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Forest Matters
Stewardship News

Winter 2018

In This Issue
Congratulations, Mike!

Forest Stewardship Program Manager Mike Huneke (pictured above with daughter Carmen) received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award last October in Baltimore, MD, after being nominated by the Baltimore Area Council and the Boy Scouts of America. This award is granted to Eagle Scouts who, after 25 years, have distinguished themselves in their life work and who have shared their talents with their communities on a voluntary basis. Thank you, Mike, for all you do in service to others! 

Our Partners 

Logo for the National Association of State Foresters.
Home Welcome to the Winter 2018 edition of the Forest Matters Stewardship News!

Explore how Missourians are learning about the benefits of trees in our lead article.
Read about landowner John Cobb's efforts to improve his corner of the world in West Virginia for wildlife, the groundswell of support for forest stewardship and protection in the St. Croix River watershed, a horse logging demo for elementary students in Minnesota, and tapping other tree species beyond sugar maple, among other topics.

Help us expand the reach of Forest Matters! Use the Forward this email link below to share this newsletter with your networks and encourage them to pass it on.

Mike Huneke
Forest Stewardship Program Manager
Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

Making Trees Work in Missouri Communities

Holly Dentner, Missouri Department of Conservation

Developing the Campaign
For the last several years, Missourians have been getting the message about trees. Specifically, they've been hearing about all the benefits trees provide. Through the Missouri Department of Conservation, the "Trees Work" campaign has dedicated resources to educate and inform Missourians of all the ways trees work for them.

The Trees Work campaign came about as a result of the State's 2010 Forest Action Plan. One of the critical issues outlined in the plan was the need to communicate the benefits of Missouri's trees and forests to its citizens. To sustain the forest resource,
Missourians must understand and appreciate its value.

Trees Work became the outreach/educational/marketing campaign that evolved from that need. The key component? Focus the messaging on the real, tangible benefits and make them connect to the average person.

Read the full Trees Work story.

A young boy reads a book while sitting at the base of a tree.
Screengrab of Trees Work public service announcement featuring professional actor Elliot Smith. Click on the image to view the video. (Courtesy photo by Missouri Department of Conservation)
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Landowner Spotlight
John Cobb
Leaving the World a Better Place--Wildlife Benefit from Landowner's Stewardship Goals  
Glenn Rosenholm, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry 

Retired business executive John Cobb has it pretty good-- really good, in fact.
Cobb, age 76, owns 347 acres of mostly wooded and hilly land in Ireland, WV. The highest point on his property is a mountaintop that he calls "Cobb's Knob" at 1,725 feet above sea level. His family calls this land "Grandpa's Forest." His residence features a recently built 4,600-square-foot house situated atop his mountain. His girlfriend, Betty, 82, was born a mile down the road. And they are still in good health.
Yet with all he has, Cobb wanted even more--to leave his small part of the world a better place. 
John waves to the camera while taking a work break in the woods. (Courtesy photo by John Cobb)
Want to read about other forest land conservation efforts?
Stewardship Across the Landscape 
My St. Croix Woods: New Approaches to Landowner Engagement in the St. Croix 
Nicole Butler, Landowner Outreach Assistant, St. Croix River Association

The St. Croix River flows more than 160 miles along much of the northern Wisconsin-Minnesota border, providing a cool, healthy water flow into the Mississippi River. Its tributaries stretch across the landscape to form 28 watersheds, and its drainage basin covers more than 7,800 square miles - roughly the same size as New Jersey. The watershed is home to rare geological features and habitats, globally significant migratory birds, 40 native mussel species, the rare snake-tail dragonfly and Karner blue butterfly, and a wide array of terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. In 1968 the St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers were among the original eight congressionally designated "Wild and Scenic Rivers." The St. Croix and its tributaries also serve as a valuable resource to its local communities, providing drinking water, energy, tourism, and recreational opportunities.

Over the past 10 years, the St. Croix River Association has become increasingly involved in coordinated, collaborative efforts to institutionalize forest stewardship across the St. Croix watershed. These efforts facilitated the adoption of two landscape stewardship plans - the first for the Yellow River watershed of Wisconsin and the second for the Kettle River watershed of Minnesota. These plans and the partnership efforts that made them possible have since grown with groundswell support for forest stewardship and protection across the watershed. In the past year, this growth has culminated in the development of the My St. Croix Woods Program.
Read the entire St. Croix story.

Aerial view of a river running through a wooded landscape.

Upper St. Croix watershed. (Courtesy drone photo by Craig Blacklock)

Alterations in the Allegany

Bruce Ingram, Turkey Country, November/December 2017 

Editor's note: For many years, the U.S. Forest Service has been partnering with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) to enhance wildlife habitat on national forest land through the Making Tracks Program. This program has expanded this year to include representation from State and Private Forestry, and efforts are underway to promote the enhancement of wild turkey habitat on private lands through the Forest Stewardship Program.

We're sharing a success story from the November/December 2017 issue of Turkey Country magazine about the work being performed in the Colonial Forests of the Mid-Atlantic and New England to establish wild turkey habitat through USDA programs. The Forest Stewardship Program provides technical planning assistance to family forest landowners to produce many benefits, including wildlife habitat enhancement. To learn more about wild turkey habitat enhancement, contact your state service forester or go to

Extending from West Virginia and western Virginia through Maine, America's Colonial Forests have a rich hunting tradition. One of the most important parts of the region -- and an NWTF-designated area of focus -- is southwestern New York, part of the Allegany Mountains. 
Read the full NWTF article.
Let the Sun Shine In! 
Jody Shimp, Let the Sun Shine In! Project
Tracy Fidler, Shawnee National Forest
David Allen, Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Oaks are slowly disappearing from southern Illinois forests, say scientists who study the region's forests. They blame this loss on the lack of sunlight in our forests. Without more sunlight, southern Illinois forests may be the first in Central North America to convert completely from a forest dominated by oaks to one dominated by shade-loving species, such as maple.

A darker forest means fewer songbirds, pollinators, and other wildlife. That's because sunlight gives life to wildflowers, grasses, and shrubs. Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators feast on these flowers, while the forest floor provides cover for birds and other wildlife to raise their young.

"Oak woodlands are some of the most threatened communities in North America," says Jody Shimp, who is coordinating an effort known as Let the Sun Shine In! "We want to create a diverse mosaic of forested habitats within these forest landscapes. By making our forests sunnier, we can save the diversity of life that depends on them."
Read the entire Let the Sun Shine In! story
A person holds a smartphone in their hand with a map on its screen.
Regional partners are now able to use mobile apps that serve as a customized and consistent data collection tool. (Courtesy photo by Jody Shimp)
Stewardship News
2017 Tax Tips Bulletin Available

Dr. Linda Wang, National Timber Tax Specialist with the U.S. Forest Service, has finalized Tax Tips for Forest Landowners for the 2017 Tax Year. This publication reviews the major Federal income tax laws to help you file your 2017 income tax return. Although tax laws on timber transactions are not common knowledge, they are an important part of the ongoing cost of owning and managing timber, engaging in forest stewardship activities, and complying with tax law.

Timber or landscape trees destroyed by storms are considered "casualty losses" that may allow you as a property owner to take a deduction on your Federal income tax return. Learn more about this option in an article authored by Dr. Wang.

For more information about tax treatment of timber, visit the National Timber Tax Website
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We Need Your Help Spotting This Disease!   

Look for signs of beech leaf disease using this guide. Although the causal agent hasn't been identified yet, this disease has been contributing to American beech decline and mortality across northeastern Ohio, northwestern Pennsylvania, and southwestern New York. Contact your local forest health specialist, State Extension Service, or State Departments of Agriculture and Forestry if you observe symptoms of beech leaf disease.

Beech leaves that have raised lateral veins and yellow coloring.
Raised striped bands between lateral veins of beech leaves. (Courtesy photo by Carrie Ewing, The Ohio State University)   
Your Land, Your Legacy: Creating Forest Legacy Planning Resources across the Northeast

Allyson Muth, Forest Stewardship Program Associate, The Pennsylvania State University

In 2015, a consortium of institutions (Penn State and the Universities of Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont) received funding from the National Institute for Food and Agriculture's Renewable Resources Extension Act National Focus Funds grant program. This effort was made through the auspices of the Northeastern Forest Resources Extension Committee and driven by a desire to expand the impact of successful forest legacy planning engagement programs.
Our goal was to address the critical issue of helping landowners make well-informed decisions about how best to ensure continued stewardship of their woodlands through intergeneration transfer, land protection strategies, or other tools relevant to keeping woodlands intact. Recognizing limited capacity in the 20 States that comprise the Northeast Region to begin legacy planning programs where perhaps little existed, the grant was viewed as a means to create state-specific resources that would be most useful to landowners as they navigate this complex decision.
Read the full Your Land, Your Legacy article.

New Hampshire Your Land, Your Legacy video.

Indiana's Forests Are in Danger, and the Threat: You

Sarah Bowman, IndyStar
February 12, 2018

Reprinted with permission from IndyStar

Indiana's forests are in jeopardy.

Now before pointing to the "Save Yellowwood" sign in your front yard in agreement or sighing at the gall of the so called "tree huggers" in exasperation, this discussion is not about the state's public forests.

No -- rather, it's the private forests at stake. The ones surrounding the house where you live, the ones where you go four-wheeling with family, the ones where you go hunting with friends or the ones where you chop wood to feed your fires. The ones you own.
Read the full IndyStar article
Partnering for Forests: A Look at the U.S. Forest Service's Cooperative Forestry Program and its Partners
Michael Huneke, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

American Forests
has announced the release of its latest publication, Partnering for Forests: A Look at the U.S. Forest Service's Cooperative Forestry Program and its Partners. It celebrates the on-the-ground work partners have accomplished for our state and private forests. This booklet shares success stories as it guides the reader through the many programs administered by the U.S. Forest Service's Cooperative Forestry Program through State forestry agencies and other partners throughout the country.

American Forests logo.
Backyard Woods: Bring Your Vision to Life

Micha Bennett, MobilizeGreen, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

If you want to make the most of your backyard woods this year, now is the time to get started. For helpful ideas, check out the U.S. Forest Service's handy, fun-to-read publication called Backyard Woods: Bring Your Vision to Life. It has 44 pages of tips, how to's, photos, and fun facts about creating a master plan to manage your woods for the things you value.
Read the full Backyard Woods article.

Cover of a publication for owners of 10 or fewer wooded acres.
Ecology and Management of Northern Red Oak in New England

Karen Bennett, Forestry Professor and Specialist, UNH Cooperative Extension

Northern red oak ( Quercus rubra L.) is one of the highest-valued species for both timber production and wildlife amenities. In New England, the species is declining due to regeneration difficulties, dwindling farmland abandonment, and losses from deer browsing.

The new publication, Ecology and Management of Northern Red Oak in New England, attempts to assemble and evaluate information on red oak ecology, management, and habitat that is especially applicable to New England. Red oak appears to occupy a different niche here than in other regions, and research from those regions may not fully apply.
Read the full northern red oak guide article.
Taking a Walk in Penn's Woods

Allyson Muth, Forest Stewardship Program Associate, The Pennsylvania State University

One thousand Pennsylvanians took to the woods on the first October day of 2017 to participate in 61 organized walks across the State and in a myriad of other informal hikes. This day of woods walks celebrated the benefits and resources Penn's Woods provides its citizens and gave everyone an opportunity to enjoy and learn about the forests that make up the majority of land cover in Pennsylvania.
Read the full Penn's Woods walk story.

A family walks on a path through the woods on a sunny day.
A family takes part in a walk in Penn's woods in October 2017. (Courtesy photo by Allyson Muth)
Welcome Rhode Island's New Forest Stewardship Coordinator!

Fern Graves received her Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Auburn University in her home State of Alabama. In 2016, she completed a Master of Science degree in Entomology at Penn
Photo of a young woman standing by a tree.
Fern Graves.

State University, where her thesis research focused on the invasive Asian longhorned beetle. After moving to Rhode Island, she worked as a consultant writing forest management plans for private landowners. She began working for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management in 2017, where she now coordinates the Forest Stewardship Program.

Inspired by a childhood centered on the rich ecosystem of the Mobile Delta, Fern still nurtures a lifelong passion for the natural world, and she is especially fond of longleaf pine savannas and weevils. Professionally, she is most interested in forest health and ecology as well as community outreach and education. In her personal time, she maintains an increasing collection of beetles and enjoys hiking, kayaking, and cooking Cajun cuisine. Welcome, Fern!
Iowa Announces New Forest Stewardship Coordinator
A man stands in a field.
Joe Herring.
Dennis McDougall, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently named District Forester Joe Herring as the new Forest Stewardship Program Coordinator for Iowa. Joe takes over responsibility for the program following Aaron Lumley's acceptance of the Assistant State Forester position for the state of Wyoming. "I'm excited for this opportunity," says Joe, who enjoyed getting to meet some fellow State Coordinators at the National Forest Stewardship meeting in Saratoga Springs in October.
Joe currently works as a field forester in north-central Iowa where he's been for more than 10 years. Prior to that he was a watershed planner in the Clean Water Act section of the DNR, and enjoys using his knowledge and GIS skills to apply conservation on private lands for water quality improvement and wildlife habitat. Joe states that trying to convince farmers to grow trees on some of the richest agricultural land in the world is a unique challenge that he enjoys most days. Most of all, Joe just enjoys being in the woods and working with landowners who are passionate about taking good care of their land. Joe has a B.S. in Forest Ecosystem Management and an M.S. in Water Resources from Iowa State University.
In his free time Joe enjoy wilderness backpacking, paddling, fishing, hunting, photography, writing, and working on the family Tree Farm in southern Iowa. Joe quips, "If I had time to golf, I'd probably go fishing or get a second job." Joe and his wife have a 2-year-old daughter and are thrilled to be welcoming a new baby boy due in March. Congratulations to Joe on both the new job and the new baby!
Competitive Grant Success Stories
Horse Logging at Hugo Elementary

Micha Bennett, MobilizeGreen, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

It was a snowy day at Hugo Elementary, but the school's young students eagerly braved the cold for a lesson in forest management. The fact that they got to pet and see horses up close probably helped their enthusiasm too.

On December 5, 2017, Tim Carroll of Cedar River Horse Logging brought his equine employees to tend the school's forest and teach kids about horse logging.

Horse logging is just what it sounds like: cutting down trees and using horses to haul away the logs. It's quieter than mechanized logging equipment and has a lower impact because the horses can get into smaller spaces and do less damage to the undergrowth. Even as technology permeates the forestry industry, there will likely always be a place for this old, sustainable technique.
Read the full horse logging story.

Young children pet a horse.
Students were eager to pet the horses. (Courtesy photo by Karen Harrison)
Michigan Launches Stewardship Story Map  
Mike Smalligan, Michigan DNR Forest Stewardship Coordinator

The U.S. Forest Service awarded a FY 2015 Landscape Scale Restoration grant to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to develop nine landscape plans. The Michigan DNR partnered with The Nature Conservancy, Huron Pines, an View of northern woods around a lake. d The Stewardship Network to devel op nine landscape plans that spanned 8 million acres in three very distinct regions of Michigan.

The landscape plans are now available to the public in an online story map at This site showcases stories of diverse landowners doing interesting land management projects in each of the nine landscapes. 

Forest Land Conservation Spotlight
The Pilgrim River Watershed Project Nears Completion
1,569 acres of prime forestland and four miles of river corridor protected
A story of collaboration, patience, and perseverance
Bill Leder, President, Copper Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Editor's Note: This article is reprinted with permission from the December 2017 Special Edition of the Partner News, a publication of the Partners in Forestry Landowner Cooperative.

HOUGHTON -- After a 12 year highly coordinated effort, the dream of protecting a high quality forest and one of the Upper Peninsula's best trout streams has just taken a big step toward final completion. Significant environmental and community benefits have been ensured forever.
Read the full Pilgrim River article.

A clear stream runs through a forest. 
Pilgrim River. (Courtesy photo by Rachel Hovel) 
Community Forest Program:
Portman Nature Preserve
Nate Fuller, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy Conservation & Stewardship Director

The U.S. Forest Service Community Forest Program provides cost-share funds to local government entities, qualified nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized Indian Tribes to acquire important private forests that provide public benefits to create a community forest. Since the first year of funds being distributed through the program in 2012, 42 projects have been funded across the country. In 2015, a project in southwestern Michigan was funded for acquisition, and in 2017 the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC) acquired the 189-acre property with the help of a $150,000 grant in Community Forest Program funds.

On October 21, 2017, more than 350 enthusiastic nature lovers joined together to celebrate the opening of the Portman Nature Preserve. Mother Nature herself seemed to be celebrating with an unseasonably warm, sunny day for October and finally unleashed her fall colors along the shores of the lakes.
Read the full Portman Nature Preserve story.

 Scenic view of trees in fall colors along a lake.
The fall colors along the shore of Mud Lake, public access, and unique wildlife habitats are just a small sampling of the public benefits the Portman Nature Preserve provides. (Courtesy photo by Nate Fuller, SWMLC)

The Milan Community Forest
George Pozzuto, Milan Community Forest Committee Chairman

Thanks in part to a grant from the U.S. Forest Service Community Forest Program (CFP), the Town of Milan, New Hampshire, purchased three parcels of land in 2016: two in March 2016 totaling 265 acres and the other in December 2016 for an additional 578 acres. The Town of Milan also added 542 acres from other sources to form the initial 1,385-acre Milan Community Forest. The community's goal is to continue to add land to this beginning to expand the Forest to a minimum of 5,000 acres. Besides the CFP grant, financial assistance came from several other sources: the State of New Hampshire, private sources, and the taxpayers in Milan. The Trust for Public Land and the Northern Forest Center provided significant support in this effort.
Read the full Milan Community Forest story
View down a newly cleared hiking path in the woods.
A newly created section of the eventual 3-mile MVS Bobcat Trail loop on the Milan Community Forest. (Courtesy photo by George Pozzuto)
Naturalist's Corner
Move Over, Sugar Maple --
You're Not the Only Syrup Producer in the Woods
Karen Sykes, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry 

It's that time of the year when woodlands and sugar bushes are filled with landowners tapping trees, running tubes from buckets to a central collection area, or collecting sap the old fashioned way by hanging a collection bucket right on the tap or using plastic, 2-liter bottles. Sugar maple trees, in particular, are the main source of sweet sap.

Can you make syrup out of other tree species besides the traditional sugar maple? Turns out that people have done just that. We'll explore what other species have been tapped for syrup after a brief overview of how syrup is made.
Read the full syrup making article

Old photograph of a metal sap collection bucket hanging on the trunk of a sugar maple tree.
Maple tree tapped for sap. (Courtesy photo by The New York Public Library)

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