Stadium Woods, twelve acres of forest behind Lane Stadium, is getting a stewardship plan that will guide its future.

Using best practices of forest management, the plan will identify strategies for use and enjoyment of the woods while maintaining its health.

“Stadium Woods provides many benefits to the university and the community. It serves as a learning laboratory for our students and faculty, and is a recreational area for many,” said Sherwood Wilson, vice president for administration.

The stewardship plan is a collaborative effort between the Office of University Planning and the College of Natural Resources and the Environment.

“The stewardship plan will help us identify appropriate uses for the forest where people can enjoy it while improving its health and maintaining its productivity,” said Paul M. Winistorfer, dean of the college.

Rodney Walters, a master’s student in urban forest ecology and management from Bozeman, Montana, is spearheading the planning effort. Prior to attending Virginia Tech, Walters was the lead arborist at Montana State University. John Seiler, The Honorable and Mrs. Shelton H. Short Jr. Professor of Forestry and Alumni Distinguished Professor and Eric Wiseman, associate professor of urban forestry and arboriculture are advisers on the plan.

As part of the planning process, Virginia Tech is holding a series of meetings to gather input from community groups. The first, for the general public, is scheduled for Jan. 21 at 5 p.m. at the Blacksburg branch of the Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library at 200 Miller Street. A later meeting will be scheduled for members of the university community.

The meetings will help identify potential activities in and around the woods and what impact they might have on the overall health of the forest. The stewardship plan is scheduled to be completed in spring 2016.

Stadium Woods is a remnant white oak forest that has been here more than 300 years. Analysis done by Seiler in 2012 found numerous trees estimated to be more than 300-years-old. The woods contain approximately 55 white oak trees that are more than three feet in diameter.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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