The Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program, a Virginia Cooperative Extension activity in Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources, provides Virginia's landowners opportunities to learn how to maintain their land and forests to make advantageous, profitable, and sustainable investments.

Two separate one-day workshops and an online workshop are currently being offered.

The two, one-day workshops are offered March 20, 2009, at Southside Community College in Keysville, and March 27, 2009, at Airfield 4-H Center in Wakefield. The $10 registration fee includes lunch, refreshments, a laminated full-color field guide, and transportation. To register for the Keysville course, interested persons should contact Mary Whitmer at the Old Dominion RC&D Council at (434) 542-5489. To register for the Wakefield course, contact Patrick Vincent at the South Centre Corridors RC&D Council at (804) 732-4375.

Those who attend on of the one-day workshops will learn how to increase forest productivity, health, and biodiversity on their land, while also learning how to conserve soil and water. They will also learn to remove carbon. The workshops also promise to help attendees understand the socio-economic benefits, the legal and economic situations, and allow the chance to learn from their peers. The first part of the workshop will be inside, and the second part will take place outside where the attendees will be able to see these practices first-hand.

The separate online workshop teaches the landowners about the woodland options for their land. The workshop, for novices and veterans alike, teaches basic management skills and techniques for private forest landowners. The 12-week course is taken online and allows those interested to learn from home. Materials for this workshop include three books about the sustainability and management of their land, and their importance and stewards. “A Virtual Tour of the Forest” DVD, online reading materials, and assignments are included.

Professionals and experienced landowners will act as mentors for the students and help with any questions. Aside from the materials required, there are also computer requirements for students. A computer with web browser and an e-mail account are essential. Also each participant is asked to have the most current versions of Adobe Acrobat Reader, and RealOne. Access to a printer is strongly recommended, as well.

This online course begins Monday, June 1, 2009, and continues through Friday, Aug. 14, 2009. Registration begins March 1, 2009, and requires a $25 fee. Registration forms are available online, but students cannot pay the fee online. Questions and concerns about the online course should be directed to Jennifer Gagnon, Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program coordinator at (540) 231-6391.