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2019 Conference Presenters and Presentations

During the course of the conference, participants had the opportunity to learn about key topics from forestry professionals and practitioners during nine small-group learning sessions. Attendees were able to choose from nearly 100 presentations—covering topics including forest legacy planning, invasive plants, forest health, tax tips, water and woods, wildlife, woodland conservation, and more—to expand their knowledge of woodland stewardship.

Session 1

The Family Forest Carbon Initiative: Opportunities for Small Landowners
Christine Cadigan, Regional Director, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, American Forest Foundation; Josh Parrish, Director, Working Woodlands Program, The Nature Conservancy
The American Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy are partnering to develop a practice-based forest carbon program that can reduce transaction costs for small landowners by 75% compared with traditional carbon offset programs. Learn more about the program and how we're piloting the approach in Pennsylvania.

Using Herbicides to Manage Vegetation in Appalachian Hardwoods
Dave Jackson, Forest Resources Educator, Penn State Extension
Forestry-labeled herbicides are a low-risk and effective means of controlling undesirable forest vegetation in Appalachian hardwood forestry. They are used for achieving many objectives including establishing desirable regeneration, increasing tree growth and timber production, creating and enhancing wildlife habitat, and controlling non-native/invasive plants. This presentation will highlight forestry herbicide application methods, products, and treatment guidelines for controlling competing and invasive vegetation.

Thinking Holistically about Invasive Plants in Your Woods
Eric Burkhart, Plant Science Program Director, Shaver's Creek Environmental Center, Penn State
The topic of invasive plants can be confusing, contradictory, and even controversial for landowners wondering what, if anything, they should do about invasive plants on their farm or in their woods. This presentation will cover current philosophical and practical approaches to thinking about and managing invasive plants on your land. Guidance and considerations relating to the potential impact(s) of invasive plants, control and management strategies, staging and timing of control activities, and restoration of heavily invaded areas will be discussed.

Equipment Safety for Small-scale Timber Harvest
Michael Pate, Associate Professor, Penn State Extension
This talk is for woodland owners who want to harvest wood from their land themselves. We will discuss the latest equipment and safety and will focus on identifying safe equipment for timber harvest and collection on small woodlots. Small-scale equipment suitable for harvesting wood for your own use may also be useful if you plan to cut larger amounts and have lots of time but do not want to invest in large-scale equipment. Upon completion of the session, participants will be able to choose equipment with greater confidence and have an understanding of important safety systems for the woodlot.

Forest Soils and Their Management for a Variety of Ecosystem Services
Patrick Drohan, Associate Professor of Pedology, Penn State
Managing soils across the northern Appalachians can be a tricky, frustrating process. Forest landowners are confronted with a complex balancing act between timber and wildlife production, energy resource extraction, watershed protection, and long-term investment. This discussion will highlight the key properties to focus on, where and how to acquire soil information, and what to make of it when managing a woodlot.

Woodlot Improvement, Crop Tree Release, and Firewood Cutting: A Synthesis
David Schmit, Forestry Communications Specialist, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry
This talk will blend principles and practices described in the 1978 Forest Service brochure, “Improve Your Woodlot through Firewood Cutting,” with the concepts involved in crop tree release to provide an understandable presentation of timber stand improvement. Concepts of tree growth and form, species diversity, insects and diseases, root rot and causes, mast, cover, and other ideas will be touched upon.

Long-term Effects of Utility Rights-of-Way Vegetation Management on Floral and Faunal Communities
Brad Ross, Instructor in Biology and Research Assistant, Penn State-Altoona; Hannah Stout, Conservation Entomologist, SFS-Certified Macroinvertebrate Taxonomist and Freelance Consultant; Carolyn Mahan, Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies, Penn State-Altoona
Early successional habitats and the flora and fauna that require them are in decline across the northeastern United States. Utility rights-of-way (ROW) are a common example of early successional habitat and comprise a sizeable area throughout the Appalachians. Seven treatments incorporating a variety of chemical, mechanical, and combinations of these methods were implemented within an electrical transmission ROW in Centre County, PA. We surveyed communities of breeding birds and insects belonging to the order Hymenoptera from 2015-17 to determine the effects of ROW management on these wildlife. Our work indicated that ROWs can provide ample early successional habitat for bird and insect communities. Come learn how!

Financial Topics for the Forest Landowner
Susan Lacy, Consulting Forester, Allegheny SAF Executive Director
In the next 20 years, much of the private forestland in Pennsylvania will transition to new owners. Perhaps you are or will be one of those new owners. You want to care for and maintain your forest and be able to pass it on to the next generation. This presentation will cover some of the financial challenges of forestland ownership and help you achieve that goal by reducing unintended consequences. We will review several common forest tax issues and help you understand the need for good financial records. You will learn about opportunities to minimize your forest management costs by optimizing current programs and tax laws.

Identifying Pennsylvania’s Common Trees
Celine Colbert, Forester, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry
Join us as we discuss some of Pennsylvania’s common tree species. We will identify unique characteristics of each species to help distinguish them any time of year. To keep things exciting, we will add a smattering of fun facts and historical uses surrounding each tree. Novices to expert identifiers are welcome.

High-grading 101: What Is High-grading, and Why Is It One of the Biggest Threats to Our Forests?
Annie Socci, Executive Director, Foundation for Sustainable Forests; Guy Dunkle, Land Manager, Foundation for Sustainable Forests
One of the most common forms of timber harvesting in our region, “high-grading,” significantly degrades stand composition and vigor, and reduces the overall resilience of the forest. We will explore high-grading in its different forms from a functional perspective so that a landowner might recognize and avoid this approach in their woodland.

Unlocking the Full Potential of Google Maps
Sarah Johnson, Northern Area Forest Health Specialist, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry
Learn about creating and obtaining data for use in free Google products like Google Earth and Google Maps, to facilitate mobile data usage and collection.

Session 2

Women and Their Woods: Building Networks and Learning Opportunities
Amanda Subjin, Conservation Programs Manager, Delaware Highlands Conservancy
Women and Their Woods provides landowners with the support, knowledge, and confidence to effectively care for their land. At the heart of the group is a network of well-informed landowners from across the mid-Atlantic region who have attended an Educational Retreat and continue to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to meet the challenges of forestland ownership. In addition to the Educational Retreats, field tours and workshops are offered throughout the year to provide hands-on learning opportunities. 

The Pennsylvania Timber Product Output Survey
Ben Livelsberger, Wood Utilization Specialist, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry
Ben will present the findings of the Pennsylvania 2016 Timber Product Output (TPO) survey. The Bureau of Forestry conducted its second output survey in 2017 where primary wood processing facilities were surveyed about production, products, employment, and where timber was harvested. This presentation will go over the findings from the TPO, the fact sheet, and other interesting information from the survey.

Non-Timber Forest Products from Penn’s Woods: Income and Recreation Opportunities for Forest Landowners
Eric Burkhart, Plant Science Program Director, Shaver's Creek Environmental Center, Penn State
This presentation will review popular non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in Pennsylvania including ginseng, ramps/wild leeks, and mushrooms. Identification, income opportunities, husbandry options, and stewardship guidelines will be discussed for those interested in NTFPs as a source of income, pleasure, and/or for personal use.

Managing Your Drinking Water Well or Spring
Bryan Swistock, Water Resources Specialist, Penn State Extension
In rural areas where public water is unavailable, private wells and springs provide drinking water. These private water supplies are unregulated and often unmanaged, resulting in unhealthy or aesthetically poor drinking water. This presentation will discuss proper location, construction, testing, protection, and treatment of private drinking water supplies.

Managing Habitat for Bats
John Chenger, President, Bat Conservation and Management, Inc.
In the US alone, bats provide pest control services for agricultural lands, resulting in significant cost savings to farmers as well as valuable ecological benefits. As bats face challenges from loss of quality habitat, preserving and managing forestland and unique habitat features, such as caves and abandoned mines, are important for bat conservation. This presentation will identify bats’ essential needs, provide guidance for management of natural habitat, and discuss options for artificial roost establishment.

Climate Change and Pennsylvania’s Forests
Marc McDill, Associate Professor of Forest Management, Penn State
This talk reviews how Pennsylvania’s climate is changing and how it is projected to change in the future. It discusses how Pennsylvanians in general, and Pennsylvania’s forests in particular, are likely to be affected in the coming decades. Finally, it discusses the role forests can play in mitigating climate change and how we can help Pennsylvania’s forests increase their ability to adapt to the changing climate.

Tell Us What You Need to Know to Care for Your Land
Al Luloff, Professor Emeritus, Rural Sociology, Center for Private Forests at Penn State; Jim Finley, Professor Emeritus, Private Forest Management, Center for Private Forests at Penn State
The Center for Private Forests at Penn State wants to help ensure the health and vitality of forests for future generations. In this session, we want to hear from you about your challenges and needs. Your input to our work is critically important. Provide your ideas to help us all do our work caring for forests and trees better—creating resources and educational opportunities that best serve you. We invite you to join us during one of the two listening sessions offered during the presentation sessions.

Boundary Lines and Easements: What Do You Really Own? 
Rob Davidson, RHP Law Group LLC
How do surveyors determine boundary lines? What if the surveyor says I have more/less land than my deed says? Does my neighbor have a right to use my land? The laws, rules, and principles of determining boundaries of woodlands employ unique practices. This presentation will provide information on the legal and practical aspects of boundary line determination.

Invasive Forest Pests: Updates on Established Pests and Threats on the Horizon
Michael Skvarla, Insect Identifier and Extension Educator, Penn State
As emerald ash borer continues to spread across North America, a new pest looms on the horizon: spotted lanternfly. But what's being done to combat these forest invaders? We will discuss recent control efforts for emerald ash borer and other established pests, as well as provide an overview of spotted lanternfly and other pests on the horizon.

Uneven-aged Management for Wildlife Habitat
Scott Wolbert, Forester, PA Game Commission
Woodland owners are often hesitant to do even-aged management practices seen on public lands, preferring instead practices that have minimal perceived impacts. This often leads to high-grading on private property, which is bad for many reasons. This talk presents silvicultural alternatives, based on uneven-aged management, that consider invasive plant and interference problems, deer impact, available seedlings, wildlife habitat needs, and existing overstory conditions. It allows a landowner to have income from the woods as well as improve wildlife habitat and enhance future timber value and quality.

Pollinators in Pennsylvania: Our Legacy and Future
Christina Grozinger, Distinguished Professor of Entomology, Director, Center for Pollinator Research, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, Penn State
Nearly 90% of flowering plant species use pollinators to set seed and fruit, including many ecologically and economically valuable native trees in Pennsylvania's forests. However, populations of many managed pollinators, including honey bees, and wild pollinators are in decline worldwide. Multiple interacting factors are driving pollinator declines, including poor nutrition, unintended negative impacts of pesticide use, increased disease pressure in areas with high population densities of managed bees, and climate. Penn State’s Center for Pollinator Research represents the largest consortium in the world of researchers, educators, and extension specialists tackling issues related to pollinator decline, management, and biology. This presentation will highlight ongoing Center projects which seek to better understand how national land use patterns have changed over time and how these changes may be impacting pollinator populations. We will also discuss our efforts to provide beekeepers, land managers, growers, and policymakers with tools they can use to evaluate the quality of their landscapes for supporting bee populations and obtain recommendations for improving their landscapes and management practices. 

Session 3

The Importance of Streamside Forests: Why and How to Establish a Riparian Forest Buffer
Teddi Stark, Riparian Forest Buffer Coordinator, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry
Penn’s Woods could have just as easily been named Penn’s Waters, as our great state of Pennsylvania is crisscrossed by over 86,000 miles of streams and rivers. You likely have a stream or two running through your property. Keeping our Commonwealth’s waterways clean is vital to human health, our economy, and all wildlife. How can you, as a landowner, help keep our waterways healthy? By planting trees, of course! Trees along streams are often referred to as Riparian Forest Buffers. These streamside forests help reduce erosion, filter pollutants, and provide habitat for aquatic and terrestrial wildlife. This presentation provides an opportunity to learn about why and how to care for and improve your streamside land through establishing and maintaining riparian forest buffers. We will discuss why streams need forest buffers; designing forest buffers for conservation, wildlife, and/or income; and technical assistance and funding opportunities for getting buffers planted on your property.

Today’s GPS Tech Working for Tomorrow’s Woods
Brent Harding, Forester and Instructor, Penn State
21st century consumer-grade GPS receivers are inexpensive, accurate, and easy to master. When partnered with a fast internet connection, a contemporary computer, and an enthusiasm to learn, today’s landowner can explore, map, and archive their woods’ attributes. Join me as I mashup emerging software technologies with consumer-grade hardware. The result might just be a generational bridge between your care of the woods and tomorrow’s stewards.

Ticks in Your Woodlot: Practical Management Solutions for Woodland Owners
Sarah Wurzbacher, Forest Resources Educator, Penn State Extension
This presentation will share how ticks relate to the wooded landscape, focusing on relationships between ticks and invasive plant species. It will also cover the practical realities of how you are likely to interact with ticks when you visit and enjoy your forest, and what you can and can’t do in your woodlot to help manage your exposure to ticks and their habitat.

Timber! Cutting your Woodland for Today and Tomorrow
Garin Peck, Clearing and Environmental Project Manager, Metzler Forest Products, LLC
What to expect when you're expecting... a timber harvest. We will discuss the process of working with a timber harvesting company to achieve your goals as a woodland owner, how to tell the good from the bad, and what to expect when it is over. This presentation will allow for audience participation through questions and sharing of personal experiences.

Caring for the Little Ones: Regenerating Pennsylvania’s Forests
Todd Ristau, PhD, Research Ecologist, US Forest Service Northern Research Station
When managing a woodlot, the focus is often on the present value of the standing timber, with less regard for what forest is left, or what comes next. This presentation will look at the obstacles we face when preparing our future forests. Working to influence future species composition through manipulation of light levels, control of competing vegetation, and minimizing deer impacts are all critical to our success after a timber harvest. Young seedlings have a lot working against them, so to leave the land at least as productive as before the harvest, we need to invest a bit of time and money into their future.

Prescribed Fire in Pennsylvania Forests
Cody Dems, Master’s Student in Forest Resources, Penn State
Prescribed fires are well-planned and intentionally lit by trained professionals to manage a variety of landscapes. We will explore the history of fire in Pennsylvania and discuss how prescribed fires influence forests by sharing research conducted in Centre County, PA. 

Allegheny Forest Health Collaborative: What Is It and Why It Matters
Susan L. Stout, Research Forester Emeritus, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station;
Maureen McDonough, Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University; Andrea Hille, Forest Silviculturist, Allegheny National Forest
In 2017, the Allegheny National Forest initiated a Forest Health Collaborative. The goal was to bring imagination, commitment, local knowledge, and science together to respond to forest health challenges in northwestern Pennsylvania. These challenges, affecting all lands, included invasive plants, insects, diseases, and changes in the ecology of regional forests. Representatives from more than 60 organizations and agencies worked for nine months. They identified the most important threats to ecosystem services and values, prioritized these forest health challenges, and began work developing integrated and adaptive strategies to mitigate them. The Collaborative continues to work together. This presentation will summarize the challenges identified by the Collaborative and discuss what is being done to mitigate those challenges. Opportunities for private forest landowners to get engaged will be discussed.

Land Surveying in Pennsylvania: Methods and Procedures for Boundary Retracement Surveys
Brian Sekula, Registered Professional Engineer, Registered Professional Land Surveyor, Consultant
The location of property boundaries is an important part of forest landownership. Knowing the location of property corners is a necessary precursor to a timber harvest. Having established corners and identified property lines makes good neighbors and generally precludes other issues. This presentation will review the methods and equipment of land surveying and the references available to the surveyor. Beginning with a discussion of the difference between an original survey and a retracement survey, the presentation will also focus on the research, general methods, and rules of boundary retracement in Pennsylvania. The work of the Registered Professional Land Surveyor is very similar to that of a detective solving a case. In the end, the completed survey—which typically includes a map, set corners, and blazed lines—should leave indications for others to follow.

Legal Strategies to Protect Your Forestland for Future Generations
Thomas C. Hoffman, II, Estate and Trust Tax Attorney, Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett, P.C.
Learn how to develop an estate plan using limited liability companies and trusts to protect your forestland for future generations. The estate planning strategies will illustrate the use of income-only trusts for Medicaid/long-term care planning, and generational trusts for multi-generational family planning. Examples will illustrate how trust planning can protect assets transferred to trusts from Medicaid estate recovery, ex-spouses of your children, creditors of your children, and other events that would otherwise necessitate the sale of forestland if owned outright by your children. The trust planning will also focus on reducing or eliminating federal estate and Pennsylvania inheritance taxes.

Understanding the Cause of Mange in Black Bears (Ursus americanus) in Pennsylvania
Justin Brown, Assistant Teaching Professor, Penn State
Since the 1990s, the number and geographic distribution of mange cases in black bears in Pennsylvania have increased. During this talk, we will summarize research conducted over the last five years to better understand this disease, its impacts on bears, and what management options exist.

How to Attract Birds to Your Backyard
Laura Jackson, Forest Landowner, PA Forest Steward, Forest Landowner Conference Committee Member
If you want to attract birds to your backyard but don’t know where to start, this is the program for you. All wildlife needs food, cover, water, and a safe place to raise their young, but birds have specific needs that can be met by planting a diverse mix of native plants. Evaluate different types of water sources and features of a healthy habitat. Enjoy photos of our native birds and the plants that sustain them. Handouts available.

Session 4

Making Charcoal in Your Woodlot
Gary Gilmore, Woodland Stewardship Coordinator, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry
This presentation will cover the details of making charcoal. It will focus on different types of wood and preparing the material, and will show different designs of kilns and retorts that can be used. The presentation will also touch on the management of the woodlot for charcoal production, making the charcoal, and other considerations for turning wood into charcoal. Making charcoal is easy and can be done at the backyard scale.

Valuing Wildlife
Melissa Kreye, Assistant Professor, Ecosystem Science and Management, Penn State
Private forestland in the Eastern US provides important habitat for many types of wildlife, including endangered species. This talk will provide an overview of research that examines the value of wildlife to landowners and the public, and how this value arises. We will also cover examples of how government programs and markets influence the provision of wildlife-related benefits on privately-owned lands.

How to Enhance the Health of Your Woods
Dave Cole, Forester, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry
Penn's Woods faces many challenges today. Because of global trade we have a wide range of non-native and invasive plants, insects, and diseases. We also have issues with native interfering plants, and the rapidly increasing deer herd. Without dwelling on those problems, we will look at things the average landowner can do to help their woods. The most important question is, "Can my trees replace themselves if something happens to them?" We will look at some practical "dos and don'ts" that you can do to help.

Effective Use of Game Cameras
Scott Weikert, Forest Resources Educator, Penn State Extension
This presentation will go over the various types of cameras available and provide some tips on how to use them effectively to capture images of wildlife on your property.

Improving Our Forest Landscape with Woodland Stewardship Networks
Ryan Davis, Chesapeake Forests Program Manager, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
It can be very challenging to properly manage a small- to medium-sized forested property, where the commercial potential is too low to entice foresters to even write a management plan. This tends to result in a lack of management on these properties, which poses a threat to our state's forest resources; a vast majority of our private forested properties are under 50 acres in size. Woodland Stewardship Networks are a way for landowners to overcome the barriers of small parcel size while improving the ecological benefits of forest management by simply helping neighbors to coordinate their management activities. Networks can be built with no outside assistance, but the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is piloting a project in Pennsylvania that uses small incentives to leverage the collective action.

What’s Eating My Forest? A Brief Look at the Diseases that Can Affect Your Forest
Robert Long, Research Forester Emeritus, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station
This talk will cover some common diseases found in mixed oak and Northern hardwood forests. We will cover seedling pathogens, stem cankers and wood decay fungi, vascular wilts, root rots, beech bark disease, and oak decline.

Initial Findings: Interviews with Estate Attorneys and Financial Planners on Forest Legacy Planning in Pennsylvania
Paul Roth, PhD Candidate in Forest Resources, Penn State
This talk will introduce recommendations for an integrated approach to financial, estate, and forest legacy planning highlighting recurring themes from over two dozen qualitative, semi-structured interviews with planning professionals in Pennsylvania. The research seeks to identify and understand the key moments and opportunities in the multi-layered planning process where forestland can be examined in a value-based context to facilitate and enable sustainable, legacy-driven, conservation-based outcomes. With Pennsylvania (and the nation) undergoing the largest land transfer in their histories, this information is critical for helping inform and develop outreach efforts to assist a suite of audiences: estate and financial planners, land trust specialists, extension personnel, private forest landowners, conservancy and non-governmental organization land protection staff, and federal, state, and local personnel in their effort to maintain forestland.

Issues, Markets, and Trends for a Timber Sale
Wayne Bender, Executive Director, PA Department of Agriculture, Hardwoods Development Council
Pennsylvania has the largest hardwood forest in the world, and its value is directly impacted by the global market for hardwood – especially China. How are the tariffs and economy of China impacting the forest products industry today? What are the issues forest landowners need to consider when thinking about a timber sale? What species are hot and cold in the market? How can we grow the domestic market for hardwood in the US? You play a vital role!

Understanding a Killer: West Nile Virus in Ruffed Grouse Habitat 
Lisa Williams, Wildlife Biologist - Grouse, Woodcock, Mourning Doves, PA Game Commission 
West Nile Virus (WNV) is increasingly implicated in population declines of Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) in Pennsylvania; however, little is known about the WNV transmission cycle in the remote woodland habitat occupied by grouse. Nearly all mosquito surveillance efforts by the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) occur in urban, suburban, and other peri-domestic environments for the purpose of monitoring risks to human health. Using human-focused surveillance efforts, therefore, does not provide information on the timing, vector(s), and prevalence of WNV in forested settings. The Game Commission has been working hard to identify potential vectors of WNV in grouse habitat, evaluate whether DEP surveillance data reflects WNV viral activity in woodlands, and look for landscape barriers to disease. Up-to-date research findings will be presented, along with a discussion of steps landowners can take to minimize WNV risks to woodland wildlife.

The Inter-Relationships of White-tailed Deer, Soils, and Vegetation in Pennsylvania
Duane Diefenbach, Unit Leader and Adjunct Professor of Wildlife Ecology, US Geological Survey, PA Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Penn State
The Deer-Forest Study is investigating the interaction of deer browsing, soils, and vegetation and how they affect understory forest conditions. Dr. Duane Diefenbach will share insights into current findings from this long-term study of deer in Penn's Woods.

Managing and Restoring High-graded Woodlands
Jim Finley, Professor Emeritus, Private Forest Management, Center for Private Forests at Penn State
Learn to evaluate how past harvesting activities have damaged woodlands and how, through careful harvesting, you can begin to restore forest functions.

Session 5

Factors Affecting the Success of Oak Seedlings in Central Pennsylvania
Lake Graboski, Master’s Student in Ecology, Penn State
A 20-year-long study of regeneration and forest development after harvest has provided a unique opportunity to inform and refine silvicultural prescriptions where the objective is to regenerate oak. In this presentation, we will describe the relationship between pre-harvest stand conditions and regeneration outcomes at age 15+ years, and we’ll discuss opportunities for re-directing stand developmental trajectories within the first four years after harvest.

Forest Landowner Spray Operations
Bryan Rose, Vegetation Management Specialist, Arborchem Products
This talk will cover briefly how to develop and implement a vegetation management plan and then focus on different application types and how to put them to work. We will also cover some different equipment and maintenance for spray operations.

Forest Tax and Financial Planning: The Key to a Successful Investment
Mike Jacobson, Professor of Forest Resources, Penn State
This talk discusses the importance of tax, financial, and other economic factors in making wise forest management decisions. Focus will be given to practical advice such as good record-keeping, maximizing tax advantages, and considering estate planning for future generations. 

Heard and Learned in the Woods!
Sanford “Sandy” Smith, Teaching Professor and Extension Specialist in Forest Resources, Penn State Extension
A new and novel approach to organizing landowner/public educational tours and presentations is featured at this session. Effective practical teaching methods can be just as important as the content presented in natural resources education programs. The Peers and Pros – 360 teaching method is used to address common misconceptions, truths, and half-truths about forests and forestry. Used in conducting numerous forest tours, educational talks, and even webinars during the past two years, Peers and Pros – 360 is rated highly effective by participants and appreciated by natural resources professionals alike. Increased learning on the part of experts and novices, and active engagement are just two of the positive results noted by past participants.

Preventing Bird and Window Collisions
Marie North, Sustainability Consultant and Forest Landowner
It's estimated that a minimum average of one million birds collide with windows in the US daily, according to Dr. Daniel Klem, a Professor at Muhlenberg College and the world's leading researcher on bird window collisions for over 40 years. Based on his research, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Audubon Network developed the Bird-Window Collision Working Group Project to train volunteers like Marie to educate the public. She will share lessons learned and what we can do at our homes and low-rise buildings to prevent bird and window collisions and reduce bird mortality. 

Research on Forested Buffer Establishment Methods
David Wise, Watershed Restoration Manager, Stroud Water Research Center
In this talk, we will cover recent trials of reforestation efforts that use tree shelters in full sun, including center-hole bird net method, protection from voles, pre-emergence herbicides inside shelters, fencing clusters of shrubs, success in multiflora rose, reed canary, and legacy sediment, and describe trials underway on different options for shelters, stakes, and more. Landowners will learn practical options for protecting young trees planted as a buffer. 

Forest Management as a Tool for Enhancing Ecosystem Resilience
Annie Socci, Executive Director, Foundation for Sustainable Forests; Guy Dunkle, Land Manager, Foundation for Sustainable Forests
This presentation challenges the view that forestry is primarily a means to achieve profitable timber harvests. We will present a different perspective in which active forest management is a useful tool for enhancing the age and species diversity, and the overall vigor, of your woodland. The approaches presented here, in which timber harvests still play a role, will help you to improve the resilience of your woodland in the face of present and emerging threats.

Cultivating Mushrooms in Your Woodlot
Bill Russell, Owner, Bill Russell's Wild, Wild Mushrooms
A woodlot provides an ideal environment to cultivate mushrooms for marketing. In addition, a woodlot can provide the logs, wood chips, and sawdust that certain commercial mushroom species grow upon. As awareness of the culinary value of a wide range of fungi expands, more commercial cultivators are needed. Use your woodland to provide fresh, delicious edible fungi for farmers' markets or direct wholesale to food stores.

USDA-NRCS Forest Conservation Assistance Opportunities
Peter Hoagland, State Forester, USDA-NRCS
This presentation will cover all available technical and financial assistance opportunities offered through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to forest landowners in Pennsylvania. Conservation assistance programs help landowners achieve conservation benefits on their land, such as improving forest health, improving wildlife habitat, reducing erosion, and improving water quality. The available programs include the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

Planting for Pollinators: How to Plant and Maintain Native Wildflower Meadows
Laura Jackson, Forest Landowner, PA Forest Steward, Forest Landowner Conference Committee Member
End the mowing madness! Learn how to turn part of your yard into a beautiful meadow that will nurture insects and birds. Native bees and monarch butterflies especially depend on native plants. A native wildflower meadow looks peaceful and beautiful, but danger and intrigue abound for the insects that live there. This program will introduce you to the fascinating world of native wildflowers and their pollinators. Handouts available.

Spotted Lanternfly: What Forest Landowners Should Know about a New Invasive Insect
Sarah Wurzbacher, Forest Resources Educator, Penn State Extension
A new invasive insect now impacts Pennsylvania’s landscape. The spotted lanternfly is now well known for damaging grapes, fruit trees, and hops, but there are important implications for forests as well. In this presentation, Sarah Wurzbacher will discuss host species, insect life cycle and behavior, control methods, quarantine implications on management activities, ongoing research, and more. As a Pennsylvania forest landowner, you should know the potential impacts of this insect and work to educate other landowners inside or outside of the quarantine, since collaborative efforts are the best strategy for containing and controlling this threat.

Session 6

The Forest Owner's Resource Tool Kit: PFA
Richard Lewis, President, PA Forestry Association; Matt Sampson, Outreach Chair, PA Forestry Association
Since 1886, Pennsylvania Forestry Association (PFA) has provided information to help the forest resource community and the public understand the benefits of sustainable management of natural resources. This session focuses on tools that forest landowners can use to find supportive professionals, science-based information, and connect with other forest landowners to build a community collaborating to address the challenges of sustainably managing your forest resources.

Flame Weeding Technology to Control Invasive and Interfering Woodland Plants
Pete Smallidge, New York State Extension Forester, Cornell University
Invasive and interfering woody plants can reduce access, limit productivity, impede natural regeneration, and limit woodland biodiversity. Several vegetation management strategies are available. One relatively new tool for woodlands is the use of flame weeding technology. This decades-old technology was tested against several invasive shrubs and native trees to assess the level of control possible. This talk will provide an overview of the ecology of bush honeysuckle, multiflora rose, autumn olive, buckthorn, striped maple, and beech. Research evaluating the potential for flame weeding to control these plants is used as a basis to describe woodland management strategies.

Case Study to Assess the Costs of the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiatives
Jacob Johnson, PhD Student in Forest Resources, Penn State
Conventional methods of reclamation in the Appalachian region have been shown to inhibit the growth of forest trees on post-surface-mined land. Unsuitable topsoil substitutes, high rates of soil compaction, and the use of fast-growing groundcovers create unfavorable conditions for tree growth. ARRI has developed a process known as the Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA) to address these problems and promote the restoration of healthy forests. The FRA emphasizes the placement of at least four feet of uncompacted rooting medium, slow-growing groundcovers, and the use of professional tree-planting techniques. A case study is currently being conducted to compare costs of these two reclamation approaches in Pennsylvania, where mining occurs mainly on previously-forested land. Preliminary results will be presented and implications discussed. The importance of this work is to show landowners and operators that they have options, other than conventional reclamation, that result in productive long-term benefits and the restoration of sustainable native forests.

Medicine of the Forest: Native Medicinal Plants that May Be Growing in Your Pennsylvania Woodland
Grady Zuiderveen, PhD Candidate in Forest Resources, Penn State
During this presentation, landowners will learn about a number of medicinal forest herbs native to Pennsylvania and how best to identify them, as well as both traditional and modern uses of the plants.
 

What Is so Great about Charcoal?
Gary Gilmore, Woodland Stewardship Coordinator, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry
The objective of this presentation is to raise awareness of the multifaceted uses of charcoal with the hope you will come to appreciate how this lowly material can benefit you. Charcoal made from wood has been used by humans for millennia. Without this easily-made product, we would still be living in the Stone Age. As a fuel, charcoal can be used for cooking, metal production, and running gasoline engines. This material also has other uses such as health products for humans and animals, filters for water and odors, a material that reduces storm water runoff, substrate for green roofs or hydroponics, or a soil amendment that retains nutrients and regulates water storage.

The Wonderful Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania Woodlands
Bill Russell, Owner, Bill Russell's Wild, Wild Mushrooms
Pennsylvania woodlands, large or small, host hundreds of wild mushrooms. Some of these fungi are edible and quite delicious. Others have medicinal values. Still others are not to be eaten. All are fascinating to people who love the woods.

The Benefits of Sustainably Regenerating Pennsylvania’s Forests for “the Birds and the Bees”
Darin McNeil, Cornell University; Codey Mathis, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; 
Over the past century, Pennsylvania’s forests have become increasingly homogeneous as a result of disturbance suppression and unsustainable harvest practices. Of particular concern is that the younger forest age classes have been largely lost, and in turn, associated biodiversity have declined. We present four years of monitoring results on bird and bee abundance within regenerating timber harvests across portions of Pennsylvania. Our results suggest that both birds (e.g., Golden-winged Warblers, American Woodcock) and pollinators (e.g., native bees, butterflies) have a strong capacity to benefit from sustainably regenerated forests in Pennsylvania. Efforts that implement regeneration harvests within Pennsylvania’s deciduous forests will likely benefit a wide suite of important wildlife species, particularly when implemented near population centers for species of interest.

Helping Others Learn and Connect to the Woods
Leslie Horner, Forest Stewardship Program Associate, Center for Private Forests at Penn State
With 740,000 woodland owners across Pennsylvania, and a disproportionately small number of forestry educators and practitioners, there is a great need and opportunity for more experienced landowners to share their experience and insights with other landowners. This talk will share tips and strategies for drawing others into learning more about forest stewardship by “meeting people where they are” as well as using your own interests (fungi, wildlife, plant uses, etc.) as a starting place for engaging others.

Session 7

Forestry Tools for Women
Allyson Muth, Interim Director, Center for Private Forests at Penn State; Nancy Baker, Forest Landowner, PA Forest Steward, 2019 Forest Landowner Conference Committee Member; Amanda Subjin, Conservation Programs Manager, Delaware Highlands Conservancy
The right tool can make almost any task easier, if not pleasant, and the completion of that task with great results can make one really proud and pleased. Women need to acquaint themselves with tools for forest tasks; our strengths are just not well arranged to accomplish things by force. So if you'd love to work in the woods but you’re not sure whether it would be a pleasant task, join us to look at how you can outfit yourself for a safe and comfortable day with rewarding results! 

Agroforestry in PA: Planting Food, Habitat, and Resilience Across Landscapes
Tracey Coulter, Agroforestry Coordinator, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry
Agroforestry is sometimes called “productive conservation” because of the multiple benefits provided by the integration of trees into agricultural systems. Using examples from Penn’s Woods, this presentation will illustrate how agroforestry can help to mitigate the effects of extreme weather events; buffer our watersheds; provide perennial food resources for humans, livestock, and wildlife; and provide new ways to keep our woods productive.

Using a Cooperative Approach to Tackle Invasive Plants
Kimberly Bohn, Forest Resources Educator, Penn State Extension
Invasive plant cooperatives consist of groups of stakeholders from public and private sectors that work together toward the shared objective of controlling invasive plants on a landscape scale or community scale. Invasive species cooperatives can vary in scope and size from a collective of local grassroots members to larger formalized organizations. This presentation focuses on considerations for establishing an effective invasive plant cooperative, and how private forest landowners can play a part in their establishment and effectiveness.

8 Steps for a Healthy and Productive Sugarbush
Pete Smallidge, New York State Extension Forester, Cornell University
Whether you are a backyard, hobby, or commercial producer, you want the maple trees you use for sap to remain healthy and productive. The overall process of forest management in your sugarbush can be daunting, but there are several easy steps that you can take to ensure you do no harm and enhance the good attributes of your woods. This presentation will discuss what to look for in the crown for health and competition for light, assessing interfering vegetation, monitoring tree growth, working with older trees, livestock, healthy soils, and the appropriate variety of trees.

Chronic Wasting Disease in Pennsylvania
Courtney Colley, Chronic Wasting Disease Communication Specialist, PA Game Commission
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is an always fatal neurodegenerative disease of cervids and was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2012. Since this discovery, the distribution of CWD in Pennsylvania has spread and will continue to spread without active management. This talk will review the history and current status of CWD, surveillance and management strategies for CWD, and challenges the Game Commission faces for future management of CWD. 

The Crop Tree Method of Managing Your Forest: The Many Reasons for the Many Seasons
Steven Hoover, Service Forester, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry
This talks provides an overview of technical guidelines and personal values associated with the crop tree method of managing a private forest. Visual materials for the PowerPoint presentation are a collection of government and university technical guide books, data and photos from a local Tioga County Forest Steward landowner project, stock photos, and personal photography files. Steven will share his 28 years of insight and experience in selecting crop trees (previously known as TSI, or timber stand improvement) and the ever-increasing need for private landowners to embrace this method of managing a forest for the long term – the sustainable term. Also included are a few humorous photos and anecdotes from the field.

Getting Better Results from a Timber Sale by Using a Consulting Forester
Eric Monger, Forester, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry
The process of a timber sale, from start to finish, is most successful with a consulting forester on your side. We will talk about the on-the-ground activities as well as the paperwork involved. At the end of this presentation you will have a better understanding of all the steps to responsibly conduct a timber sale on your property.
 

Wildlife in Your Woods: Real-World Goals and Ways to Reach Them
Jim Gillis, State Biologist, PA USDA-NRCS
Forest landowners often include wildlife among the main goals or uses of forestland, whether for hunting, observing, or just enjoying. But it can be a real challenge to know which wildlife may call your forest its home, and equally challenging to know how to manage your forest in a wildlife-friendly way. This presentation will provide a discussion of real-world wildlife goals for your forest and describe practical ways to achieve those goals.

After Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
Dave Scamardella, Forester, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry
Saying every forested stand is different is a huge understatement; however, this is even more obvious when dealing with the loss of a particular species like eastern hemlock. In this presentation, several different stands will be examined to see how the loss was handled, and the forest’s options for the future.

Weighing Trees with Light: Modern Remote Sensing and Geospatial Technologies in Forestry
Doug Miller, Research Professor of Geography, Penn State
Advances in a wide range of remote sensing and geospatial technologies now offer us, nearly one-fifth of the way through the 21st century, increasingly accurate and cost-effective methods to measure, monitor, and assess the physical and biological state of our natural resources. GPS, GIS, and remote sensing technologies like Lidar are now able to be used synergistically to measure landscapes in detailed ways that heretofore have not been possible. This talk will review the current state-of-the-art in these rapidly evolving technologies and discuss their role in supporting the sound management of forest resources.

Session 8

Accomplish Sustainable Forestry Goals on Your Woodlot
Gay and Harold Thistle, Pennsylvania Tree Farm
Practicing sustainable forestry maintains the ecology while offering options for harvest, as well as sustaining the forestland for future generations to enjoy. Management plans can be important tools for a landowner to use to communicate with foresters. This session will look at how to personalize the tools offered by forestry management plans and/or certification to support sustainable forestry goals on your woodlot.

Don’t Muddy the Waters: Best Management Practices, and Erosion and Sediment Control Plans for Timber Harvesting Operations
Chuck Coup, Program Manager, PA Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Implementation Committee
Best Management Practices (BMPs) are effective and practical methods that prevent the movement of sediment and other pollutants from the land to the water during timber harvesting operations. Pennsylvania regulations not only require that BMPs be implemented during timber harvesting operations, but that they are planned ahead of time in a written Erosion and Sediment Control (E&S) Plan. Forest landowners are required to sign off on these plans and are ultimately responsible for their implementation. This presentation will review BMPs, regulatory requirements, and the components of an E&S Plan.

Landowners’ Legacy: Personal Stories of Conservation
Michael Knoop, Land Protection and Planning Manager, Western PA Conservancy
Have you thought about protecting your land with a conservation easement but still have questions? A panel of landowners who have taken the conservation plunge will share their personal stories. Why did they choose to protect their land in perpetuity? What were the major challenges along the way? What decisions needed to be made? Who did they work with? Who did they confide in? How was the easement constructed? What was the financial commitment? What were the overall benefits to the landowner? What lessons were learned in the process? What advice would they have for a landowner who is considering conserving a property? This session is intended to provide a landowner-to-landowner perspective and offer real-life experience on the topic of conservation easements.

The Importance of Forests to Water
Bryan Swistock, Water Resources Specialist, Penn State Extension
This presentation introduces "forest hydrology," or the movement of water within forested watersheds. The importance of trees and forests in providing clean water and reducing stormwater in comparison to other landscapes will also be illustrated, along with the critical processes of infiltration and groundwater recharge.

Planting Trees on a Budget
Ryan Davis, Chesapeake Forests Program Manager, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
Planting trees and protecting them as they grow can be an expensive endeavor. But it doesn't always have to be! Join experienced biologist and self-professed penny pincher Ryan Davis, PA Forest Program Manager for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, to learn about the full array of tree planting techniques and how to choose the right methods for your site and budget. He will cover planting techniques, sheltering methods, sourcing considerations, and creative ways to stretch your dollars.

Build Your Own Trail Camera 
Charlie Schwarz, Retired Forester, Naturalist and Photographer
Checking the photos on a camera trap’s memory card is like opening presents on Christmas morning. You never know what you’ll find – it may be a lump of coal or it may be what you’ve wished for all year. With readily available materials (a point-and-shoot digital camera, commercial control board, and waterproof case), you can build your own trail camera that will produce excellent photographs or videos. The quality of the day and night photographs taken by these homemade trail cameras can exceed those from all but a few commercial trail cameras – plus there’s the satisfaction of using something that, at least in part, you've made yourself and know that you can repair in your own home. By watching for bargains, it’s possible to build an excellent trail camera for around $100. At this session you will get an overview of the materials and methods needed to build your own trail camera as well as a sampling of the results – photographs of many species, from mice and flying squirrels to deer and bears and bobcats.

Township Ordinance: Impacts on Private Forest Management
Michael Barton, Consulting Forester, PA Chapter, Association of Consulting Foresters; John Hudson, Consulting Forester, PA Chapter, Association of Consulting Foresters
Consulting foresters Michael Barton and John Hudson will present examples of town ordinances that affect forest management practices. Foresters and landowners will discuss the ACRE (Agriculture, Communities, and Rural Environment) law and how to use it in addressing overreaching ordinances.

Wellness in Your Woods
Suzann Schiemer, Landowner 
Do you enjoy the aromas of the woods? Do you feel awe at the sight of a beautiful natural vista? Do you experience a sense of calm by the sound of songbirds in the early morning? If so, you might be supporting your personal health and wellness through nature's abundance. Explore the many wellness benefits available to you by spending time in a natural environment. This presentation will highlight the green exercise of Shinrin-Yoku, also known as forest bathing. Included with the benefits of forest bathing will be recommendations for incorporating this practice into your time outdoors.

Ecosystem Engineers: Shaping Healthy Forests in the Face of Multiple Stressors
Ron Rohrbaugh, Forest Program Director, Audubon Pennsylvania
Emerging science reveals that meeting the full breeding cycle needs of many forests birds cannot be achieved through simply maintaining homogeneous forest conditions on the landscape. Creating appropriate, diverse forest ages and structural conditions to support breeding birds requires the use of multiple techniques, including strategic timber harvesting and actively controlling stressors, such as insect pests, tree diseases, invasive plants, and over-browsing by white-tailed deer. The goal is to create a dynamic mosaic of forest ages and structural conditions over landscape and regional scales. Audubon’s Healthy Forest Initiative seeks to create desired, healthy forest conditions through landscape-scale decision support, management planning, forester training, landowner outreach, and sustainable markets. This presentation will have special emphasis on the impacts of deer by reporting on new findings from a statewide analysis of deer and bird population dynamics during the past 37 years.

Forest Forensics
Jim Finley, Professor Emeritus, Private Forest Management, Center for Private Forests at Penn State
Learn how to interpret the history of your woodlands by "reading" ecological patterns influenced by natural and human impacts.

Prescribed Fire as a Forest Management Tool
Jesse Kreye, Assistant Professor of Fire and Natural Resources Management, Penn State
Fire has played a significant role in shaping many North American ecosystems and prescribed burning is being more widely used to meet various land management objectives. Restoring fire-dependent ecosystems and mitigating fire hazard are often primary objectives. Creating early successional habitat for wildlife, increasing landscape diversity, and improving oak management are among the reasons for increased use of fire in eastern hardwood forests. Prescribed burning is conducted under specified or “prescribed” environmental conditions within a predetermined area to achieve desired outcomes. This presentation will discuss the role of prescribed fire in forest management and give a brief overview of how prescribed burns are planned and implemented.

Session 9

Running Small Engines on Charcoal: Never Use Gasoline Again in Your Log Splitter!
Gary Gilmore, Woodland Stewardship Coordinator, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry
The objective of this presentation is to share a decade of designs and testing that will show you how easy it is to make a charcoal gasifier you can use. Charcoal from wood is mostly carbon. Through a controlled process known as charcoal gasification, this carbon is converted to carbon monoxide and used as a fuel to run the engine. This process was used during WWII for fueling many civilian vehicles when gasoline was in short supply. This presentation will also include an outdoor demonstration of this technology to run a log splitter and generator.

Conservation Easements for Private Forest Landowners
Matt Marusiak, Land Protection Manager, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
You have been a good steward of your forestland and are proud of your management. But do you worry how the next owner will treat your forest? If so, you may want to consider working with a land trust to place a conservation easement on your property. Conservation easements can be crafted to help meet your long-term visions for your property, protect important conservation values, restrict unwanted uses, and permit sustainable forest management and agricultural uses. This presentation will describe how conservation easements work, discuss how they protect forestland, and provide the steps of working with a land trust to place a conservation easement on your property.

Managing Your Pond or Lake
Bryan Swistock, Water Resources Specialist, Penn State Extension
This presentation will cover management strategies for earthen ponds and lakes. Topics will include pond measurements, pond ecology, fixing leaks, water quality, aquatic plants, algae, fisheries, and wildlife. Information will also be presented on harmful algae blooms.

Identification and Control of Common Non-Native Invasive Plants
Dave Jackson, Forest Resources Educator, Penn State Extension
Invasive plants grow rapidly, spread aggressively, and displace our native plants. This presentation will discuss why we should all be concerned about invasive plants, particularly if we are interested in songbirds. An integrated approach to controlling non-native vegetation will be examined. You will learn how to identify some of the most common invasive plants and will be introduced to various control measures used for each. 

Bees in the Trees: Biodiverse Pollinators in the Early Spring Flowering Forest Canopy 
Katherine "Kass" R. Urban-Mead, PhD Candidate, Department of Entomology, Cornell University
Farms with some nearby woodlands often have more diverse and species-rich bee communities. This talk will first explore the life history strategies and diverse habitat preferences of forest-associated pollinating bees. We will then explore the evidence that bees frequently gather pollen from wind-pollinated trees. If bees can use this pollen, it is a great resource, as the number of flowers in a blooming tree is orders of magnitude more than ephemerals! Our research used canopy-trapping and sweep-netting to understand the vertical bee population dynamics and canopy foraging. Many bees, not just the ones who nest in the forest, are regularly found in the canopy (including over half of known NY's apple-orchard pollinators). We are in the midst of identifying the diets of these wild bees to understand their tree pollen preferences. This talk will consider actionable steps for landowners hoping to include wild pollinators in their woodlot and forest management goals.

Case Study: How to Overcome Overreaching Township Ordinances that Negatively Impact Private Landowners
Robert Davis, Landowner; Gary Westlake, Landowner and Nurseryman
Pennsylvania forest landowners Robert Davis and Gary Westlake share their firsthand experiences with township ordinances that hindered forest management on their land, and how the ACRE (Agriculture, Communities, and Rural Environment) law can be used to dispute such ordinances.

Citizen Science: What's in Your Backyard?
Suzann Schiemer, Landowner
Citizen science projects provide wonderful opportunities for individuals or families to voluntarily contribute to scientific research. In addition, citizen science sites provide a treasure trove of information. This talk will describe examples and strategies for engaging in citizen science, including species identification tools, regional checklists, terminology, events, and news. 

Forestry Principles: Before the Harvest
Gerald Hoy, Forest Program Specialist, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry
This presentation will briefly cover several forestry principles that landowners must understand before they decide to cut any trees. We will discuss species, spacing, age, size, light, regeneration, and several types of harvests. Understanding these principles will help landowners in planning and care of their woodland.

Tree Tubes: Learn from the Best for Planting Success!
Jim Walizer, PA Forest Steward and Centre County Forest Landowner, Walizer Farms
In many places in Pennsylvania, tree tubes are necessary to have any chance at tree seedling survival. There are lots of animals who will enjoy dining on your small trees. Many tree tubes have their challenges. Learn from decades of research on what type of tree tubes work best for tree growth.

10 Things Every Woodland Owner Should Know about Estate Planning and Preserving Legacy Woodlands
Karen Hackman, Managing Member, RHP Law Group LLC, Attorneys at Law
Learn the importance of having certain basic documents in place and how more advanced planning tools address challenges that include: dealing with disinterested heirs and fairness, choosing the right person to serve as the future fiduciary (agents under powers of attorney and trustees of future trusts), risk of loss if a surviving spouse remarries, risk of loss in the next generation, and risk of loss to pay for long-term care.