Festival of Wood promotes importance of forests

| 04 Aug 2015 | 04:09

With the sun belting down at Grey Towers grounds the first two days of August, record number of visitors came to the annual Festival of Wood, now in its 11th year,

“It’s the weather,” Forest Service Representative Melody Remillard thought, adding the service has done much more publicity, and the word is getting around.

No rain was definitely a plus. About 2,000 visitors came on Saturday, a one-day record, and the same was expected by the end of day Sunday, Grey Towers Media liaison Lori McKean said. The usual number is between 1,500 and 1,700.

Anything to do with the importance of the forests, and educating people about it was the reason for the festival, McKean pointed out.

“For me, it’s very appropriate to have this festival here," McKean said. "Everything we offer is part of the education about how we need to sustain our forests and still have them present for future generations. Grey Towers used to be deforested at one time. If people didn’t take action, we wouldn’t have what we have here.”

Old photos on exhibit at the site show the now forested, green hill with all trees cut down.

She continued to explain forests function in so many ways, and so many commonly used materials come from them, not just the obvious lumber.

“Wildlife needs it, and so many products are based on wood, or require woods to be able to continue,” McKean said.

They include furniture, paper, photographic film, cider, waterproofing, fireplaces, plywood, and agricultural chemicals.

McKean added Grey Towers wants to present the idea to people of how to maintain healthy forests.

All the exhibits, activities, and vendors were connected to wood. They included wood carving by knife or chain saw, children’s activities, tree pruning, wild animal demos, tree identification walk, timber framing, tree identifying; handmade crafts, arts, programs, educational exhibits, demonstrations and films, live music and food.

Locals have funSavanna, 9, was in Milford visiting her grandma Nancy Shanley from Philadelphia. She was taking part in Children’s Fun Fact Finding Excursion, and proudly displayed her Junior Ranger’s badge from last year’s visit.

“I want to be a ranger when I grow up,” she said. “It helps the wildlife.”

She exclaimed, “I love it here!”

Her grandma added they went to Malibu Rodeo in Milford the previous night, grabbed the mike at the after party, and started to sing “Chicken fried country song.”

“I want to be on America’s Got Talent!” she added while grandma chuckled.

Sally and Rudd Hendee, locals from Milford were admiring wood carving demo at the Pocono Arts Council exhibit. Rudd is a woodworker himself.

“We’re enjoying everything, walking around,” Sally commented.

Beekeeper Suzanne Theobald came to the festival with her mom Jean Woolley, with samples of real beehives and other exhibits.

“Bees need the woods too, because they make their nests in the trees,” Woolley said.