UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A four-part webinar series offered by Penn State Extension will give green industry professionals the knowledge they need to provide natural area management services.
The “Natural Area Management Services Webinar Series” will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 22 and 29, and Nov. 5 and 12. The program was created by the Woods in Your Backyard Partnership, which is comprised of Penn State Extension, University of Maryland Extension, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and the Virginia Department of Forestry.
Course content is designed to provide green industry professionals with skills needed to provide additional services to clientele, noted Penn State Extension educator David Jackson, who specializes in forest resources management.
“The Woods in Your Backyard educational program has worked with small-acreage owners for many years and has learned a lot about the potential market for land-care services,” said Jackson, who explained that small-scale natural area management services include wildlife habitat enhancement, forestry practices such as chosen tree management, tree planting, and invasive pest control.
Webinar dates and topics are as follows:
–Oct. 22: “Expanding Your Business: Land Care Practices on Small-Acreage Properties.” This introductory webinar addresses issues around improving woodland health and the motivations and interests of clientele for natural area services. It will provide an overview of land care practices, relevant certifications and the potential benefits this can provide a business. Communication with clientele also will be discussed.
–Oct. 29: “Land Care Practices for Woodland Health.” This webinar starts with a woodland ecology overview and the principles of succession. Land care practices such as converting lawn to natural area along with managing riparian buffers, modifying and/or improving wildlife habitat, and chosen tree management will be discussed.
–Nov. 5: “Land Care Practices for Woodland Health Continued.” This session features ways to improve privacy, aesthetics, create natural havens, improve recreational opportunities, and grow and harvest forest products. The use of integrated vegetation management, including how to control undesirable plants, herbicide selection, application methods, and invasive plant management will be reviewed.
–Nov. 12: “Introduction to Woodland Health Assessment and Incorporating Woodland Health Practices into Your Business.” This webinar introduces the Woodland Health Assessment Checklist. This new checklist allows the green industry professional help clients address issues with their property and identify management actions available. Other topics include how to develop a land care plan, marketing and when to include a forestry professional for certain practices.
A resource manual, the “Woodland Health Practices Handbook,” and the specialized checklist tool have been developed to complement the training and are included with registration. To register, visit https://extension.psu.edu/natural-area-management-services.
Continuing educations credits are available for the following: Society of American Foresters, International Society of Arboriculture, Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist, Pennsylvania Landscape Architect, professional development for engineers, and Landscape Contractors Association (Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia).
–Amy Duke, Penn State University