SGSF Annual Meeting 2018 Informative and Productive for SREF Staff

Southern Regional Forester Dr. Bill Hubbard and SREF Extension Associate Leslie Boby traveled to Richmond Virginia on June 4 to attend the Southern Group of State Forester's 2018 Annual Meeting. The meeting, which took place from June 4 to June 7, was a successful mix of presentations, discussions, and networking that brought together forestry and natural resources professionals from around the South.

Richmond, Virginia - Southern Regional Forester Dr. Bill Hubbard and Extension Associate Leslie Boby attended the 2018 Southern Group of State Foresters (SGSF) Annual Meeting June 4-7 to present their work and network with forestry and natural resources professionals around the region.

Bill Hubbard and Leslie Boby presented information about the latest efforts and products from SREF and the Southeastern Extension forestry to the SGSF forest management committee. They emphasized recent work on wildfire and prescribed fire with other Southeastern Extension partners, new grants, and SREF's mobile application, the Service Foresters’ Toolkit.

Joe O'Brien

Dr. Joe O'Brien presents his work

Leslie Boby co-presented with Dr. Joe O’Brien, Fire Team Leader of the Center for Forest Disturbance Science of the USDA USFS Southern Research Station to the Forest Fire and Protection Committee. They shared information on the safety of conducting a prescribed burn even after a recently completed drought. Part of their presentation stated that “Well-executed prescribed fires pose little to no stress for forest stands, even after a recent drought, and improves forest health as it reduces woody competition and can restore nutrients to the soil, as well as reducing the impacts of future wildfires.” In addition, they promoted a new fact sheet on the same topic that is currently in review with an expected publication date in July or August.

Jennifer Fawcett

Extension Associate Jenn Fawcett presents her work.

SREF friends and partners Jennifer Fawcett of NCSU Extension and SERPPAS and Dr. Alan Long of Southern Fire Exchange (SFE) also presented. Jennifer Fawcett shared updates from SERPPAS’s work to promote prescribed fire across the southeast and military sentinel lands. Dr. Long discussed the latest fire science information in SFE fact sheets, newsletters and webinars and shared the latest news from other partner Fire Science Exchanges (Oak Woodlands and Appalachian).

Dr. Alan Long

Dr. Alan Long presents his work.

Dr. Hubbard and Extension Associate Boby also discussed the regional landowner education series SREF is planning with its regional partners. Modeled after the popular Master Tree Farmer program from the early 2000s, the program will feature three tiers of skill mastery ranging from the basics of land management to more intensive land management recommendations. Discussions and work are ongoing for this effort and the final format will be determined later this summer. If you are interested in helping or learning more, please email Leslie Boby at lboby@sref.info.

Russel Hubright
Russel Hubright presents Learn. Plan. Act.
 

While at the meeting, SREF learned that SGSF will be launching a broad regional campaign branded as “Learn Plan Act" and rolling it out gradually state by state in the coming months. The campaign targets “unengaged landowners.” SREF staff and the forest management committee members discussed forestry Extension staff participation. The campaign will be personalized for each state and launched in coordination with other partners (such as Extension) on a county, region or state-wide basis. South Carolina recently launched the campaign and created a website: http://southcarolina.learnplanact.org. Florida will join the campaign soon.

The lead for the campaign, Russell Hubright, Forest Management Chief for the South Carolina Forestry Commission, will supply SREF staff with a list of state campaign leads, which SREF will then share with forestry Extension. SREF will also be leading the effort to inform Extension personnel in the South about the campaign and offer them opportunities to get involved. Contact Extension Associate Leslie Boby at lboby@sref.info for more information.

Russel Hubright says about the campaign, "So many landowners in South Carolina don’t identify themselves as ‘forest owners’ and should be actively managing their woods in order to protect both their personal investment and the environment. The Learn Plan Act campaign seeks to break down the barriers for new and existing landowners so they can easily learn more about sound forest management principles, access resources to build their own forest management plan, and act on the plan.”

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