Proctor Academy's 2500 acres of woodlands are one of our most prized possessions. This diverse ecological habitat spans from the top of Ragged Mountain to the Blackwater River and is home to one of Proctor’s most dynamic classrooms.
Dave Pilla’s Forestry and Wildlife Science students not only learn about the types of flora and fauna that inhabit Proctor’s lands, but also the philosophy behind sustainably managing Proctor's woodlands. On Tuesday, Forestry students had the opportunity to meet Jack and Jake Bronnenberg of Bronnenberg Logging and Trucking, LLC. The Bronnenbergs, with Pilla’s guidance, have harvested Proctor’s woodlands exclusively for the past six years, and know our land well.
Jack and Jake shared their thoughts with students about their current project, the first cut of a shelterwood harvest. The Bronnenbergs explained how the dense population of white pines in the stand prevents enough sunlight for pine seedlings to regenerate.
Since this is a ‘cone year’ (just look up in the nearest pine in your backyard and you will see the tree laden with cones), the shelterwood cut will harvest about half of the mature trees in the stand this year allowing for cones to fall and become seed for new forest growth in the scarified soil. Once advanced regeneration occurs and sapling growth is strong, in as many as 15 years from now, the Bronnenbergs will harvest the remaining half of the mature trees.
The outcome? A sustainably managed woodlot and an ‘even-aged forest’ alongside another generation of educated forestry students who are able to live what they are learning.