Maine Coast Semester 56 students know their trees. They’re studying forests in science and Farm and Food Systems classes; hauling, splitting, and stacking wood for next year; and tapping maple trees for sap. On February 27, they enjoyed a special sustainable forestry day and an evening film with music celebrating the history of Maine’s lumberjacks and river drivers. “What’s powerful and important about this event for the students,” explains Farm Manager Megan Phillips, who organized the day, “is that it is interdisciplinary, drawing on many different experiences that they are having in various parts of their life in the semester.” In the morning, Chewonki’s own Don Lamson (who manages our Big Eddy campground in the North Woods) and John Cullen, a certified logging professional, demonstrated directional tree-felling. Our farm crew joined guest farmer Lizzie Koltai to show how horses can help in sustainable forestry practices. Harold Burnett (Chewonki advisor and forester) of Two Trees Forestry and Morten Moesswilde of the Maine Forest Service lead the students on a walk, explaining what foresters observe and understand as they look at trees. In the evening, filmmaker and musician Sumner McKane attended the showing of his remarkable documentary of the Maine lumbering industry, In the Blood. McKane combined archival films and photographs with oral histories and other research to make the film. He also composed the musical score. For the semester community, he and fellow musician Joshua Robbins performed the music live as the film rolled. The presentation brought to life the lumberjacks and river drivers of the turn of the 20th century, whose resourceful approach to their work transformed Maine’s forests into a booming industry. The following week, Math Fellow Eric Levenson invited students to learn some of the woodsmen’s skills and on Friday, he organized a heady, hands-on Woodsmen’s Competition. Twenty-four strong young men and women showed off their prowess with cross-cut saws; split logs into quarters; tossed logs; and demonstrated the “firebuild”: a timed event in which people race to split wood, start a fire, and get water boiling as fast as possible. Observers remarked on the spirit and determination of the competitors and noticed especially fine technique in the quarter-split event, where hours in the woodlot during afternoon work programs paid off.