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November 20, 2012

Urban forestry fellowships and scholarships

Two prominent conservation organizations are offering fellowships and scholarships in urban forestry.

The Garden Club of America is offering multiple fellowships in the amount of $4,000 each to be awarded to graduate or advanced undergraduate students studying urban forestry, environmental studies, horticulture, forestry, or a closely related field at any four-year college or university degree program in the United States. Applicants must be U.S. students who will be enrolled as juniors, seniors, or graduate students during the fellowship period (2013-2014).

To apply, visit the Garden Club of America Fellowship in Urban Forestry website. The application deadline is Jan. 31, 2013.

The Virginia Urban Forest Council, known as Trees Virginia (http://treesvirginia.org/joomla/), is offering three scholarships totaling $4,000 to be awarded to applicants who best demonstrate financial need, academic excellence, and a clear commitment to a career that will positively impact urban forests in Virginia and beyond.

Forms, eligibility requirements, and instructions can be found at the Virginia Urban Forest Council Scholarships in Urban Forestry website. The application deadline is Dec. 21, 2012.

Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co. Donates 150,000 Trees to Virginia

Galax-based Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co. has purchased 150,000 tree seedlings from the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) and is donating them for planting projects on private and public land across the Commonwealth in spring 2013. Since the introduction of the company’s 1-4-1 Program in the fall of 2007, Vaughan-Bassett has donated a total of 900,000 trees that clean the air, protect our waterways and enhance the quality of life throughout Virginia.

The 1-4-1 Program is the brainchild of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co. Chairman of the Board John Bassett who has been a pioneer in the sustainable forest products movement. The company donates one tree seedling for every tree it harvests for use in the manufacture of its adult bedroom furniture. The VDOF will get the donated seedlings into the hands of forest landowners, schools and other groups so that they can be planted in the spring.

Bassett said, “We are proud to be a partner with the Virginia Department of Forestry and of our role in helping our environment. We make 99 percent of our furniture in our Virginia and North Carolina factories, so we feel a special responsibility to make our bedroom furniture in the most environmentally responsible way that we can. The 1-4-1 Program is the key to us fulfilling that obligation.”

Workshop for Women Landowners Planned

Women who own or manage forestland or farmland in Albemarle, Fluvanna, Louisa, Nelson or Orange counties are invited to participate in a Women and Land workshop and dinner.

Created by women for women, the interactive workshop will be held Dec. 5th from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Ivy Creek Natural Area’s educational building. 1780 Earlysville Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903. Female natural resource professionals from the VDOF, the USDA Farm Services Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District will be the presenters.

To register, mail a registration form and a check, made payable to Thomas Jefferson SWCD, for $15 to Tracy McDonald, Virginia Department of Forestry, 900 Natural Resources Drive, Suite 800, Charlottesville, Va., 22903. The $15 registration fee includes dinner and all workshop materials. For more information about the workshop, please call Tracy McDonald at 434.220.9177.

Reservations must be made by Nov. 28. All participants will receive a three-ring binder packed with valuable information and tips to take home.

Donate a Tree to Troops

The holiday season can be difficult for families separated from an active duty military service member overseas. Trees For Troops (T4T) helps brighten the season with the gift of a real Christmas tree.

You can donate a tree that will be delivered to military men, women and families at military installations across the U.S. Trees for Troops Weekend is an annual event during which Christmas Tree farms, retail lots and nurseries across the country volunteer to host a trailer to gather donations and donate Christmas Trees.

Trees for Troops Weekend is Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2012. Consumers can help support T4T by making a tax-deductible donation or by purchasing trees to donate at various FedEx trailer drop locations. Donations are tax-deductible.

In 2011, Trees for Troops hit an all-time high by delivering 19,229 farm-grown Christmas Trees (18,769 within the U.S. and 460 overseas). Trees were donated by 750 Christmas Tree growers, retailers and their customers in 28 states.

Hot Ash Safety Facts

The improper disposal of ashes from fireplaces and woodstoves can cause wildland fires. Wood ashes retain enough heat to ignite other combustible materials for several days. High winds can uncover still-hot coals and start a wildfire.

To properly dispose of ashes, use a metal container that can be tightly closed with a metal lid. Dump ashes into the container. Douse the ashes with water. Place the lid on the container and place the closed container outside your home away from combustible materials. Leave ashes in the container for several days before disposing of them. Wood ash, once completely cooled, can safely be disposed.

Here’s what can you do to prevent forest and field fires igniting from hot wood ash:

  • DO NOT store your metal ash container on your deck, in your garage or in any location that may allow heat to transfer from those hot coals to nearby flammable items.
  • Once you are POSITIVE your container of ashes is “cold,” place in a pile and prepare your container for the next load.
  • DO NOT dispose of ashes in paper, plastic or cardboard containers.
  • DO NOT place hot ashes in a dumpster.
  • DO NOT assume the ashes are cold and pour them onto the ground (even into a hole) where leaves can blow onto them or the wind can stir up sparks.
  • Teach other family members about the dangers associated with hot ash disposal.

Winter Preparedness Week is Dec. 2-8, 2012

Last winter, snowstorms and cold temperatures affected every part of Virginia. Citizens suffered in the wake of power outages, icy roads and bored school children.

Winter Preparedness Week – set for Dec. 2-8 – is the time to get ready for possible bad weather. Here’s how to start preparing:

  • Make a plan. Decide on a meeting place outside of your neighborhood if your family is separated and cannot return home because of closed roads.Choose an out-of-town relative or friend to be your family’s point of contact for emergency communications.
  • Get a kit. Here are basic supplies for winter weather: three days’ food; three days’ water (a gallon per person per day); a battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio with extra batteries; and your written family emergency plan.
  • Stay informed. Before, during and after a winter storm, you should listen to local media for information and instructions from emergency officials. Be aware of winter storm watches and warnings and road conditions.

Additional information and resources are available online at www.ReadyVirginia.gov.