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November, 2010

Two VDOF Employees Win National Awards For Their Work

Fred Turck is pictured with the addition of the Golden Smokey to his prior Silver Smokey and Bronze Smokey awards.Two employees of the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) have been named best in America for the work they do in the Commonwealth.

State Forester of Virginia Carl E. Garrison III and Associate Director of Resource Protection Fred X. Turck were honored recently in separate ceremonies during the National Association of State Foresters’ conference in Orlando.

Garrison, of Louisa County, received the American Tree Farm System’s 2010 Sustained Excellence Award.  The award recognizes Garrison for “providing outstanding support and collaboration to private forest landowners in forest conservation efforts.” (There are more than 375,000 private forest landowners in Virginia.)

Garrison has served as State Forester since November 2004 where he is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the 260-employee agency.  He is both a Registered Forester and a Certified Forester and a graduate of Virginia Tech.

Turck, of Sussex County, earned a Golden Smokey – the highest honor bestowed by the US Forest Service – for outstanding wildfire prevention service over at least a two-year period that is national in scope.  Turck, who is responsible for fire prevention and education at the VDOF, was recognized for “outstanding service in the prevention of human-caused wildfires and increasing public recognition and awareness of the need for continuing wildfire prevention efforts.”  (With the addition of the Golden Smokey to his prior Silver Smokey and Bronze Smokey awards, Turck becomes only the third person in the world and the second Virginian to be so honored since the awards began in 1957.)

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture & Forestry Todd Haymore said, “I’ve always said that the Commonwealth has some of the best employees in America, and the recognition of these fine employees of the Virginia Department of Forestry by two national organizations confirms that. I’m extremely proud of the work Carl Garrison and Fred Turck do for our citizens, and I congratulate them on their national honors.”

State of the Forest Report Details Changes and Challenges

As the national economy and state budget continue to present VDOF with challenges, we continue to follow our mission of protecting the public; providing services to landowners, and developing public/private partnerships to create and maintain jobs within the forest products industry. You can read about these activities in our annual report, the 2010 State of the Forest.

One of the most significant and far-reaching projects undertaken this year was the development of the State Assessment and the associated Strategic Plan. Mandated by the 2008 Farm Bill, we conducted a comprehensive examination of the Commonwealth’s forest resources and were able to identify the potential threats to those resources.

The State Assessment identified three important changes facing forestry; eight current and potential threats, as well as five multi-state and 10 Virginia-specific issues that demand our attention. To address these changes, threats and issues, VDOF developed a Strategic Plan that will help mitigate projected losses and bolster areas of opportunity delineated in the State Assessment.

To read these reports, visit our website.

Tomorrow Woods Estate Planning Workshop

Southeastern Virginia landowners interested in planning the future of their property can attend an estate planning workshop offered by the VDOF. This hands-on workshop provides legal and financial advice from experts experienced in estate planning and intergenerational land transfer. Landowner testimonials about estate planning issues and strategies will also be included.

Held in conjunction with VDOF's Tomorrow Woods program, this estate planning workshop helps property owners ensure that the goals for their property continue even after they’re no longer around to see it by providing funding towards the upfront costs of developing a conservation easement.

“Virginia landowners value their forest or farmland for many reasons, such as wildlife habitat, privacy, recreation, timber, hunting or the scenic qualities,” said Rob Suydam, a forest conservation specialist with VDOF. “They often know they want to preserve these values for the next generation of family members, but don’t know how to communicate that and make sure their wishes will be honored. In this workshop, we’ll show them what their options are, and how they can get started.”

The Tomorrow Woods Estate Planning Workshop will be held Jan. 19, 2011, at the Smithfield Center in Smithfield, Va. A $10 Registration/Application fee per person is required.  Lunch will be provided. Registration and forms can be found at

Deadline for registration is Jan. 10, 2011. For more information, please contact Rob Suydam at 804.328.3031.

Record Acorn Collection Effort

In York County, fifth graders from Magruder Elementary collected 165 pounds of white oak acorns during a field trip at New Quarter Park.Across the state, Virginians scoured fields and parking lots in search of acorns. Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops filled numerous brown bags. In York County, fifth graders from Magruder Elementary collected 165 pounds of white oak acorns during a field trip at New Quarter Park.

“The response was very good this year,” said Joshua McLaughlin, nursery forester. “We reached our goals for almost all of the species. With such a short window of opportunity to collect acorns, we really appreciate everyone’s help.”

Employees at the Augusta Forestry Center will sort the acorns, then place them in storage. Acorns will be planted early next year.

Research Review Now Available

The latest edition of the Forest Research Review – VDOF’s periodic publication from the Applied Forest Research Program – has just been published. Topics covered in this issue include:

  • Updates From University Research Cooperatives
  • Comparing Biosolids to Traditional Fertilizers for Lobolly Pine
  • Interplanting Loblolly Pine in Low-Density Plantations
  • Loblolly Pine Growth for Five Years Following Herbicide Release
  • Loblolly Pine Growth Following Chemical Site Preparation Compared to Age Two Release
  • Effects of Establishment Methods and Initial Seedling Size on Early Northern Red Oak Performance

You can download the review from our website at

And remember that the previous seven issues of the Forest Research Review as well as all publications from 56+ years of the VDOF Applied Forest Research Program can be found at