During one of our Stewardship Saturdays events, we headed to Thompson Island to clear woody stuff (rose, bittersweet, spindle tree, etc) from the trail in towards the field. Having worked on this project a few weeks before, there was a pile of woody debris when we got to the work site. Not to far away was a massive wood chipper.
As we were discussing our roles for the day, one of the Project Leads, Bill said “if anyone has not used this before, I would encourage you trying it out”. I immediately took up this opportunity and began collecting the helmet, goggles, and ear plugs I would need.
The machine can be very intimidating at first. Its very loud, and can crush pretty much anything you throw into it. But Bill reassured me by showing all of the safety measures I should take before getting started. I was taught which way to insert a branch, where to move to avoid getting pushed around/caught by the machine, and the many levers that can be pulled to reverse its motion if anything does get caught.
When we began using the chipper, I was a little hesitant. I became very aware of how much a branch could swing once it was in the chipper. But I observed the two others who were also working on the chipper, and piggy-backed off of their techniques. Once I was familiar with the machine, I became much more comfortable. We were able to chip all of the debris pile, and by the end of the day the pile of wood chips was almost as tall as the 7 foot chipper.