Restoring Productive Forests on Mine Lands in Ohio
Jul 24-25 at the Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center in Cambridge, Ohio
This two-day Mined Land Restoration Conference features expert presentations in the science, policy and implementation of reforestation on active mining sites, abandoned mine lands and previously reclaimed land. The second day includes site visits to several projects in various stages of forestry reclamation.
The University of Kentucky Department of Forestry and Natural Resources Extension along with many partners have developed the 2019 Kentucky Woodland Owners Short Course (WOSC) to help woodland owners get the most out of their woodland ownership experience. (KWOA is a WOSC sponsor.)
The 2019 WOSC consists of three full-day regional programs in East, Central and West Kentucky. These regional educational programs were developed by local
planning committees. Each regional program includes two different programming tracks featuring both indoor and outdoor presentations including a visit to a nearby woodland owner. Each track features forestry, wildlife and natural resource professionals from across Kentucky covering a wide variety of topics – there is sure to be something for everyone! Individuals as well as couples are encouraged to attend the regional event closest to their woodland property.
Kentucky Woodland Owners Gather for Annual Meeting
Kentucky Woodland Owners Association hosted their 25th Annual Meeting at Pennyrile Forest State Park
The Kentucky Woodland Owners Association (KWOA) members, University of Kentucky Department of Forestry and Natural Resources staff and students, industry representatives and other state and local officials gathered for the 2019 KWOA Annual Meeting at Pennyrile Forest State Park on March 26-27.
Clean water and forest management was the theme for this year’s congregation of more than 50 attendees. With a presentation from Jim Bryon, Kentucky Division of Forestry, as well as, hands-on learning with the University of Kentucky Extension Service’s Dr. Amanda Gumbert and Sarah Yount, attendees learned about habitat and riparian issues, streams, and timber harvesting. The conference also heard updates from Dr. Gregory Kuhns, MD about the Water Watch in Kentucky, Rick Caldwell with the American Chestnut Foundation, and Warren Beeler with the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy.
“Members of the KWOA enjoy sharing their passion of their woodlands. Kentucky’s land base is half forested, some of the world’s most valuable hardwoods. Woodland owners have a strong desire to see the land continue in their family as a legacy – where all the generations of family – present and future -benefit from the various values of the resource, water, timber, wildlife, recreation, and so many more. Woodland owners are one of the few communities within natural resources that actually grow a legacy that benefits individuals today as well tomorrow”, said Doug McLaren, president of KWOA.
In addition to educational opportunities, the KWO(F)oundation presented UK Department of Forestry and Natural Resources senior, Sarah Hays with their $1000 scholarship at the awards dinner on Tuesday night. This award is given to a UK Forestry and Natural Resource senior annually. The award is granted on the basis of leadership potential, connection with the forest community and insight for the forest profession.
The 2019 Service Forester’s Award was presented to Rick Harrel from the Kentucky Division of Forestry’s Western Region for his dedicated and enthusiastic service to promoting proper forest management to all his woodland land owners. The keynote speaker for the dinner was State Senator Robbie Mills, who addressed the economic opportunity and impact of forested land in Kentucky.
A “nugget” of information that many attendees mentioned at the end of the field day of the water quality and forest management demonstrations was, “…..forest management and water quality are directly related. By following proper management guidelines the water quality downstream is better maintained.”, said Doug McLaren.
For more information on KWOA, please contact Doug McLaren at (859) 881.8583 or email@example.com or visit their webpage at https://kwoa.net
From the Woods Kentucky is a weekly radio show broadcast by the University of Kentucky Department of Forestry and Natural Resources on WRFL 88.1 FM Lexington. The show airs during summer 2019 on Thursdays from 10 – 11A on 88.1 FM in Lexington.
UK Forestry Extension is partnering with some of our sister Forestry Extension programs in nearby states such as Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to offer a webinar series targeting “beginning woodland owners”; however, there is sure to be something for even the most seasoned woodland owner as well. The series will feature forestry and wildlife experts from around the region. So far, 34 County Extension Offices have signed on to host one or more of the webinars. Click here < http://forestry.ca.uky.edu/webinars_upcoming > to find the closest hosting counties and make plans to join us for this informative and educational series.
The webinars will run from 7- 9P EST (6P – 8P CST).
Feb. 21 – Getting to Know Your Woodlands How has past land use shaped our forests? Why are your woodlands important? Learn what you need to know about management plans.
Feb. 28 – Managing Your Woodlands What should you do with neglected woodlands? Pine and hardwood management
Mar. 7 – Identifying and Managing Woodland Threats Invasive plants, insects (native and exotic), diseases (native and exotic) and wildfire.
Mar. 14 – Wildlife and Woodlands Wildlife habitat requirements and enhancing habitat for game and non-game wildlife.
Mar. 21 – Forestry and Wildlife Assistance in Kentucky Learn about the forestry and wildlife assistance available in Kentucky to help you care for and get the most from your woodlands.
The KWOA/F board met May 17th at the KFIA office in Frankfort to discuss a range of issues and to get updates from our cooperators.
Communications. The quarterly newsletter going to electronic format for member recipients. Due to higher postage rates and efforts to cut costs, the board discussed distributing the quarterly newsletter in electronic (pdf file) format only to members via email. It also discussed charging a higher membership fee for those who do not have internet access and would still like to receive a hard copy via USPS. Membership renewal notifications and the fall newsletter will have further information about this change.
The new Mail Chimp is up and running with a couple of emails sent to members thus far. This format and the website will become the primary social media platforms for the association. The Facebook page will refer viewers to those platforms.
2019 annual meeting. The board discussed holding the next annual meeting in western Kentucky. A committee was formed to consider site locations and program content for that meeting.
Emerald ash borer disaster. Several board members and other forestry stakeholders met with Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles on April 24th regarding economic disaster assistance for tree farms related to ash tree damage from the emerald ash borer. Commissioner Quarles also visited Joe Ball’s tree farm to see firsthand the damage he has experienced from EAB invasion. Work is continuing on this issue at the state and federal levels.
Strategic plan. A committee was formed to develop a concise (5-7 words) description of KWOA’s mission and to look at updating its logo and brochure.
The next board meeting is scheduled for August 16, 2018 at the KFIA office in Frankfort.
Thanks to the following educators for participation in the field day and information for this article:
Eric Baker, Estill Co Extension Agriculture/Natural Resource Agent
Jason Powell, KDF
Sam Miller, NRCS
Merle Hacker, KDF&W
Portia Brown, KWOA
Henry Duncan and Clarissa Rentz, KWOA – photos
Woodlands owners experienced an exceptional on-site tour of a top-rated tree farm on October 5. Jack Stickney, 2016 Kentucky Tree Farmer of the Year, and his wife Teresa own 100 acres of woodlands in Estill County. During the field day agency professionals assisted the Stickney’s demonstrations, covering topics that included timber stand improvement (TSI) practices, technical and financial assistance programs, advanced agricultural practices, shitake mushroom production and wildlife habitat management.
Located in the eastern knobs and eastern coalfield region of Kentucky, Estill County transitions the bluegrass to the mountains. The county is covered by 116,480 acres of woodland which is an important part of the local economy. Approximately 75 percent of Estill County is forest, of which around 4,500 acres lie within the Daniel Boone National Forest.
Estill County has beautiful natural resources and we were so pleased to have 101 people come enjoy the field day and help showcase the Stickney family’s exceptional stewardship efforts on their farm and woodlands. Eric Baker, Estill Coounty Agriculture/ Natural Resource Extension Agent
The Stickneys got a forest stewardship plan from KDF in 1987, the same year they purchased the land. In accordance with the plan they have implemented timber stand improvement (TSI) on all their woodlands. Sam Miller, NRCS Technical and Financial Assistance Program, has worked with the Stickneys over the last 20 years to provide financial assistance through various programs (WHIP, FIP – now EQIP, and CRP). They broke the TSI practice down into segments of 8 to 10 acres to be tackled at a time. For this practice KDF helped by marking the trees.
Marking trees – KDF uses a blue dot to identify trees to be killed using hack and squirt or cut stump herbicide treatment. An “X” is used to mark desirable species, such as red and white oak, hickory and poplar that could benefit from simply cutting to encourage healthy re-sprout; no herbicide would be used on these stumps.
The Stickneys have planted a variety of tree species. They began by planting northern hardy pecans 25 years ago but have not had significant nut production. The trees still help preserve water quality. In 2003, under the Conservation Reserve Program they planted more pecans and walnuts in a 2.2-acre tract of bottomlands along the Red River. This area has flooding so their practices help water quality. They also planted a few cypress trees. The first planting was 800 trees 15 years ago. Early plantings did not fare so well due to weeds and deer and beaver predation. KDF helped with the next planting – in rows 12 feet apart with seedlings at 8 foot centers – and using herbicides to control weeds.
For decades, Estill County first thought of woodland as a logging opportunity. Too often, the woods were high graded and left without any consideration for the future. This is not a sustainable practice. It is far better to harvest in a calculated way, doing selective harvesting with management post-harvest for desirable species to come back. Managing woodlands is investing in the future.
The Stickney’s first non-timber forest product venture was growing shitake mushrooms from logs. The first ten years was for personal use. After a TSI practice opened a 67 acre area, they began growing mushrooms on 500 logs. They transitioned to a commercial operation adding oyster mushrooms to the shiitake farming. Their
land is at the edge of the outer Bluegrass and the Knobs limestone creek bottoms are excellent for soaking logs.
Eighty percent of the nutrients in mushrooms comes from the mycelium. The stem of a shiitake has a lot of medicinal value. Teresa dries the stems and grinds them into a powder that she uses to add flavor to recipes for gravy and Alfredo sauce. Jack says “Eastern Kentucky should be the mushroom capital of the world.” He thinks there is a valuable future market for mushrooms as a medicinal product, especially in cancer treatment.
In 2003, the Stickneys planted native warm season grasses to provide rotational grazing for their grass fed beef production and to provide grazing throughout the summer. They have a 30 to 50% improvement over continuous grazing by using rotation. They fenced cattle out of the streams and woodlands and instead water them using gravity-fed waterlines from a spring on the property to four strategically placed tanks. In addition to rotational grazing, the native warm season grasses provide good mixes for pollinators and value for ground nesting species, rabbits, turkeys and quail. Undergrowth in woodland habitats is fabulous for wildlife such as rough grouse and other birds. They like the scattered light as opposed to the closed canopy. Mid story removal also promotes filtered sunlight.
The next stage for the Stickney’s woodlands will be to ramp up invasive species management. They are fighting bush honeysuckle and multiflora rose. Having a plant identification guide can help identify invasives. Many factors, such as ice storms, disease and insects open up the forest and introduce opportunities for invasives.
Managing woods for a diversity of species helps brace against diseases that can take out one species.
Life isn’t all crop production at the tree farm. The Stickneys have hosted many educational field days over the years including Scouts, MACED, Shitake Mountain Mushroom Foundation Festival and environmental practices. They have a teepee for the Scouts to use and an elevated viewing station in the woods. They have excellent wildlife and allow deer and turkey hunting.
Jerry and Portia Brown have been awarded the central regional and the state Division of Forestry awards as the 2017 Outstanding Forest Stewards. The award will be presented to them at the awards luncheon October 20 during the 41st annual Kentucky Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment in Lexington. The conference’s two days of discussion and debate will examine the top issues involving Kentucky’s energy future and its environment.
“Over the years we have learned so much, met many wonderful people who share our interest in sustaining the natural resources that bless us all, and tried to share our time, talents and resources to conserve these invaluable resources and promote sustainable practices.”
The selection committee chose the Browns for having “… left a beneficial, everlasting mark on the natural resources of our great Commonwealth.” The award reflects work done at both farms. Grayson Woods, the Grayson County Tree Farm that Portia’s mother started a little before 1950 to curb severely eroded land reflects successful and natural transition from a pine plantations to native hardwood. The last pines were harvested in 2014 with the help of ACA consultant, Chris Will. Jerry & Chris laid out road access to the site prior to opening the bidding process. This served a dual purpose:
> preparing the site with respect to BMP practices for logging
> allowing bidders to better see what trees were to be harvested and any areas of concern relating to the actual harvest process.
The Shelby Property contributes an educational center and reflects post-harvest regeneration. The Browns purchased this land in 1996. The majority of the land was clear cut around 1975 for transition to grazing / silage crops. An area of roughly 35 acres, that the Browns like to call “The Back Forty”, appears to have been high-graded about 75 years ago.Their first project was re-aligning access roads to prevent erosion and improve the quality of access. They used a number of techniques for crop tree release and invasive species control in order to nurture the regeneration of native hardwood species. They also use several techniques to provide wildlife habitat, including:
the establishment of over 30 acres in local ecotype native grasslands with over 50 wildflower species (such as milkweed for pollinators)
a variety of wetland and woodland habitats.
Portia observes that over the years the Kentucky Division of Forestry in Grayson County has provided outstanding service to their family by guiding them through stewardship options, educating them on the implications of different practices, and connecting them with various programs to help implement their plan. Federal programs including CRP & EQIP, administered through NRCS, have provided financial aid that made it feasible to implement many of the practices. State assistance has also come through KY Fish & Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy.
Thanks to Harry Pelle, KWOA board member, for sharing this story
While marking fifty acres for a timber stand improvement project on their property on April 23rd, Harry and Karen Pelle along with Chris Will, their consulting forester, found quite a welcome surprise. They discovered a couple of American Chestnut root sprouts. Harry admits there have been other aspiring chestnut seedlings over the thirty years the Pelle’s have been traversing their tree farm near Bradfordsville but they didn’t know what to look for.
The day before, Earth Day, they had helped plant 1200 American Chestnuts at Eastern Kentucky University’s Taylor Fork Ecological Area.
The effort with The American Chestnut Foundation seeks to restore the iconic tree as a staple in eastern forests.
That recent experience may have made the Pelle’s more aware of the chestnut’s latest effort to re-establish itself in the territory where it once reigned.
The Pelle’s marked the spot where they found the tree sprouts on Chris’s GPS and with a tee post.
The Pelle’s also cleared the area around the sprouts of fallen tops and brush. They intend to monitor the potential trees’ progress and just maybe these two will beat the Chestnut Blight that decimated the regions mighty giants. It may be the next generation of Pelles that will have to continue the watch over the seedlings.
The newest trees are in good company. Harry has an American Chestnut restoration grove just down the hill from the little guys. He likes to think the trees’ ancestors are looking down the hill and cheering on their new cousins in the fight to beat the blight. Harry thinks the finding of the sprouts “might have been the chestnuts’ way of saying ‘thanks for the help.’”