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April 2010

Remembering Alex Williamson

Alex Williamson served the Virginia Department of Forestry for more than 35 years.For more than 35 years, Alex Williamson personified the ideals of the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF). Initially hired as Chief Forest Warden in Halifax County, Williamson's leadership skills and cooperative spirit were evident in wildland firefighting, firefighter training, landowner support and student education activities. Williamson died following a highway accident March 12. He was 59 years old.

“I do not know a time when Alex wasn't available to answer an emergency call,” said David Snyder, assistant regional forester. “He was always there [for the VDOF] and the volunteer fire departments in the county. He worked as the incident commander on many occasions, and he used his significant organizational and people skills to direct an incident efficiently and safely. These skills were extremely valuable on local incidents as well as on state and national incidents.”

During his career, Williamson frequently traveled out-of-state on wildland fire assignments.

He was a frequent presence in elementary schools, where he conducted fire prevention programs with Smokey Bear. In the Halifax community, an entire generation has grown up under Williamson's presence and guiding influence about fire safety.

Alex Stace, area forester in Halifax County, said “He was just great at showing me the county. He had so much knowledge and experience, and was glad to show you how to do things, to answer your questions. He was a good teacher.”

A Vietnam veteran, Williamson was buried with full military honors. More than 300 people attended his funeral.

64th Annual Forestry Camp - Registration Ends Soon

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 23, 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.”

Seedling selling season ends this month

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 Yellow Poplar, Black Cherry, Black Oak, Allegheny Chinkapin, Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Canaan Fir, Persimmon, White Oak, American Plum, Sycamore, White Pine, Shortleaf Pine and Loblolly Pine (all varieties), 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.  Our seedling store will close for the season on April 23. Until then, you can order seedlings by visiting the VDOF Web store; calling the Augusta Forestry Center at 540.363.7000, or contacting your local VDOF office.