News and upcoming events
Biological Woodsmen’s Week 2013 Press Release
During the week of 19th-23rd of November - one of the most unique community events in the world will take place in Floyd County, Virginia. This event is an annual educational effort of a small “treeroots” organization based in the edge of Appalachia on the plateau of Floyd County, Virginia. There are many aspects of this effort that make it truly unique.
The combination of community members that are making this happen is one of the unique features of this event. This is the first time Healing Harvest Forest Foundation has held their largest annual event in Floyd County. Previous events have been in other parts of Virginia. Collaboration is a term that really means neighbors helping neighbors.
One distinction that is intended in this effort is the definition of Restorative Forestry as being beyond Sustainable Forestry. The concept that the forests are in a state of decline and that one cannot sustain a decline, inspires the determination of being Restorative. We believe that in order for forestry to be sustainable it has to be restorative. This small “treeroots” group is leading the nation and world in this perspective in the practice of man aging the forest. The theater for this practice will be the grounds of the Floyd Eco Village. The forested conditions there are a recovering woodlot that was previously marginal agriculturally used fields that were converted to a Christmas tree plantation and then abandoned to become a forest on its own. This is a common condition throughout the region. Our group will restore this forest to a mixed species of native trees, in an uneven aged condition as much like a native forest as possible in a single activity. That is the definition of Restorative Forestry. We are not looking for a debate, but if we were, it would be to define Restorative Forestry in concept and practice. The public will learn much about their forested surroundings by observing and discussing this work with the Biological Woodsmen of HHFF during the week (19th-23rd Nov.) of the event.
Another unique aspect of this event is the marriage of Heritage based cultural practices with the modern concern for the environment. HHFF promotes the use of animal power in addressing human needs from forests and farms. We are everyday folks that know that animal power is a proven technique that has many advantages for small scale farmers and loggers. This is not the easy way to do things. This is labor intensive, “hand crafted” natural resource management. This is not solely about production but about protection and improvement of our largest natural resource condition in this region – the forests. This event is not about having all the answers, but about sharing some historically proven methods and solutions that have a place in the present and probably even more so in the future. This event is about restoration and enhancement of environmental quality through cultural practices that also contain a social justice element of providing human dignity for doing the right things - even when it is hard.
The rough schedule of the event starts on Tuesday the 19th with Advanced Timber Stand Improvement in the woodland at the Eco Village, 718 Franklin Pike, Floyd, Virginia. This means the felling and removal of overgrown Christmas trees with skilled directional felling and the ultimate low impact overland extraction technique of modern animal powered methods. These trees are on the cusp of being overtaken by the surrounding regeneration of Poplar and other hardwood tree species. Accomplishing this work with low impact methods increases the rate of recovery and restoration of this forested site. This is not an income generator for the landowner, but an investment into improved future condition reflecting a long term management approach. We will also have satellite harvesting activities at other sites in the community. This work, (weather dependent) will also be available for the public educational purpose of the event. Maps will be provided to visitors upon arrival at the Floyd Eco Village.
The greatest highlight of Biological Woodsmen’s Week will be at 7:00 pm, on Friday night the 22nd, at the Floyd County High School Auditorium. Wendell Berry speak and then participate in a panel discussion of the issues of forestry and community. The panel will be made up of national experts in forestry. They will be Guy Dunkle, forester and land manager for the Foundation for Sustainable Forests from Pa., Carl Russell of Earthwise Farm and Forestry of Randolph, Vermont and Jason Rutledge, Co-Founder of HHFF and the original Biological Woodsman. The talk and panel discussion will be moderated by Ethan Mannon, graduate level student of English from Penn. State and native of Floyd County. Note cards will be available and questions will be taken from the audience. At 4:00 pm on the 22nd Mr. Berry will do a book signing in the lobby at the Floyd Eco Village. Stop by if you are a fan of this foremost writer on agricultural issues of our time.
On Saturday the 23rd we will have a very important aspect of this event for our community. The day will start at 10:00 am with a free chainsaw safety and skills instruction taught by Ryland Moore, lifetime logger and VDOT certified instructor for the state of Virginia. This will be followed after lunch with a timber felling contest among Biological Woodsmen and then a friendly horse pulling demonstration. This portion of the activities are free to the public as a service of HHFF, The Floyd Eco Village and the many community members that volunteer to make this happen.
You may buy tickets to the Wendell Berry talk and panel discussion through the Floyd Eco Village website, through the mail at the address of HHFF above. The price is $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door. Music prior to the event in the auditorium will be provided by Mike Mitchell.
So please come out and visit with us at Biological Woodsmen’s Week in Floyd. Remember that you are coming to a higher elevation so dress appropriately to enjoy the outdoor activities.
Ridgewind Suffolk Farm breeds, works, trains, and sells registered Suffolk Punch draft horses. We keep a herd of mares and some geldings, and often have harness broke Suffolk Punch horses for sale. Our registered Imported English Stallion - Eyke Sovereign - 3396-S is available for breeding or artificial insemination.
We are located in the Blue Ridge mountains of Floyd County, Virginia. We strive to create a culture that is rooted in meaningful work and a deep collaboration between horse and human.
Depending on the season, our horses perform many tasks: plowing, cultivating, pulling wagons and sleds, skidding logs and much more.
We offer classes and workshops for all skill levels. Topics include harnessing, hitching, driving horses, horsemanship, and horse-powered restorative forestry, logging and farming. We can also train your horses for work.