As winter approaches we are all quickly reminded about the importance of warm homes. Unfortunately there are those in our communities who need assistance heating their home. A group of caring people in the North Quabbin region hope to take advantage of our state’s most plentiful natural resources, forests, to help their neighbors.
Modeled after the foodbank concept, Mt. Grace Land Trust, in partnership with MA DCR’s Service Forestry program, have started a “woodbank” in Petersham, MA. When a tree falls and needs to be cleaned up, or when management activities take place on town land the wood is moved to and stored at the town transfer station. Volunteer days are organized to chop and stack the wood, allowing it to dry before being picked up. Landowners can also donate wood from their land to the woodbank.
Townspeople in need of extra fuel for their wood stoves can fill out a form at the town office and receive a voucher, which is turned in at the transfer station in exchange for firewood. Though each voucher is good for 4-5 armloads of firewood at a time recipients can return to the town office multiple times to receive additional vouchers.
The woodbank effort is made possible through a grant from the USDA Forest Service. The grant is supporting the development of a series of woodbanks in western Massachusetts. Over the next two years Mt. Grace and DCR plan to develop two more woodbanks in surrounding towns. Wendell, Montague, Orange, and Northfield are just a few of the towns they are considering.
Neighbors helping neighbors stay warm using local wood….there is just something very right about that idea!