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June, 2008

Smokey Bear Costume Creator Honored

Ed Rodger holds Goldern Smokey Award.The Golden Smokey Award honors sustained, outstanding contributions to wildland fire prevention programs. E. E. (Ed) Rodger recently received this award at a ceremony in Charlottesville.

When Ed Rodger began service with the then-Virginia Forest Service (now VDOF) in 1946, Smokey Bear was a new fire prevention symbol, having been introduced only two years earlier. Rodger quickly realized the value of Smokey Bear as a spokesperson to help educate young people. To help create a focal point for education programs, Rodger supervised the creation of the first Smokey Bear suit in 1951. Rodger was also instrumental in the design and production of “school kits” with activities and prevention messages for students. Games such as Smokey's Bingo and Smokey's Matching Game were designed around the bear, who always made a school appearance.

Use of the suit across the state helped build and strengthen prevention education programs. Virginia was the first state recognized with the Golden Smokey, in large part to the efforts and dedication of Rodger.

Following a career of more than 37 years of dedicated service in the area of Forest Fire/Wildfire Prevention and Education, Rodger retired from the agency in 1984.



Blog Keeps Readers Up To Date

If you prefer to get your news online, the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) has a new option for you. The agency's Division of Resource Information has created a blog called Virginia Forests.

“We plan to make 3 to 4 posts a month to this blog about forest health, forest resources, forest history, and best silvicultural practices,” said John Scrivani, resource information manager. “Posts have dealt with pre-blight chestnut distribution; the 1940 forest type map; the national woodlands owner survey, and the Southern Forest Futures project.

You can subscribe to this blog in a reader by clicking on the Subscribe in a reader link on the blog. Yahoo, Google, AOL and other readers are also supported.


New Mobile Data Collection System Hits The Ground

A technician records field data.A mobile computing software application in development by the VDOF has had its first field deployment. Now, county foresters and technicians will carry GPS-enabled computers. Using the computer touchscreens, the user can perform Tract-based GPS mapping and make notations on forest health. In the coming months, users will be able to enter harvest inspection and wildfire data while on site.

Since April 2006, foresters and field staff in Virginia have collected forestry data and keyed the information into a Web-based database, the Integrated Forest Resource Information System (IFRIS). Initially accessible only by desktop computer via the Web, IFRIS can now be used by these GPS-enabled mobile devices.

“Foresters can note the acreage of a forested tract and the various forest types within it,” notes John Scrivani, director of resource information with VDOF. “The capability to enter insect damage, other forest health information, harvest inspections and wildfire data, makes the devices valuable for a broad spectrum of the agency, and increases workforce productivity.”