Press-Republican

May 5, 2013

Forestry workshop offered

Richard Gast, Cornell Ag Connection
Press-Republican

---- — The New York Forest Owners Association (NYFOA) is a well-established, active state-wide not-for-profit dedicated to the needs of New York’s non-industrial private forest landowners.

NYFOA works closely with Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service to provide information and services to its members and to encourage stewardship of private forests for the long-term benefit of current and future generations of New Yorkers.

The core group assisting NYFOA with programming and education is a dedicated team of CCE natural resources educators trained in a variety of forestry, natural resources and environmental fields. CCE educators are allied with the Cornell University campus, local legislators and others who help form policies that affect the management and sustainability of private forest lands within their communities, as well as a network of educators throughout New York and in other states with whom they share research and Extension projects, and educational successes and strategies.

CCE Franklin County has long-maintained a friendly, focused working relationship with the Northern Adirondack Chapter (NAC) of NYFOA, its officers and members. We believe one of the best ways to provide outreach and facilitate learning is to provide workshops held on privately owned non-industrial forest properties; workshops that allow private woodland owners, property managers, maple producers, legislators, government representatives and a concerned public the opportunity to share beneficial management information and see firsthand woodlot improvement and timber and land-management strategies that are effectively being used by dedicated forest landowners in their communities to maximize the use of their forest natural resources.

Through its local chapters, NYFOA provides camaraderie, knowledge and training for landowners and the public. Neighboring forest landowners and other NYFOA members often meet to share management information, attend workshops and tour each other’s woodlots. Tours are commonly referred to as “woodswalks.” These provide valuable opportunities to look at successfully applied woodlot-improvement techniques and effective timber and land-management strategies taking place within their local communities and across the state.

NYFOA NAC, in association with CCE Franklin County, will be hosting a woodswalk of a unique property located just minutes from the Village of Chateaugay and the Quebec border. The property features opportunities to learn about small-scale, off-grid photovoltaic solar applications; small-scale hydroelectric applications; silvopasturing for beef production; trout-pond management and fish farming; best management thinning practices for mixed timber forests; and meeting sustainable forest-management goals.

The tour will be Saturday, May 18, at 9:30 a.m. (registration begins at 8:30) at A&J Bouchard Farms, 200 McNierney Rd., Churubusco. To pre-register or for information, contact Tony Bouchard at 563-5385 or jnbouchard1@charter.net; Bill LaPoint, 315-353-6663, bdlny@peoplepc.com; or CCE at 483-7403 or rlg24@cornell.edu. Pre-registration is appreciated.

Earlier this year, in conjunction with their 50th anniversary, NYFOA launched an initiative they are calling Restore New York Woodlands (RNYW). The initiative is a statewide effort to bring forest health issues and solutions to the attention of other forest stakeholders and the public and to engage and educate all New Yorkers about the principles and the environmental and economic benefits of small-scale, sustainable forest management.

CCE is committed to education about forest ecosystems, silviculture, local economies, watersheds, wildlife, natural aesthetics and even law. Those who develop sustainable management strategies will reap all the economic, environmental, ecological and sociological benefits of private forest ownership. At the same time, they will help maintain the environmental health and the rural character of the North Country.

Over the years, I have learned this. Even if they have different objectives, most of the region’s forest landowners do have one thing in common; the desire to be good stewards. And one thing is certain. New York forest landowners who have properly managed their resources now own some of the most productive forestland in the nation.

Richard L. Gast, Extension program educator II, Horticulture, Natural Resources, Energy; agriculture programs assistant, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, 355 West Main St., Suite 150, Malone, 12953. Call 483-7403, fax 483-6214 or email rlg24@cornell.edu.