Welcome, Sarah Wurzbacher!

Posted: April 9, 2018

Sarah is a new Forest Resources Extension Educator based in Williamsport.
Sarah Wurzbacher

Sarah Wurzbacher

Hello, there, Forest Leaves readers. I am beyond thrilled to join the ranks of my exemplary colleagues on the Penn State Extension forestry team. I’m not new to extension, but my transfer to this team involves a few changes – from programming focused on perennial crops and biomass/bioproducts markets to forest management; from multi-state and national-scale efforts to more regional and Pennsylvania-focused work; and from a home base in my beloved Meadville, PA, to beautiful Williamsport on the Allegheny Front, a city that is new to me but which already feels like home.

The best thing about this change for me is that I get to step back into my boots as a Pennsylvania forester. I have worked in many forest systems, from big-sky western mountains to woodlands abroad, but there is something special about Pennsylvania forests. They’re wonderfully complex. They involve such a diversity of species and so many mechanisms functioning at once – light regimes, plant competition, wildlife interactions, landscape-scale patterns of change… A forester could very happily spend her life working here and still have much to learn.

The complexity of our forests is mirrored by the diverse approaches to forestland ownership and management, the many ways landowners define their values and objectives for their woods. I share many of the goals you likely have regarding Pennsylvania’s forests. I want private forest landowners to feel more empowered and more prepared to take on interesting management activities in their own woodlots to realize their objectives. I want people considering timber sales to find and leverage resources and expertise that boost their own goals, ensure a healthy future for the resource, and yield a fair payout. I want to continue to support a forestry, logging, and wood processing/products industry in this state that is already highly professional.

There is very little, in fact, that does not interest me about my work to be done as a forestry extension educator, but the main issues I have focused on so far relate to landscape-scale successional diversification, wildlife habitat enhancement, incentivizing good stewardship and creative silviculture, boosting regeneration success, increasing utilization of low-value wood, proactively managing invasive plant and insect threats, and increasing participation in natural resources professions.

Spring is here, and not far behind follows the summer field season. It’s a great time to be out in the woods and kick the dirt, talking forestry issues. I look forward to joining you there. Contact me at 570-433-3040 or .