Landowners Head for the Woods

Virginia landowners will have an opportunity this fall to observe first hand possible alternatives for their forest and for the critters that depend upon it. Experts in managing forests for the future will be featured at Virginia Forest Watch’s (VAFW) fifth annual conference.

“We want folks to know that there are alternatives to clear cutting that protect the environment and are more profitable over the long run,” says VAFW chairman Gerald Gray.

Special guest speakers include recently retired Virginia Department of Forestry chief of silviculture Stan Warner, and private consulting forester Michael Lewis of Martinsville. On Saturday, they will lead conference participants on a daylong tour of two Virginia State Forests – the nearby Appomattox and Cumberland State Forests.

The conference begins on Friday and continues through Sunday, October 10-12, at the 4-H Education Center at Holiday Lake State Park, 30 miles east of Lynchburg, VA.

Lodging and meals will be available at the center.

Presentations on restorative forestry and on conservation easements will feature the Healing Harvest Forest Foundation from Floyd County, which utilizes horse logging, and the Staunton-based Valley Conservation Council

Silviculturalist Stan Warner has used sustainable techniques over the past 43 years to manage Virginia’s State Forests in order to protect them for both future timbering and for the wildlife that lives there.
“I have always tried to stay humble and place myself into the habitats of this good earth with all the other critters big, small and those almost invisible. I have and still do consider myself no better or no worse than anything else,” says Warner.

“I recognize the power I inherited as potential predator at the ‘top of the chain.’ [I am] willing to support and defend opportunities for those not fortunate enough to be able to defend themselves,” he continues. “[We must] do the most good while doing the least harm. Each is a product of man’s entry into the environment.”

Michael Lewis is the former chairman of the Virginia Chapter of the Association of Consulting Foresters and currently serves as the southern regional director of the Association of Consulting Foresters. He has been a private consulting forester for over 25 years and has served on the Virginia Water Quality Task Force for more than 10 years.

A representative of the Healing Harvest Forest Foundation will address the human needs for forest products while creating a nurturing coexistence between the forest and human communities through restorative forestry.

Kathy Holm, Director of Public Policy for the Valley Conservation Council, will explain the parameters of conservation easements. She holds a degree in journalism and political science and a master’s degree in forest resources. Her organization promotes land use that sustains the farms, forest, open spaces and cultural heritage.

Assisting VAFW with the conference are the Michaux-St. James Foundation, Southside Concerned Citizens, Rockbridge Area Conservation Council, and the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club.
VAFW is a statewide coalition that supports the use of sustainable forestry methods to improve water quality, wildlife habitat, and reduce impact on the forest. VAFW is past recipient of the Virginia Department of Natural Resources Virginia Environmental Stewardship Award.

For more information or to register call 276-479-2176 or
visit to lean more about VAFW


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