Community Guide to Starting and Running a Wood Bank

A Community Guide to Starting & Running a Wood Bank, by Dr. Jessica Leahy, Associate Professor of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at UMaine’s School of Forest Resources, and Sabrina Vivian, senior in the Ecology and Environmental Sciences Program, is now available online. Spring and summer are the best times to start a wood bank, which are similar to food pantries, but instead of providing food they provide firewood at little to no cost for those who rely on wood to heat their homes. Leahy & Vivian’s new publication provides guidance for establishing a wood bank, as well as topics to be considered, including types of wood banks, location, legalities, security, eligibility, firewood sources, volunteers, processing, distribution and equipment.

The guide also includes profiles and contact information of New England wood banks, as well as a checklist designed for community members to use when holding an initial wood bank planning meeting.

Vivian and Leahy plan to post on the School of Forest Resources website potential demand analysis maps for each of Maine’s counties to help communities determine if a wood bank would be beneficial in their respective areas. So far, most of their research has focused on demand. As more wood banks start up in Maine, the team plans to focus on supply and potential firewood sources.

For more about the history of the effort to build wood banks in Maine, see these related stories in UMaine Research News and the Bangor Daily News.

For more information on wood banks, contact Leahy at 581.2834,