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March 2010

Veteran VDOF Employee Honored by Governor McDonnell

Richard Thomas was honored Saturday by Gov. Bob McDonnell with this year's Excellence in Virginia's Fire Service Award.Edinburg resident Richard Thomas was honored Saturday by Gov. Bob McDonnell with this year's Excellence in Virginia's Fire Service Award. Thomas - who has been with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) for more than 39 years - is the Agency's assistant director of resource protection.

The Governor's Fire Service Awards were established in 2002 to formally recognize the men and women who put their lives on the line every day in order to protect the lives and property of others.

State Forester of Virginia Carl E. Garrison III said, “Richard's selection for this honor is truly well deserved.  He's dedicated his entire professional life to the service of others through his wildfire suppression and incident management efforts at the local, state and national levels. We're very proud of Richard, and we thank Governor McDonnell for his recognition of Richard's good work.”

For the last 12 years, Richard has been responsible for the operational aspects of VDOF's wildland fire response and statewide emergency efforts. He was also instrumental in the establishment of VDOF's renowned Wildland Fire Academy, which has trained more than 4,000 professional and volunteer firefighters over the past nine years.

VDOF Director of Resource Protection John Miller said, “Richard represents the best of Virginia's Fire Service on a daily basis, and his interaction with Agency personnel and cooperators serves as an example for all to follow.”

True to form, Richard's reputation for shining the spotlight on others was evident after hearing the news of his selection for the Excellence in Virginia's Fire Service Award. “It has been a real pleasure for me to have worked with so many great VDOF, Fire Department and other Agency personnel through the years. This award is as much theirs as it is mine. I'm honored to have been chosen and grateful to all.”

Healthy Watershed Through a Healthy Forest Initiative

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities has awarded the VDOF a $400,000 grant to introduce a sustainable forestry demonstration project in Central Virginia's South Fork Rivanna River Reservoir Watershed that will link landowners' financial interests and their forestland management practices in this area to urban consumers of the municipal water supply to influence landowner behavior in a way that reduces the costs of both urban and rural users of the water resource.

“Expensive, engineered technologies address the pollutant of concern,” said Buck Kline, VDOF's director of forestland conservation, “but often contribute little to improving other environmental values, such as air quality, biodiversity or carbon sequestration. This project will move beyond basic research to increase forest cover and the ecosystem services forests provide.”

The services of greatest interest are water quality (sediment and nutrient load reduction) and carbon sequestration. Virginia's Nutrient Credit Trading Program recognizes that establishing new forest cover through afforestation generates a nutrient load reduction (nitrogen and phosphorus) credit larger than any other offset practice.

The three-year project in Albemarle County will educate local governments, businesses, environmental entities and landowners on the value of forests and the ecosystem services they provide. The South Fork Rivanna Reservoir is the principal water source for 82,000 people in the Charlottesville area, and its watershed supplies approximately 96 percent of the surface water supply for the area.

Project partners include: VDOF; Conserv; Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority; Albemarle County Service Authority; Rivanna River Basin Commission; Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District; Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission; City of Charlottesville; County of Albemarle, as well as watershed landowners and businesses. The “Forests to Faucets Advisory Council” will offer technical and policy support to VDOF and Conserv.

Forestry Camp Seeks Students for 64th Annual Program

Holiday Lake Forestry Camp is seeking youth ages 13 - 16 for its annual week-long camp program that will be held June 14-19, 2010 at the Holiday Lake 4-H Center, located within the 20,000-acre Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest.

One of the longest-running Forestry Camps in the country - Holiday Lake Forestry Camp - is seeking youth ages 13 - 16 for its 64th annual week-long camp program that will be held June 14-19, 2010 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 the VDOF website and will be accepted until April 9, 2010.

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 $75 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.”

Tree seedlings selling fast;
order yours before they're gone

Each year, the Virginia Department of Forestry grows and sells more than 24 Million tree seedlings.

Each year, the VDOF grows and sells more than 24 million tree seedlings. And every year, many of the more than 40 species sell out before the harvest season ends in April. If you are looking to plant tree seedlings or reforest your land this year, you still have a few weeks remaining to order your seedlings. But don't wait too much longer as several species, including Allegheny Chinkapin, Black Cherry, Black Oak, Canaan Fir, Persimmon, Sugar Maple, American Plum, Sycamore, Shortleaf Pine and Loblolly Pine Elite, have already sold out.

This year, VDOF has expanded the quantities of its offerings. Seedlings are now available in bundles of 10 and 25; previously, the smallest quantity of bareroot seedlings available was 50.  Order yours today by visiting the VDOF Web store; calling the Augusta Forestry Center at 540.363.7000, or contacting your local VDOF office.