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BOCES Tech Students Wowed By Industrial Wood Chipper

Urban forestry teacher John Madden puts a tree — a casualty of last week’s storm — into the chipper as students assist at the Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES Tech Center in Yorktown.
Urban forestry teacher John Madden puts a tree — a casualty of last week’s storm — into the chipper as students assist at the Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES Tech Center in Yorktown. Photo Credit: Contributed by Karen Thornton

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Urban forestry students at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES are getting a hands-on look at the type of professional equipment they could be using someday, thanks to the help of a former student.

John Madden’s urban forestry students are using a new Vermeer wood chipper, a $50,000 machine that is being “rented” to them free of charge by Vermeer North Atlantic, based in Lumberton, N.J.

“One of our former students works for Vermeer,” Madden said, “and I asked him if he could get us a used machine to use.”

Instead, Darren D’Agostino, Madden’s former student, told him that he could lend a new machine at no cost, after talking to company management.

Vermeer sales manager Ken Davis came to the BOCES campus in Yorktown last week to teach the students how to work the machine and “explain all the bells and whistles,” Madden said.

“We are so happy to support Tech’s urban forestry program,” Davis said, referring to the BOCES Tech Center. “There is nothing like it anywhere. Supporting the Tech program is good business as well. A lot of our customers are former students.”

Students are excited about having the machine on campus.

“It’s amazing that at BOCES we get to work with professional equipment at school,” said John Pasalic of Katonah.

The chipper reduces downtime on clearing fallen trees on the campus, as Madden pointed out after last week’s storm.

“We can pull an entire tree at a time into the chipper,” Madden said.

As for the future of the chipper, Davis said Vermeer will replace it with a new one when the time comes.

“As long as the school has the urban forestry program, we will continue our support,” he said.

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