WILTON – The Foothills Land Conservancy members work hard to rejuvenate, clean and culture land at the headwaters of Wilson Lake. The land, which has been conserved for farming, forestry and recreation, needs constant maintenance.

The fields are mowed every two years to keep open land, which is required by many species of wildlife. The forest, previously heavily harvested, is watched for invasive species and pathogens as it regenerates to a working forest. Walking and cross country ski trails are mowed for public use. Litter is picked up, and erosion caused by people and nature must be controlled.

Recently forestry students from Region 9 in Mexico visited to learn how to use their planting tools by planting seedlings. It took the students only a few hours to plant 300 white pine seedlings.

Marc Dupuis, forestry teacher at Region 9 Applied Technology Center in Mexico, agreed to bring the students to Wilton.

“There is more to working in the woods than just cutting trees. Our students must learn a variety of jobs such as equipment maintenance, product utilization and resource protection to become functional as forest workers,” Dupuis said.

The plantings were done on land that Pete and Judy Schmitt, Land Stewardship Committee members, discovered was unstable and in danger of stream erosion. Working with Paul Hersey from the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District, the conservancy board of directors decided to plant trees in the unstable area. A member of the committee suggested asking forestry students help get the job done.

The Region 9 students, who took second place to Foster Tech students at the recent woodsman’s meet in Orono, now challenge them to perform similar conservation work and learning.

For those who would like to see the foothills property: take Route 156 from Wilton toward Weld and turn onto the Pond Road. The property is just over the bridge. While there, park in the parking lot and walk along the trails. Watch for deer, beaver and other wildlife as well as many species of birds that are usually present on the property.

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