Join the Horn Farm Center, Foggy Blossom Farm, PA DCNR, and Penn State Extension for a full day of learning, harvesting, and creative inspiration. We’re demonstrating how agroforestry–an agricultural production system that integrates perennial plants like trees and shrubs–can support ecological health, a local cottage industry, and community connections to nature. Learn more and register below!
Agroforestry Work & Learn: Coppicing, Live Staking, and Basketry
Over the past five years, the Horn Farm Center has established 16 acres of multifunctional riparian buffers that bring together ecological restoration, local economic opportunity, and creative possibility.
Through a combination of hands-on volunteering and educational programs, we’ll spend the day exploring two versatile agroforestry products taking shape in the Horn Farm Center’s riparian buffers: shrub willows for basketry and native riparian plants suitable for live staking, or rooting from cuttings. Participants will experience the following:
- Managing a willow shrub field, including annual coppicing, sorting, and bundling to prepare rods for sale or later use in basketry.
- Using cuttings from native woody plants for propagation in home nurseries, community spaces, and riparian restorations.
- A tour of the ways that forestry and agroforestry products are helping remediate impaired woodlands at the Horn Farm.
- An introductory workshop on artisanal willow basketry presented by our friends at Foggy Blossom Farm.
Whether you are new to agroforestry or a seasoned land steward, this Agroforestry Work & Learn offers hands-on experience in the field, time with fellow agroforestry enthusiasts, and the opportunity to hear from experts and practitioners from the Horn Farm, Foggy Blossom Farm, and our state partners. Participants will also get to take home willow materials and live stake cuttings for their own projects.
To learn more about the Horn Farm Center’s work with multifunctional riparian buffers, visit our Horn Farm Ecosystem blog installment: For The Whole Stream. This Work & Learn commences our annual Winter Willow Workday volunteer series, which invites community members to participate in our annual willow harvest while learning about budding agroforestry and restoration systems at the Horn Farm. Learn more about other upcoming workdays at hornfarmcenter.org/winter-willow-workdays/.
This Work & Learn is a collaboration between the Horn Farm Center, Foggy Blossom Farm, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Penn State Extension.
- 9:00AM - 10:30AM Willow Coppicing | Visit to the field to coppice, sort, and bunch willow rods. Instructors will discuss establishing, caring for, and using basketry willow varieties.
- 10:30AM - 10:45AM Break | Pause for snacks and bathroom break, move to a different site.
- 10:45AM - 11:45AM Multifunctional Riparian Buffer Tour & Live Stake Cutting | Visit 8-acre multifunctional riparian buffer (under restoration management since 2020) to discuss native plants, their uses, and live stake propagation. Gather and prepare live stakes for optional take-home planting.
- 11:45AM - 12:00PM Break + Q&A | Answer remaining questions and share upcoming opportunities.
- 12:00PM - 1:00PM Woodland Tour | Tour of the Horn Farm’s woodlands and wild spaces to learn about site-sourced, wildcrafted infrastructure for ecological restoration.
- 2:00PM - 3:00PM Intro to Basketry | Discuss and demonstrate the foundations of weaving artisianal baskets from willow rods. Hosted by Dan and Betsy at Foggy Blossom Farm.
- NOTE: This concluding session will take place at the Hellam Township Municipal Building (35 Walnut Springs Rd, York, PA 17406).
Who is this for?
Regenerative agroforestry offers environmental, economic, and cultural benefits, so everyone has something to gain in learning more about this enriching and locally-focused work. If you’re generally curious or intrigued, join us! This Work & Learn is particularly useful for:
- Homeowners and farmers with riparian buffers and/or an interest in forest farming.
- Artists and folk crafters curious about willow arts and sourcing materials.
- Organizations and collectives interested in community orchards, urban agroforestry, permaculture, and green economic development.
- Landowners and conservation volunteers interested in bolstering woodlands with sustainable, place-sourced materials.
What to bring:
Please wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes, dress for the weather, and bring your own water bottle (refills will be available). Please also pack in snacks like granola bars and fruit for the rest periods between scheduled sessions. Ample time is provided for lunch between 1PM and 2PM. For the morning work session, participants may use their own work gloves, loppers, and pruners; however, we will have plenty of these materials on hand to borrow.
Note that the Horn Farm Center does not have indoor facilities at this time. Please dress with the expectation of spending 3 to 4 hours outdoors. For restrooms, there are two regularly-cleaned portable toilets on site. For the 2PM-3PM session, we will relocate to an alternate site that is temperature-controlled and has indoor restrooms.
Physical activity note:
This workday will require moderate physical labor including bending, carrying, repetitive hand and arm motions using manual pruners and loppers, and spending time outside in cold temperatures.
Please review the Horn Farm's Volunteer Waiver and Release Form before your arrival.
About the Instructors
Wilson Alvarez is a certified permaculture designer, inventor, gardener, skilled tracker, bowyer, nature-awareness instructor, and writer from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. For the past fourteen years, he has taught classes and workshops on bio-intensive agriculture, regenerative technology, foraging, hunting, trapping, tracking, and wilderness survival. Wilson has studied through the Wilderness Awareness School via the Kamana program, and he received his Permaculture Design Certificate via Susquehanna Permaculture. At the Horn Farm Center, Wilson serves as the lead land steward and educator. He teaches classes, workshops, and the Horn Farm's signature Land Steward Training Program.
Robbie Coville is an Ecosystem Products and Markets Specialist with PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry. Robbie works to build capacity for agroforestry and non-timber forest products, to assist the public in understanding ecosystem services and incentive programs, and to connect landowners with stewardship professionals to support forest health. He can be reached at email@example.com or by call or text to 717-614-0503.
Cathryn (Cat) Pugh is a Forestry and Wildlife Educator with Penn State Extension. Her programs support the development and growth of industries and education around agroforestry and native plants in Pennsylvania. Learn more about some of Cat's work by watching her Forest Farming Webinar Series or sign up for in-person plant walks and agroforestry events on the Penn State Extension website. To connect with Cat, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Centre County Extension Office at 814-359-7480.
Dan & Betsy Brockett
Perennial plant steward / basket weaver and interdisciplinary artist / writer & photographer, respectively, at Foggy Blossom Farm.
Dan Brockett creates handwoven baskets from willow grown on his 12-acre property in Leechburg, Pennsylvania. As a grower turned self-taught artist, there is an element of companionship with, and reverence for, his material that permeates every project. From choosing the willow varieties he plants to eventually harvesting and selecting each rod for a specific basket, Dan’s desire to be in relationship with all aspects of his craft is the driving force behind his work.
York, PA 17406
|$5 Suggested Donation|
|Willow Coppicing & Buffer/Live Stake Tour (9AM-12PM)||$0.00|
|Woodland Tour (12PM-1PM)||$0.00|
|Intro to Basketry Workshop (2PM-3PM)||$0.00|