Grant to help UMaine study timber banks

Grant to help UMaine study timber banks

As winter approaches, group teams are stockpiling wooden in hopes of conserving their neighbors heat this winter.

Often called wooden banks – like a meals financial institution however with wooden – they’re typically all-volunteer organizations run by church buildings or affiliated with non-profit organizations that present different companies to the needy.

A brand new $62,500 grant not too long ago awarded to the College of Maine is designed to assist elevate consciousness of lumber banks nationally and create a assist community for sometimes loosely organized teams, mentioned Jessica Leahy, professor of forestry on the college.

“Loading wooden into folks’s autos, I actually felt like folks solely got here once they wanted assist,” Leahy mentioned.

In keeping with the Alliance for Inexperienced Warmth, a nonprofit group that promotes cleaner, extra environment friendly, and extra inexpensive merchandise, about 9 % of Maine residents use wooden as their major supply of heating, placing the state within the lead. second place after Vermont, the place 13% of the inhabitants use wooden for heating. renewable heating.

And for a lot of in Maine, woodstoves and fireplaces are an vital backup warmth supply. Leahy mentioned that along with serving to assist wooden banks, the grant will present smoke detectors, batteries and recommendation on learn how to burn wooden safely.

Considered one of Maine’s most established woodchucks serves the Boothbay space, the place greater than 10 years in the past a gathering at Boothbay Harbor Congregational Church led to the creation of the Woodchucks, mentioned Holly Stover, director of the Group Useful resource Council.

Twice per week, 10-12 volunteers come to a small plot of land the group leases from the city of Boothbay for $1 a 12 months to separate, stack and ship lumber to needy residents of Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Southport and Edgecomb. . Final 12 months, the group offered 55 cords of wooden price roughly $20,000.

Those that want help ought to full an software by the useful resource heart, the place they’re additionally inspired to use for federal heating help by the Low-Revenue Family Vitality Help Program. , mentioned Stover.

Typically, residents have wooden delivered whereas they await assist from different sources.

“We elevate our cash right here, we spend our cash right here, and you do not have to attend for a federal program to go,” mentioned Stover, who can also be a Boothbay state Democratic lawmaker. “We’re a security web for our neighbors in want.”

Leahy and Stover mentioned there’s one other benefit to a lumber financial institution. This creates a way of group amongst those that volunteer.

“A variety of what they do has an enormous social element to it,” Stover mentioned. “It is a chance to get out of the home, assist others and it retains them lively and busy. In the event that they helped somebody keep heat, that is the final word reward.

In North Yarmouth, Rebecca Rundquist runs the Cumberland Wooden Financial institution, which started serving folks in want in 2007. To date this 12 months, they’ve delivered 9 cords of wooden to these in want and offered eight strings, she mentioned.

Rundquist mentioned their timber financial institution is operated underneath the umbrella of Cumberland UCC Congregational Church and cuts and stacks their timber on land donated by RA Pierce Excavating.

“If each group had this, it could make a lot sense,” Rundquist mentioned Thursday as she stood close to the log splitter and a shed that shops different gear.

One more reason to keep up native timber banks is that invasive pests such because the emerald ash borer forestall teams from transporting timber exterior of their very own county, she mentioned.

Eight to 10 folks present up every week to assist put together the wooden from the homes.

“Chainsaw folks, they’re priceless,” she mentioned. “Then we separated.”

Rundquist and Stover mentioned they might be completely happy to reply questions from different communities concerned with beginning a timber financial institution. Huge or small, organized or casual, banks may also help fill a significant want throughout the winter.

Stover expects extra folks to hunt assist this 12 months than final.

“We’re already seeing folks we have by no means seen earlier than who want further assist,” she mentioned.

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