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November 2013

Ron Maxwell Receives Crown Award

Writer-director Ron Maxewell receives VDOF's Crown Award from State Forester Carl Garrison.Ron Maxwell, writer-director of the Civil War epics “Gods and Generals” and “Gettysburg,” has been awarded the Virginia Department of Forestry’s (VDOF) highest civilian honor – the Crown Award.

Maxwell, a Rappahannock County landowner, has been a proponent of conservation easements to preserve working forests. In an area of Virginia experiencing tremendous development pressure and soaring land value, his own land is in a conservation easement; he has encouraged his neighbors to do the same, and he has worked with the Piedmont Environmental Council on a number of initiatives and efforts.

In accepting the award, Maxwell captivated the audience with an artfully crafted musing on the physical and emotional connections between ourselves, the environment and history.

The VDOF established the Crown Award to recognize an individual or entity that has not only gone beyond the call of duty but has set a standard of excellence others can only admire. It is the highest honor the State Forester of Virginia can bestow, and Maxwell is only the fifth recipient of this award. The award was presented by State Forester Carl Garrison at the annual meeting of the National Association of State Foresters (NASF).

Plow and Hearth Donates 136,000 Trees

Madison-based Plow and Hearth has donated 136,000 tree seedlings for planting in spring 2014 around the Commonwealth of Virginia. Since partnering with the VDOF in 1991, Plow and Hearth has donated more than 2.73 Million trees that help clean the air, protect our waterways and enhance the quality of life across the state.

Plow and Hearth President John Haydock said, “Plow and Hearth is proud to be able to plant two trees for every one used in the production of the catalogue. Our longstanding partnership with the VDOF enables us to give back to the community. We support all the values that healthy forests provide, values that we can appreciate every day from our Madison office.”

Indonesian Youth Group Tours VDOF

Denny McCarthy (back row, fourth from left) poses with the student leaders.Sixteen student leaders from Indonesia visited the VDOF’s Salem Regional Office as part of Legacy International’s Youth Leadership Development Program. The two-hour session combined natural resource management and concepts to develop, train and retain volunteers.

“We discussed the Master Naturalist Program, emphasizing volunteer management, recognition and retention,” said Denny McCarthy, senior area forester in Roanoke, Craig, Botetourt and Bedford counties. “This program organizes and trains volunteers who accomplish a great variety of natural resource-related projects and improvements. We hope students will look at this example and find ways to incorporate similar ideas and methods of volunteerism towards their own project goals at home, most of which will likely have an environmental theme and impact.”

The visit was part of a three-week stay in the United States for the student delegation. The goals of the trip are cultural immersion, environmental awareness and civic engagement.

Virginia 50MW woody biomass plant successfully generates electricity

A biomass plant in Halifax County, Va., has successfully generated renewable electricity. The NOVEC Energy Production, Halifax County Biomass plant (NEPHCB) will generate up to 49.9MW of electricity using waste wood from logging operations in Southside Virginia as fuel. The wood waste will be converted into wood chips and then introduced into the boiler to create steam which, in turn, will drive turbines to create electricity.

Located on a 104-acre site in the Halifax County Industrial Park, the plant will use “reclaimed water” from the local water authority for plant cooling water. As a result, it will not discharge any water into the Dan River during normal operation. It will also recycle leftover wood ash.

Be a Bay Friend

The Chesapeake Bay is among the nation’s greatest natural resources and one of its most challenged bodies of water. Chesapeake Bay seafood is prized around the world and Virginia ranks third in the nation for seafood production. A cleaner Bay is also good for business – more tourism, more seafood and more jobs.

Virginians can help keep the bay clean by purchasing a “Friend of the Chesapeake” license plate. Each purchase of the revenue-sharing license plates generates $15 for the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund. The funds will help citizens keep the bay healthy by restoring wetlands, planting buffers around waterways, promoting marine life restoration, decreasing pollution and providing educational programs.

To purchase a plate, visit the DMV website.

Tax Tips

You can stay current on tax changes and related information courtesy the “Tax Tips for Forest Landowners for the 2013 Tax Year.” This annual publication from the U.S. Forest Service covers topics, such as cost-share payments, selling timber and timber basis, with examples in each category. You can find these tips and much more on our Tax Information webpage.

Share Fire Safety This Season

Holiday safety should be on your “to do” list during the holiday season. Officials with the VDOF are offering these safety tips to help homeowners celebrate safely and reduce the risk of fire.

Holiday Trees

  • DO NOT use candles on or near the tree.
  • Place the tree away from heat sources, such as fireplaces and heaters.
  • Keep your holiday tree in a sturdy base filled with water. Check the water level daily.
  • Safely dispose of your tree before it becomes dangerously dry. NEVER burn the tree or tree parts in your fireplace.

Holiday Lights

  • Use “UL” approved lights.
  • Examine all indoor and outdoor lights for frayed cords - replace if necessary.
  • Never use lights that have an empty socket.
  • Lights should not touch combustible materials.
  • “Indoor” lights should never be used outdoors.
  • Avoid using extension cords, but if you do follow instructions carefully.
  • Do not overload electrical circuits, such as wall outlets and extension cords. Use a circuit strip.

Holiday Gift Wrap

  • Keep combustible materials away from heat sources.
  • Never burn wrappings in your fireplace.