Forests are one of Virginia's most valuable assets, yet the health and productivity of these forests are increasingly threatened. The Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program, a Virginia Cooperative Extension activity in Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources, is offering a one-day short course to assist landowners interested in making a long-term investment in the sustainability of their forests.

Wood, clean water, wildlife habitat, recreation, and serenity are but a few of the benefits provided by the state’s 15.3 million forested acres, thousands of which will be lost to urbanization if trends hold over the coming years. Meanwhile, thousands more acres are in need of restoration and management because of previous poor management practices, encroaching invasive species, and waning forest health. If Virginia’s forest landowners do not plan for the future, forests throughout the state will further deteriorate and become less relevant to society as a sustainable source of goods and services.

The course, “Investing in Sustainable Forestry – Profitable Forest Management in the 21st Century,” will be held on Saturday, May 30, at the Powell River Project Education Center near Norton. The class runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. Registration, which includes lunch, refreshments, a full-color field guide, and transportation for the afternoon field trip, is $20. To register, send a check payable to Black Diamond RC&D Council, 140 Highland Drive Ste. 2, Lebanon, VA 24266, Attn: Investing in Sustainable Forestry Short Course, by May 23.

The course will demonstrate strategies for making profitable and sustainable investments in forests. Topics covered include increasing forest productivity, improving forest health, increasing biodiversity, conserving soil and water, and sequestering carbon. Participants will also develop an understanding of the socio-economic benefits of forests, legal, institutional, and economic situations, and peer-to-peer educational opportunities.

For more information, contact Jennifer Gagnon, Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program Coordinator, at (540) 231-6391 or, or visit the calendar page.