DuBOIS, Pa. — Lola Smith, instructor in biology at Penn State DuBois, recently completed the Pennsylvania Forest Stewards Volunteer Program’s training program after participating in a four-day workshop on forest stewardship at Camp Krislund in Centre County, Pennsylvania.
The innovative program trains volunteers to promote forest stewardship in their communities by relaying what they’ve learned to their friends, neighbors, and community groups. Volunteers help spread the word about good forest stewardship, wisely caring for and judiciously using the forest resources today without compromising its ability to provide in the future. Stewards encourage landowners to base their land stewardship activities on their own values and objectives, including reforestation, wildlife habitat, aesthetic values, water resources protection and improvement, timber, recreation and how to make well-informed decisions in caring for the land.
To become a volunteer, Smith completed more than 24 hours of classroom and field training in forest and wildlife management, ecology, biodiversity, silviculture, forest invasives, communication and other subjects related to stewardship. Volunteers then invest a large amount of time relaying what they have learned to others in their community.
They work closely with other volunteers, DCNR Bureau of Forestry County Service Foresters, Penn State Extension Foresters, and other stakeholders. Volunteers promote forest stewardship through outreach opportunities that mesh their interests and expertise with a perceived need in the community.
To date, 798 volunteers throughout Pennsylvania have successfully completed the training program.
To learn more about the PA Forest Stewards volunteer program, contact the Center for Private Forests at Penn State toll-free at 1-800-235-9473 or visit the website.