To help avoid future conflicts and problems that result all too often when development meets farmland, the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program is presenting a statewide course on forest and farmland conservation strategies beginning in January 2007 at various sites around the state. The course is designed for landowners, county and city planners, natural resource professionals, educators, and interested citizens.

The six to nine-hour course will introduce participants to a suite of tools, which can help conserve forest and farmland. Some of the topics that will be covered include forest and farmland loss and fragmentation in Virginia, zoning, right-to farm laws, bargain sales, conservation easements and land trusts, purchase and transfer of development rights, agricultural and forestal districts, and the use of value taxation. In addition, landowners will discuss their own struggles and successes with using some of these tools.

For more information on dates and locations, or if you are interested in taking this course, please contact Jennifer Gagnon at (540) 231-6391. An abbreviated version will be offered at Adam Downing's Woods & Wildlife Conference in Manassas on Jan. 27 for one credit hour.

The College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech consistently ranks among the top five programs of its kind in the nation. Faculty members stress both the technical and human elements of natural resources and instill in students a sense of stewardship and land-use ethics. Areas of studies include environmental resource management, fisheries and wildlife sciences, forestry, geospatial and environmental analysis, natural resource recreation, urban forestry, wood science and forest products, geography, and international development.