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College of Natural Resources and Extension offer conference for woodlot owners


BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 16, 2006 – Virginia Cooperative Extension at Virginia State University, in partnership with Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and the Virginia Department of Forestry, will hold a conference for woodlot owners around the state who seek ways to increase income from products and services from their lands.

The Income Opportunities for Woodlot Owners Conference is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 9, through Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Dabney S. Lancaster Community College in Clifton Forge.

One of the conference coordinators, Virginia Tech wood products professor Tom Hammett, said, “The conference will focus on exposing woodlot owners to a variety of additional products and services that can increase their income, as well as introducing them to enterprise management practices.” Some topics to be covered in the sessions will include non-timber forest products, advanced small-mouth bass fishing techniques, native versus exotic trees, portable sawmills, utilizing invasive tree species, marketing botanical herbs, and managing for wildlife. Activities for youth ages 4 – 16 will consist of a geocaching treasure hunt, environmental education sessions, and fishing and hiking at Douthat State Park. Since many sessions will be held outdoors, all participants are encouraged to dress accordingly.

Registration fees of $60 for adults and $35 for children under 16 will include conference materials, as well as three meals. The deadline to register is Friday, Sept. 1. For more information, contact Andy Hankins at (804) 524-5960.

Anyone needing special assistance or accommodations should contact Matthew Yancey, a College of Natural Resources graduate who now works as a forestry extension agent in Rockingham County, at (540)564-3080 prior to the conference. The workshop is being organized by a committee that includes Jim Chamberlain of the U.S. Forest at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, and Tom Hammett of the Department of Wood Science and Forest Products.

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 Cooperative Extension.