BY CAROL LEA SPENCE, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food & Environment
Kentucky forests are becoming fragmented, and landowners’ objectives are changing. Woodland owners who are wondering how to get the most from their property can benefit from attending one of three short courses being offered around the state this summer by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.
Kentucky boasts nearly 12.5 million acres of forests. More than 300,000 families and individuals own fewer than 10 acres. Well-managed forests can provide extra income and recreational opportunities for their owners, as well as a beneficial environment for wildlife. The 2017 Woodland Owners Short Course will cover all those aspects for both novice and experienced landowners.
"The Woodland Owners Short Course connects professionals with landowners to help the owners achieve their particular management goals, whether that might be recreation, timber harvesting, wildlife or food production,” said Billy Thomas, UK extension forester. “Folks aren’t always aware of all the resources that are available to help them achieve their objectives.”
The one-day course is offered once in each of the three geographical regions of the state. Planning committees have developed the regional programs with local needs in mind, so each region’s course will vary slightly from the others.
Participants can choose from two concurrent tracks, Green and Gold. In Central Kentucky, the Green track will be tailored to landowners with fewer than 10 acres, while the Gold track will target landowners with 10 or more acres. In Eastern and Western Kentucky, landowners who have just acquired woodlands or who are beginning to think about management and wondering what their options are should enroll in the Green Track, while more experienced woodland owners can take advantage of the information available in the Gold Track. Past attendees of the short course will also find valuable information by returning to the course through the Gold Track.
Depending on the track and the region, sessions will cover such topics as timber improvement practices, wildlife habitat management, invasive species, tree identification, hunt leasing, food plots and mushrooms, financial and technical assistance programs and timber sales and trespass issues.
In the east region, the course is scheduled for Aug. 12 in the Laurel County Cooperative Extension office, 200 County Extension Road, London. There will be a field site visit to BPM Lumber Mill. Register by Aug. 4. The west region course is Aug. 26 at the Warren County Extension office, 3132 Nashville Road, Bowling Green, with the field visit to the Lacy Farm. Deadline for registration is July 21. In Central Kentucky, the Sept. 23 course will take place in the Erlanger Branch of the Kenton County Public Library, 401 Kenton Lands Road. The Kenton County Extension property will be the site for the field visit. Registration deadline is Sept. 15.
Each short course begins at 9 a.m. local time, with on-site registration at 8:30 a.m., and concludes around 4:30 p.m. Lunch is included. Due to limited space, organizers strongly encourage preregistration. When preregistering, sessions are $20 for individuals and $30 for couples. The day of the program, sessions are $30 for individuals and $40 for couples.
For a detailed listing of course topics at each location and to register, visit the short course website at http://forestry.ca.uky.edu/wosc. Registration is also available by phoning 859-257-7597.
The 2017 Woodland Owners Short Course is a partnership between the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, UK Department of Forestry in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Kentucky Division of Forestry, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Kentucky State University, Kentucky Tree Farm Committee, Kentucky Woodland Owners Association, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Kentucky Forest Industries Association, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, the Kentucky Chapter of the Association of Consulting Foresters of America Inc., Merrick Printing, Kenton County Library and Kenton, Laurel and Warren County Cooperative Extension offices.