thanks to Cherie Mosher, AmeriCorps Stewardship Assistant in the Conservancy's West Haven office, who took these photographs.
High Pond Natural Area Trail-Clearing
Stafford Technical Center Students Help Conservancy