BLACKSBURG, Va. — To help grow businesses, Natural Area Management Services, in partnership with Virginia Cooperative Extension, is hosting a three-part webinar series to provide services to small-acreage clients.
The series runs from 2- 4 p.m. on March 10, 17, and 24 and uses a case-study approach where instructors will demonstrate how to utilize a checklist to assess a property, develop a land care plan, and implement various land management practices. 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.
The first webinar on March 10 will provide a brief overview of the Woods in Your Backyard educational program and resources available and will also describe the potential benefits offering these services can provide your business. In addition, it will explain how to communicate your message to clientele and what their motivations and interests are for natural area services. This session concludes by developing a land care plan for the case study property. The plan will include a map of the property along with descriptions of the various habitat units and management recommendations. The session features a variety of experts, which include:
- Jonathan Kays, a forestry Extension specialist with the University of Maryland Extension;
- Adam Downing, an Extension forestry agent with Virginia Cooperative Extension;
- Julianne Schieffer, an Extension urban forester, with Penn State Extension; and
- Craig Highfield, the director of Forest Programs for the Alliance for Chesapeake Bay.
The second webinar on March 17 covers two of the specific management practices determined as a high priority in the checklist and outlined in the land care plan for the case-study property. The first management recommendation covers how to improve tree health and habitat by thinning overcrowded trees and releasing chosen or crop trees. Finally, this session will discuss how to identify and mitigate the negative impacts of deer overabundance. The session features:
- Joe Rossetti, a Hardwood Forest Habitat Initiative coordinator for the Virginia Department of Forestry;
- Jonathan Kays, a forestry Extension specialist with the University of Maryland Extension; and
- Luke Macaulay, a wildlife management specialist with the University of Maryland Extension.
The final session on March 24 covers two additional high-priority practices in the Natural Area Management Services checklist and is described in the land care plan for the case-study property. The first practice discusses how to convert unused lawn areas into a haven for wildlife by converting them to woods and meadows. This session will conclude by examining the invasive plant problems on the case-study property and how best to control them. The experts featured in this session are:
- Craig Highfield, the director of Forest Programs for the Alliance for Chesapeake;
- Ryan Davis, the program manager of Chesapeake Forests for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay; and
- Dave Jackson, a forest resources educator for Penn State Extension.
The webinar series costs $35, which includes the handbook and checklist, or $15 without the handbook or checklist. Visit Virginia’s Urban Forest Council to register or receive more information. Attendees can receive continuing education credits for the International Society of Arboriculture, the Society of American Foresters (pending approval), and Maryland Licensed Tree Experts (pending approval).
More information can be obtained by contacting Adam Downing at 540-948-6881 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Zeke Barlow, Virginia Tech University