Arborists possess many skills that make them valued parts of the communities in which they live and work. What better way to utilize those skills than for a good cause that involves helping people in need?
This is where wood banks come into play. Simply put, wood banks are programs that aim to help community members with life essentials by supplying firewood at little to no cost to those in need that rely on firewood as a heating source.
“Wood banks are similar to the idea of a food bank, but it’s for fuel wood for folks that are in need,” explained Matthias Taylor Nevins, a land conservation specialist with the Athol, Massachusetts-based Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, in an article from The Greenfield Recorder. “So, if [a] town had a wood bank that was open during the week, folks could go in and grab a little bit of wood to get them through a tough time or get them to their next shipment of oil or load of wood.”
There are over 65 wood bank programs in the U.S. in rural areas, cities and suburbs spanning 21 states. Many are in need of skilled arborists with knowledge of proper chain saw safety protocols and skills that would be useful in cutting, stacking and splitting wood. Wood banks are also always in need of volunteers and laborers (of any skill level) to stack and organize the wood, among other things. Arborists can even lend their tools and equipment to help in a wood bank effort.
Looking to get involved? Start at Woodbank.org, where you can find guidelines and basic information on the programs, including a map and directory of where they’re located across the country.