The newly renovated George D. Aiken Center is a virtual showcase of Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood: 27,000 board feet in all, which add warmth, luster and natural beauty to all three floors of the building. But what exactly is certified wood and what process does it go through to earn the imprimatur of being FSC-certified?
FSC.org recaps the movie: Making Aiken: On the Trail of the Certified Wood in the George D. Aiken Center” is the tale of an FSC journey from forest to LEED building in Vermont, with just one stop in New Hampshire. Produced by University of Vermont Communications, written and narrated by Jeffrey R. Wakefield and filmed and edited by Sally D. McCay, this 12-minute movie provides an accessible and informative visual narrative about the FSC chain-of-custody system. For those interested in the basics of the journey made by a piece of FSC-certified wood, from forest to sawmill to kiln to woodworking to finishing to installation, this movie’s clear illustration of the process will hold your attention and clarify your understanding.
“Making Aiken” begins in the Aiken Center, which houses the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. All throughout the interior of the Center is FSC-certified wood from the nearby Jericho Research Forest, giving students “a very visceral, direct connection to what’s happening in the forest…students would be prompted to ask the question: what does it mean to manage a forest sustainably?” (Dean Mary Watson). After watching a tree being cut down by a skilled logger using “directional felling,” we make a stop at each FSC-certified company that handles the wood before it is finally installed in the Aiken Center.
At the Gagnon Lumber sawmill (RA-COC-001677) we watch the logs converted into rough boards and kept separate from the wood that is not FSC-certified. At Amoskeag Woodworking (SCS-COC-003998) we see the dried boards being planed and cut to width and length. And finally, we watch them being textured at Bingham Lumber (SCS-COC-002127) before they are brought back to the Rubenstein School for installation.