UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Extension this year will provide many opportunities for private landowners to learn how to manage their forests properly. During the coming months, day-long forest landowner conferences will be offered at various locations around the state, covering a variety of topics related to forest and wildlife management.
“Each landowner conference offers different topics,” said Scott Weikert, forest resources extension educator based in Tionesta, Forest County. “A sample of the topics being offered this year include timber sales and theft; landowner liability; native plants for wildlife; invasive plant identification and control; noncommercial forest management; identifying, protecting, and managing forested wetlands; and insect and disease updates.”
Some of the conferences offer professional-development opportunities as well. Pesticide education credits have been approved for some of the conferences, and teachers can earn five hours toward fulfilling Act 48 requirements by attending either the Clarion Landowner Conference or the Northwest Pennsylvania Landowner Conference.
“Not only will landowners learn from natural resources management professionals, but these events also provide opportunities to meet and network with other landowners in your area,” Weikert said. “Attendees can find out about practices that have and haven’t worked for others and the challenges fellow landowners have faced in their management efforts.”
Weikert noted that nearly 17 million acres of forests cover 60 percent of Pennsylvania’s land area, and 70 percent — more than 12 million acres — of that forestland is privately owned. And that leads to a great demand for forest stewardship in the state.
“Estimates put the number of private forest owners at more than 600,000 across the state — that’s approximately one in eight households,” he said. “The management decisions these owners make today will greatly affect the benefits we receive from our forests now and in the future.”
The following conferences will be offered:
Jan. 28. Northwest Pennsylvania Forests and Forest Landowners Conference, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Penn State Behrend (Erie County). Register by Jan. 20. Contact Scott Weikert, Penn State Extension, at 814-755-3544 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb. 18. Clarion Landowners Conference, 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., St. Michael’s Church Parish Hall, Fryburg (Clarion County). Register by Feb. 10. Contact Scott Weikert, Penn State Extension, at 814-755-3544 or email email@example.com.
Feb. 25. Central Region Forest Landowners Conference, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Forest Resources Building, Penn State University Park campus (Centre County). Register by Feb. 17. Contact Dave Jackson, Penn State Extension, at 814-355-4897 or email CentreExt@psu.edu.
March 3. Northeast Woodland Owners Conference, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport (Lycoming County). Contact Bob Hansen, Penn State Extension, at 570-265-2896 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 10. Forestry and Wildlife Conference, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Breezewood Fire Hall, Breezewood (Bedford County), sponsored by the Woodland Owners of the Southern Alleghenies. Register by March 2. Call 814-652-9150 for details.
April 14. Dauphin County Woodland Owner Conference, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Dauphin County Agricultural and Natural Resources Center, Dauphin (Dauphin County), sponsored by the Dauphin County Woodland Owners Association. Contact Linda Kulp, Penn State Extension, at 717-921-8803.