In the past, driving across a few counties to spend a full day attending an in-person WV Division of Forestry BMP Recertification Course every couple of years was the only way to obtain the required credits for your WV Certified Logger Recertification Application. A 2019 WV Senate Bill (No. 404), opened recertification training requirements to 3rd party trainings that have been approved and credited by the WV Division of Forestry. This bill also established that loggers must have a total of six continuing education credits during every renewal period, two of those credits must be the current West Virginia law and Best Management Practices (BMPs) and the remaining four can be collected through a variety of approved continuing education programs. Loggers must still apply for recertification with an application to the WV Division of Forestry with these training requirements, a current CPR/First Aid certification, and fee.
As COVID shut down or adjusted many in-person activities, the WVU Appalachian Hardwood Center partnered with the WV Division of Forestry to develop two online training opportunities that provide the required two-credit WV Law and BMPs training and a selection of recorded continuing education programs credits that could be used for the additional four credits.
The WV Division of Forestry still provides the full-day, in-person training option that includes both the WV Law and BMPs and the additional four credits of professional development topics such as SFI, OSHA, and others for those that would like to dedicate a single day for all the required logger training. This training is the same training that is needed for initial certification and will often be a review of material that established certified loggers may have heard several times. With WVU’s online training platform, a fully online system is available for the required topics and providing a wide selection of new and emerging topics that the logger can choose the most interesting topics to complete.
WVU’s online programs are free of charge but do require you to have access to a good internet connection, have an email address, and have basic internet/computer skills. If you have ever online shopped, read the news online, or browsed Facebook or other social media, you have the necessary skills to complete your training online.
The programs are interactive and provide a presentation (a mixture of written, video, and audio formats) and then ask you to answer a few questions regarding the topics. These simple multiple-choice questions help confirm that you watched the material and should be able to apply these topics to your harvesting activities. Both online programs provide the logger the opportunity to save their progress and come back to finish the program at another time, providing flexibility to complete these whenever they may have some extra time. Upon completion of a program, a certificate will be automatically generated and sent to the logger and forwarded to the WV Division of Forestry to update your official training records.
With many loggers requiring recertification soon, we invite you to try out these new training programs. With feedback and experience, we will work to continually add additional training topics and improve the quality and ease of use. We hope the additional flexibility of these online programs and variety of approved training topics will be an important addition to WV’s logger professional development training options.