Virginia landowners interested in learning more about the value of their forest land and how to take a more active role in the management of their property have an opportunity during a weekend retreat at the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center in Appomattox, Va.

“This first-of-its-kind retreat for forest landowners in Virginia will be an outstanding opportunity for people to learn the real value of their woodlands,” said Neil Clark, forestry Extension agent in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources. “With the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest as our ‘classroom,’ participants will be fully engaged in this interactive learning experience that will help them deal with the many issues they confront on a daily basis,” added Clark, who serves the Suffolk County area for Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Topics for the retreat include pine and hardwood management, timber appraisals and sales, wildlife habitat improvement, soil and water resource protection, land conservation strategies, alternative forestry crops, and more.

“We developed this program solely to help private forest landowners reach the objectives they have for their woodland property. Whether they are interested in preserving the beauty of their land, harvesting timber, or enhancing wildlife habitat, this retreat has something for every forest landowner,” said Ellen Powell, conservation education coordinator with the Virginia Department of Forestry. Of Virginia’s 15.8 million forested acres, more than 12 million acres are owned by nearly 400,000 private landowners.

With the support of the Ballyshannon Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, the cost for the Oct. 24-26 weekend retreat is just $35 per person or $50 per couple, which includes all educational sessions, materials, two nights’ lodging, and five meals. Participants choosing not to stay overnight pay just $25 per person or $35 per couple. Financial assistance is available.

The deadline to register is Sept. 22, 2008. Contact Neil Clark at (757) 657-6450 ext. 406 to register, to obtain more information, or if you have a disability and need assistance.

The College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech consistently ranks among the top five programs of its kind in the nation. Faculty members stress both the technical and human elements of natural resources and instill in students a sense of stewardship and land-use ethics. As a land-grant university, Virginia Tech serves the Commonwealth of Virginia in teaching, research, and Extension.

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