About Us

About Us

The North American Hedgelaying Society (NAHS) was informally inaugurated in November 2019 during a two-day hedgelaying workshop at Wellspring Forest Farm in Ithaca, New York. The workshops were a collaboration between the Farm’s owner, Steve Gabriel, an Agroforestry Specialist with Cornell Small Farms Program; Rob Gil, a Vermont sheep farmer and hedgerow enthusiast; Jim Jones, a socio- ecologist and hedgelayer originally from the UK and now a Canadian resident working at the University of Waterloo; and Nigel Adams a professional hedgelayer and countryside management consultant also from the UK.

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In January 2019 Rob Gil asked the Coppicing, Pollarding, and Hedgelaying North America group on Facebook “How many folks would be interested in learning hedgelaying in the U.S? I'm thinking of hosting some professional UK hedgelayers to come teach and lay some hedge. The class would be on my property here in central VT”. There was a good response, including from Jim Jones and Nigel Adams. In 2016 Jim and Nigel, together with Jef Gielen, a hedgelaying colleague from the Netherlands, had been invited by the University of Waterloo to give demonstrations and talks as part of the Hedgelaying In The Ontario Landscape Project. Jim had returned to Canada to manage the Hedgelaying Project in 2018 and was teaching hedgelaying courses near his home in Caledon, Ontario. The original plan was for a ‘Grand Tour’ to visit Rob’s Farm in Vermont, then on to Wellspring in Ithaca before heading into Canada for workshops where Jim lived at Mount Wolfe Farm in Caledon. However, in the end there wasn’t enough hedgerow to lay at Rob’s property. 50 people attended or tuned in to a webinar on on Hedgelaying with Nigel and Jim and 17 people attended the workshops at Wellspring Farm where three hedgerows were layed- on the first day everyone worked on a line of willows (south of South of England Style) and on the second day two groups worked on separate woodland edges (South of England and Midland Styles).

YurtTeaching

With this interest in hedgerows and hedgelaying in North America it seemed like an opportunity to develop new found connections and so The North American Hedgerow Society (NAHS) was set up . Broadly our aims are to: - develop interest in the semi-natural linear features which fall under the term ‘hedgerow’, including their ecology, history, culture, economy, mythology, conservation and management, with a focus on the particular history and culture of the landscapes and peoples of North America/Turtle Island. - where ecologically and culturally appropriate, promote the planting of ‘hedgerows’ in North America using native species appropriate to bioregions. - deliver training in hedgerow management techniques including hedgelaying based on good practice but responding to and celebrating of the diverse influences of ecology, place and culture within the North American landscapes - deliver education and promote research in the many services healthy hedgerows provide to people and wildlife such as pollination, erosion protection, flood mitigation and carbon sequestration; - to foster an emerging network of hedgerow advocates, practitioners and businesses related to hedgerow planting and the traditional skill of ‘hedgelaying’; - promote scientific research into all aspects of hedgerow planting, management and use. - celebrate the emergence of new hedgerow landscapes and local hedgerow groups and societies through hedgerow-related arts and crafts.

Land Acknowledgement

We cannot live or work in North America without acknowledging that for thousands of years, the land has been inhabited and cared for by indigenous peoples of the First Nations, Inuit and Metis. Over 100s of years this land was stolen by colonists from these indigenous peoples in terrible and brutal ways; treaties were made, government to government, and broken by the newcomers.

To this day land remains in indigenous ownership, despite this history and ongoing colonialism and oppression.

In working with the North American landscape, we acknowledge these truths and seek opportunities to support indigenous peoples. We are grateful for the opportunity to live and work in Turtle Island. As individuals and collectively we have a responsibility to build relationships with the indigenous peoples of the land where we live. We set out with an intention to learn how best to honor the land and all the nations of peoples who call it home.