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UMaine gets federal grant to help start wood banks for families in need to heat their homes

Cumberland Wood Bank
Volunteers split wood at the Cumberland Wood Bank

The University of Maine National Wood Bank Project has received a federal grant of $62,500 to hold listening sessions and provide education to communities that want to start wood banks. Wood banks provide free seasoned firewood to families in need to help keep their homes warm.

Dr. Jessica Leahy, Professor of Forestry at UMaine, says she will travel throughout the country and New England to help people understand the process of starting a wood bank.

"I think there's a lot of communities that aren't being served by wood banks," Leahy said. "So, if people can organize and download the community guide to starting a wood bank, they can plan now to do the wood processing this summer and next year a community could have a wood bank with seasoned wood."

Leahy says a national direct grant program run by the Alliance for Green Heat can help wood banks now in operation get funding for new equipment to boost operations. Maine has about five wood banks. UMaine's grant and the Alliance for Green Heat grant come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forestry Service.

Community Guide to Starting and Running a Wood Bank: