© Morten Bo JohanssonFSC Denmark annually hosts a Design Award competition for Danish design and architecture students based on their use of wood and sustainable practices. The winner of the 2014 FSC Denmark Design Award, Sigrid Juel Jensen, has won a trip to Canada, where she will visit FSC-certified forests, develop a version of her winning design at a local workshop and get a close look at FSC and responsible forest management in Canada.
It’s our last day at Windhorse Farm and we start out on an early morning walk with Jim. He makes frequent stops to tell stories from the forest. He takes us to an area where the last owner harvested trees. On our walk we also pass a shelter built by one of the first students Windhorse Farm had many years ago. Everything here has a story. We stop at an overgrown mound in the forest floor. "These are the remains of our cuts that we have built a kind the wall in order to simulate a dead tree, even if it of course is not the same.
When Jim took over Windhorse Farm, he had an inkling that it had once been home to beavers. To restore the natural environment he began to restore water bodies, which had been drained, to see if the beavers would return. "Many think I was crazy back then," he says "... and many years went by without anything happening, but now the beavers back and there is clear evidence in the form of fallen trees and beaver dams. They also have gnawed some of the farm's apple trees down and the summer retrieves the green out of the kitchen garden. "Many do not understand why we want beavers," says Jim, laughing. "But we have enough here to share - also with beavers. And also beavers play an important role in the area's ecology, " he concludes.
Did you know?
If we didn't have beavers in the Boreal forest, we may not have as many moose. Moose get most of their sodium from plants growing in beaver ponds.
In addition to the traditional maple leaf, the beaver is also one of Canada's national symbols and has represented the country for over 300 years. After the early Europeans explorers had realized that Canada was not a spice-rich territory, the main mercantile attraction was the beaver population numbering in the millions. In the late 1600s and early 1700s, the fashion of the day demanded fur hats, which needed beaver pelts. As these hats became more popular, the demand for the pelts grew. Beavers were therefore hunted for especially their fur, which threatened their species. The number of beavers of however has since risen due to wetland restoration and protection.
Back in the workshop, Sigrid and Fredrik, have finished the wooden ‘arms’ and the top and bottom pieces of the design. Sigrid has chosen to use a variety of FSC wood species from the forest. Both to make a model that represents Canada’s diverse species varieties, but also to test their properties to make threading in and to the shaping of.
For her final design has Sigrid used:
- Red oak
- White ash
- Yellow birch
- Canadian Maple
The center of Sigrid’s design will be made later during her journey as it requires a dowel that the workshop here cannot manufacture.
What’s next for Sigrid?
Read Blog #5 where Sigrid travels across the country and comes across bald eagles and sea lions on her journey to another FSC-certified forest.