Forestry News electronic newsletter masthead









April, 2009

Ecosystem Services Conference Achieves Goals

The Ecosystem Services Conference held in Charlottesville marked the first time such an event had been held in the area. The conference drew more than 200 attendees from national and international locations. They explored the design and implementation of ecosystem service markets and the development of tools to enhance landowner participation in these markets.

“Everyone who attended was very enthusiastic for the conference,“ said Buck Kline, manager of ecosystem services for the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF). “It's unique to have an event like this, and it drew experts from the United States and abroad. Having all of these professionals together, presenting and educating, made for a very exciting event.“

The first day of the conference featured a series of speakers giving a broad, national-level overview of ecosystem service market considerations and initiatives. The second day featured a series of three panels: Carbon; Water Quality (nutrient trading), and Mitigation Banking. Attendees participated in interactive question and answer sessions that followed each presentations.

State Nurseries See Decline In Seedling Sales

The nation's economic slowdown has reached the forests of Virginia. Officials with the VDOF said that sales of tree seedlings are down about 30% from the previous year. Of the 32 million seedlings planted, 22.6 million have already sold. Of the 9.5 million still available, the bulk of them, about 8.5 million, are pines. The rest are hardwood species. The VDOF grows 45 species of pine and hardwood tree seedlings each year.

“Most seedlings are sold to landowners to reforest their land,” said John Carroll, deputy state forester. “Our research programs develop high-quality seedlings that grow faster and straighter than other varieties of seedlings.” He added, “The nurseries are self-funding, and we make every effort to keep our operating margins reasonable as well as to stay competitive.” Carroll noted that the nurseries said the sales declines reflect similar declines across the south and nationwide.

Though sales have declined overall, several species, including Black Cherry, Red Maple, Sycamore, Crab Apple and Yellow Poplar, have already sold out. Approximately 40 species of seedlings are still available and can be purchased either by mail or online. Visit the VDOF website to place an order.

The VDOF grows all of its seedlings on two sites in Virginia. The Augusta Forestry Center in Crimora raises hardwoods and softwoods in seedbeds covering 100 acres. The Garland Gray Forestry Center in Courtland has 80 acres of sandy soils, which are ideal for pine seedling production.

Forestry Camp Seeks Students for 63rd Annual Program

The longest-running Forestry Camp in the country - Holiday Lake Forestry Camp - is seeking youth ages 13 - 16 for its 63rd annual week-long camp program that will be held June 15-20, 2009 at the Holiday Lake 4-H Center, located within the 20,000-acre Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest.

The longest-running Forestry Camp in the country - Holiday Lake Forestry Camp - is seeking youth ages 13 - 16 for its 63rd annual week-long camp program that will be held June 15-20, 2009 at the Holiday Lake 4-H Center, located within the 20,000-acre Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest.

Teachers, natural resource professionals and others may nominate youth for this outstanding program. Nomination forms are available on theVDOF website and will be accepted until April 20, 2009.

Financial sponsorships from forest industries, conservation agencies, associations and individuals cover most of the cost of the Camp.

Financial sponsorships from forest industries, conservation agencies, associations and individuals cover most of the cost of the Camp. Each camper selected to attend receives a $200 “scholarship,” which means each camper pays just $60 to participate in the week-long, residential program.

“Forestry Camp is much more than a walk in the woods, said Ellen Powell, conservation education coordinator with the Virginia Department of Forestry. “Campers experience hands-on learning about wildlife habitat, tree identification, timber harvesting, reforestation, environmental protection, and more. They also take part in exciting field trips, exploratory classes, outdoor recreation, and a Lumberjack Field Day.”

Financial sponsorships from forest industries, conservation agencies, associations and individuals cover most of the cost of the Camp. Each camper selected to attend receives a $200 “scholarship,” which means each camper pays just $60 to participate in the week-long, residential program.

“Forestry Camp is much more than a walk in the woods, said Ellen Powell, conservation education coordinator with the Virginia Department of Forestry. “Campers experience hands-on learning about wildlife habitat, tree identification, timber harvesting, reforestation, environmental protection, and more. They also take part in exciting field trips, exploratory classes, outdoor recreation, and a Lumberjack Field Day.”

Forestry Information Delivered by Twitter

Emerging Web technologies, collectively dubbed “Web 2.0,” look for new and creative ways to deliver information via wireless and Web-enabled devices. Twitter.com is one such technology, and the VDOF sends out short text messages, “tweets,” to update subscribers through their cellphones.

“Consumers are comfortable having information fed to them, and they can sift through it to find what they're interested in,” said Gregg O'Donnell, Webmaster for the VDOF. “With Twitter, we can target this activity more precisely, and keep our stakeholders up-to-date with the agency. For example, we send out tweets of the daily forest fire report, news releases, training events and deadlines, and grant announcements.” O'Donnell noted that the VDOF updates Twitter once or twice a day.

Interested in following the VDOF through Twitter? Visit http://twitter.com/ForestryVA to subscribe.