Owning wooded property is a great joy to many landowners in West Virginia. Landowners with wooded properties can watch wildlife, commune with nature, and relax in the privacy of the surrounding trees. Other parts of landownership can be more difficult as neighbors, financial constraints, storm and pest damage, and road maintenance are thrown into the mix. Add to that the need or desire to sell timber and landownership suddenly becomes extremely complex.
The West Virginia Tree Farm Program is made up of woodland owners and forest conservation professionals who enjoy learning more about the complexity of woodlands and sharing that information with others. As a member of the Tree Farm Program, landowners have many great benefits.
Tree Farm members have access to forestry professionals and state legislatures through their contacts with the West Virginia Forestry Association, the sponsoring organization. They also have access to educational programming featuring experts in forestry, wildlife, and other conservation specialties.
One of the big benefits is being able to meet with and learn from other West Virginia Tree Farmers. Both virtual woodland education seminars and field-based workshops are offered throughout the state. Plus, Tree Farmers get a cool sign to post on the entryway to their properties.
Tree Farmers can be nominated for the Tree Farmer of the Year. They can even go on to win regional and national contests. The Plitt Tree Farm Scholarship is set up to award a first- or second-year college bound Tree Farm family member $1,000 toward their college tuition.
Landowners who join the WV Tree Farm Program are instantly connected with a national network of woodland owners and forestry agencies and organizations. Once landowners get a Tree Farm plan, they are enabled to go on to sign up for other cost-share conservation practices and tax incentive programs with conservation agencies.
To become a pioneer or certified Tree Farm in West Virginia, you will need a woodland stewardship plan that addresses the Tree Farm Sustainability Standards. This might sound daunting, but with the help of a WV Tree Farm Inspector, this process can be very helpful for landowners to get connected with a conservation professional and wanting to learn more about their woodlands.
If you are interested in finding out more about the WV Tree Farm Program or getting in touch with a local Tree Farm Inspector to get nominated for membership, contact Dave McGill, Chair—WV Tree Farm Committee; 304-293-5930; firstname.lastname@example.org.