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January, 2014

Belfort Furniture Donates 34,000 Trees to Virginia

Dulles-based Belfort Furniture has purchased 34,000 tree seedlings that will be donated for planting projects around the Commonwealth of Virginia in spring 2014. Since partnering with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) in 2007, Belfort has donated more than 230,000 trees that help clean the air, protect our waterways and enhance the quality of life across the state.

VDOF Senior Area Forester Terry Lasher said, “Belfort cares deeply about the community and has a tremendous track record in this regard. The company donates one tree seedling for every piece of furniture it delivers annually. The Virginia Department of Forestry gets the donated seedlings into the hands of schools and other groups so that they can be planted each spring. The trees absorb carbon dioxide; prevent pollutants from fouling our waterways; provide shade in the summer; are esthetically pleasing year ‘round, and provide more than 5,000 forest products we use every day. It’s a terrific partnership!”

Belfort President and CEO Mike Huber said, “Belfort Furniture is proud to be able to plant a tree for every delivery we make, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Forestry. It's a wonderful opportunity for us to give back to our community and our environment. It's part of our belief that together, we can support healthy forests, healthy communities and responsible industry.”

Virginia Trees for Clean Water

The USFS Chesapeake Watershed Forestry Program has approved $108,000 in grant funding to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay by creating and supporting long-term and sustained tree canopy cover.

Citizen groups, educational institutions, private citizens and local governments within the Chesapeake Bay watershed are encouraged to apply for grants under the “Virginia Trees for Clean Water” program. Grants are awarded through this program for planting riparian buffers or trees in neighborhoods and communities. The grant covers projects to be undertaken and completed during the spring and early fall of 2014.

The goal of the program is to plant trees that restore and improve the waters of the Chesapeake Bay for the benefit of current and future citizens of the Commonwealth. Types of eligible projects include riparian buffer tree planting as well as community and neighborhood tree plantings.  Successful proposals will demonstrate “on-the-ground accomplishments” to obtain clean water in the Chesapeake Bay; the merit of the project and how the trees will be maintained in perpetuity. Funding is available on a 50/50 match basis.  In-kind match, including volunteer time, is permissible. 

The grant application deadline is Feb. 13, 2014. To learn more about the Virginia Trees for Clean Water grant program, visit the VDOF website.

Managing Deer on Virginia’s State Forests

Maintaining and sustaining wildlife habitat is one of the goals of state forest management. Heavy browsing on seed, seedlings and saplings can result in unacceptably low amounts of regeneration. Scheduled hunts of whitetail deer can help reduce this threat to forest health, and VDOF hosts these events on two of the state forests.

VDOF hosted its annual Wheelin’ Sportsmen deer hunt on the Matthews State Forest. Five hunters tagged 12 deer, including a six-point and an eight-point buck - during a two-day period.

Wheelin’ Sportsmen, an outreach program of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to enjoy sports, such as hunting and fishing. This is the sixth year VDOF has partnered with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) and the NWTF on this event.

Deer hunts also took place on the Conway Robinson State Forest in Prince William County.  The  rules of the hunt are designed to harvest antlerless deer, and thereby fulfill the goal of reducing the white-tailed deer population. In 2013, 13 of the 15 deer harvested were antlerless.  The remaining two were spikes.  The two deer that tied for largest field dressed to 85 pounds, with the average filed dressed at 63 pounds.  Locally, there is great interest in the program; 23 hunters participated, and many of them also participated in previous years.

In addition to providing the site and facilities, VDOF personnel provided transportation and general assistance for the hunters; guide services; game recovery and processing, and logistical support.

Forest Research Review – From Snail Mail to E-mail

Research personnel with the VDOF announced changes to the release of information in its Forest Research Review publication. The 60-year-old Applied Forest Research Program will move from mailing printed publications to an electronic delivery system using a subscription-based emailing system. 

“In addition to reducing postage costs, this move will also make it easier to distribute results immediately as they become available rather than collecting them for an annual consolidated publication,” said Jerre Creighton, VDOF research program manager. 

It’s easy to continue receiving publications and other information from the Applied Research Program.   This free subscription site can also be accessed.  Be sure to select “Forest Research” under the subscriber list options; current subscribers to Forestry News must also visit the website and make this selection. You’ll receive email notifications containing links to any new reports or other information as soon as they become available.

All VDOF Research Program printed publications have been archived on our web site in PDF format. 

New Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline

Concerned citizens seeking information and assistance related to human-wildlife interactions now have to go no further than their telephone for technical information and assistance. The Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline is a new resource to address human-wildlife interactions by sharing science-based wildlife information. The helpline is available toll-free at 855.571.9003, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Techniques recommended to the public are environmentally sound, safe, and selective and meet wildlife professionals' standards. Individuals are helped with “do-it-yourself” instructions and are provided with the necessary information and literature, referred to websites when appropriate, or directed to other sources of assistance. In those instances where more specific technical assistance is needed, callers are linked up with subject matter experts.

The helpline is a collaborative effort between DGIF and the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Wildlife Services (WS).

Stories Share “Love of the Land”

Conservation is not just about the land, but the people, legacies and memories that go with it.  To uncover and share these stories, the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) published “For the Love of the Land: 100 Conservation Stories From Across Virginia.”

The conservation success stories come from all over Virginia and represent every legislative district. Those stories include:

  • Gascony Farm in Northumberland County
  • Middle River Farm in Madison County
  • Feedstone Hunt Club in Rockingham County
  • Beaver Pond Farm in Mecklenburg County
  • Blackwater 4, including the Blackwater Sandhills Natural Area Preserve in Isle of Wight County

The publication is available on PEC’s website as a free PDF download at

DOF Personnel News

Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe reappointed Todd Haymore as Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.

Timothy Minich is our new Technician in the Shenandoah work area.  He has a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry from Northern Arizona University and previously worked for VDOF on the Open Lands Initiative.

Rhonda Prillaman is our new Technician in the Blue Ridge work area.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry from Virginia Tech and previously worked for VDOF on the Open Lands Initiative. 

Wacetia Stainback is our new Program Support Technician at the Garland Gray Forestry Center.  She previously worked as an Office Services Specialist for the Department of Corrections.

Bruce Edwards, Water Quality Specialist in the Eastern Region, is retiring after 38 years of service.

David Snyder, Senior Area Forester in the Central Region, died November 30. He is survived by his wife, Joy. He served VDOF for 25 years.