Women of NorthWoods Stewardship Center teach cookie-cutting, but not in the kitchen

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EAST CHARLESTON — NorthWoods female staffers have been teaching women to use a chainsaw at the Women Can Do Expo at Vermont Technical College for the past six years.

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The Expo is an annual event of Vermont Works for Women, a non-profit that helps women and girls achieve economic independence through training in, and exposure to, different fields of work.

This year, Meg Carter and Christine Kim set up two stations, the first being beginners safety and how to get the saw started.

The chainsaw at the first station is a “safe start saw” that has the chain removed. Other protective gear includes chaps and helmets with eye and ear protection.

Kim says that one obstacle is to minimize the intimidation factor some women have, and she has come up with a way to get students to jump right in.

“I encourage women to really rev it up and make some noise,” she said.

After the basic skills and safety lesson, it was on to cookie-cutting at Carter’s station where the women used a fully operational chainsaw to cut tree cookies, a thin horizontal cross section of a tree.

“I love to demystify the use of this equipment because when the women overcome their initial reluctance, they gain a tangible sense of empowerment,” Kim said.

Of course, the tree cookies go home with the “graduates” as souvenirs to remind them of their chainsaw Can-Do experience at the Expo.

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