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December, 2007

Holiday Tree Delivered to State Capitol

A crane was used to unload the tree from Craig County and hoist it to its location.Pictured left to right: VDOF employees
  Chris Thomsen, John Carroll and Bart Pfautz stand in front of the 2007 Capitol
  Christmas Tree.A 23-foot Colorado Blue Spruce now adorns the Virginia State Capitol, courtesy of the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF). The 1,200-pound tree was harvested in Craig County, and VDOF employees transported the tree to Richmond and installed it on the south portico of the Capitol.

Sue Bostic, a Christmas tree grower in Craig County, located the tree and arranged for the donation. Governor Kaine and First Lady Holton presided over a tree lighting ceremony November 30. (Pictured left to right: VDOF employees Chris Thomsen, John Carroll and Bart Pfautz stand in front of the 2007 Capitol Christmas Tree.)









Deer Hunts for Disabled/Handicapped Sportsmen at New Kent

Hunters relax at the end of the day.During this hunting season, disabled hunters gather at the New Kent Forestry Center. More than 25 volunteers and hunters participate in several scheduled hunts hosted at the center.

“We want to help everyone hunt who wants to hunt,” said Doug Audley, a VDOF forester in Amelia County. “If a hunter wants to be a part of a hunt, we want to help him or her realize that goal.”

Volunteers from VDOF, Virginia Cooperative Extension and the McGuire Veterans Hospital staff assist the hunters. There are 24 permanent stands on the center property – 12 “ground” stands that are wheelchair accessible, and 12 “tree” stands, originally constructed for use by the helpers of the disabled hunters.

Hunters participate in archery hunts, black powder hunts and open hunts throughout the season.

(Pictured, left to right: Donald Hixson, retired VDOF employee and hunt volunteer; James Mayo, in wheelchair; Frank Dandridge; John Sharpe, hunt volunteer)

Wild Turkeys and Forestry: An Ongoing Partnership

National
  Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF)Good forest management means more wild turkeys! A chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) has partnered with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to improve access to the 7,500 acre Big Survey Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Wythe County. A new road will create access to 1,650 acres of the area for habitat management. Improved access will allow for forest management activities and result in 122 acres of brood rearing habitat for turkeys and other early successional species.

The NWTF has recently expanded its partnership with state forestry agencies to emphasize to the public that active forest management is necessary for healthy wildlife populations. Active forest management includes timber harvests, timber stand improvements, Best Management Practices, forestry cost-share programs, invasive species control, and tree disease management. Active management benefits the health of our forests and our soil and water resources, and perpetuates thriving wildlife populations.

The NWTF High Mountain Longbeards Chapter in Wytheville, Va., spearheaded this project in Virginia, and similar projects are underway throughout the nation.

Some benefits of active timber management for wild turkey:

  • Slash left from timber thinnings or timber stand improvements provide vital nesting areas for hens and, when stacked into piles, provide habitat for other wildlife, such as rabbits and small mammals.
  • Harvested timber infested with insects or disease create small forest openings that provide early successional habitat that produces high insect numbers that poults must have to develop.
  • Timber stand improvements remove less desirable tree species for wildlife and allow those that are beneficial for wildlife and as timber products to prosper.
  • Using prescribed fire in forest stands improves understory habitat by stimulating the growth of grasses and forb species that provide food and cover for turkeys.
  • Thinning pine plantations increases sunlight reaching the forest floor causing a flush of grass and forb species that provide food and cover for turkeys.
  • Practicing Best Management Practices and recognizing Streamside Management Zones provides travel corridors and turkey roosting areas along streams and creeks.

The National Wild Turkey Federation is a non-profit conservation organization in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and several European countries. Its mission is the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of the hunting heritage. For more information on forestry projects in Virginia, contact the NWTF Regional Biologist for the area, Dowd Bruton, at 336.957.5023 or go to the website, www.nwtf.org.