Teachers will learn first-hand about Virginia hardwood forests during the eighth annual Trees-to-Products summer conference July 15-18 in Wise County.

Trees-to-Products is a professional development program designed to provide teachers with factual and credible information about Virginia’s hardwood forests. It is field-based, with trips to forests, a log yard, a sawmill, and other relevant locations. The information in the program is designed to fulfill the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) for biology, life sciences, economics, history, and resources. It also includes training in Project Learning Tree activities, an award-winning environmental education program for educators.

“When teachers get to learn through hands-on activities and visiting a forest products manufacturing facility, they will get a better understanding of everything from how we manage forests to how we harvest the trees and manufacture the many products from the forest,” said Bill Worrell, a forestry and natural resources Virginia Cooperative Extension agent in Russell County who coordinates the program. “With a hands-on approach, the teachers get a better appreciation of the entire process of growing trees, managing trees, harvesting trees, making forest products like lumber, flooring, and paper while practicing sustainable forest management to ensure the future of forests and the many benefits from the forest.”

A teacher who attended a past Trees-to-Products program said of the experience, “I’ll be able to add much greater depth and complexity to lessons to help students gain deeper understanding of the role of trees as a natural resource and the need for sustainable forestry.”

The Southwest Virginia Chapter of the Society of American Foresters sponsors the Trees-to-Products program. The program is funded by a grant from the Virginia Forestry Educational Foundation.

This program offers 30 hours of professional development credit, including Project Learning Tree certification.

The registration deadline is June 30. Registration is $25 and includes lodging and meals for the four-day, three-night conference. Visit the Virginia Cooperative Extension website for more information and for registration instructions.



Written by Allison Hedrick of Chatham, Va., who graduated in May 2013 with a bachelor's degree in communication from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

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