Forest landowners retreat to the woods

Southwest Virginia landowners can learn more about actively managing their forestlands during the Forest Landowners’ Retreat, May 16-18, at the Matthews State Forest in Galax. Topics will include forest management planning, timber sales, wildlife management, invasive species, shiitake mushroom culture, tree identification and basic forest measurement. A tour of the Matthews State Forest will showcase white pine and hardwood management, wildlife practices and water quality protection.

Sponsoring partners for the retreat are Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program. “This program provides an excellent introduction to forest management issues, especially for those new to land ownership,” said Ellen Powell of the Virginia Department of Forestry.

“We use a combination of classroom and field sessions, taught by experts, to get participants fully engaged in learning,” said Jennifer Gagnon of Virginia Tech’s Forest Landowner Education Program.  “The retreat format also allows people to share their experiences with other landowners.”

The program begins early on Friday. Basic registration includes Friday and Saturday meals, activities and materials. On-site lodging is limited, so participants should register early or plan to make their own lodging arrangements. Registration with Thursday and Friday night lodging is $95 per person or $170 per couple. The rate for commuters or those arranging their own lodging is $55 per person or $90 per couple.

To register online or download a brochure, visit  The deadline to register is May 2. For more information, contact Jennifer Gagnon at 540-231-6391 or

Persons with disabilities who desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity also may contact Jennifer between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations, no later than May 2. *TDD number is (800) 828-1120.


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