Keynote speakers named for Private Forest Landowners Conference

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A well-known conservationist and a prominent ecologist will offer keynote addresses at Penn State's first statewide Private Forest Landowners Conference.

To be held May 10-11 at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona, the event will be hosted by the College of Agricultural Sciences' Center for Private Forests. Focusing on the future of Penn's Woods, the day-and-a-half conference will reach out to owners of all sizes of woodlands, from backyard woodlot owners to those who view their woodlands as business ventures.

Saturday morning's keynote speaker will be Curt Meine, senior fellow at the Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo, Wis. He is a conservation biologist, historian, researcher and writer.

An adjunct associate professor in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Meine has worked on projects addressing such wide-ranging topics as biodiversity conservation planning, sustainable agriculture, international development, crane and wetland conservation, and prairie restoration.

He has worked in Europe and Asia and across North America in partnership with organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Conservation Union, World Wildlife Fund, the American Museum of Natural History and the International Crane Foundation.

Meine has served on the Board of Governors of the Society of Conservation Biology and on the editorial boards of the journals Conservation Biology and Environmental Ethics. He has authored several books, including such widely known titles as "Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work" and "Correction Lines: Essays on Land, Leopold, and Conservation."

The Friday evening banquet keynoter is Douglas Tallamy, professor and chair in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware. He has written more than 65 research articles and has taught insect taxonomy, behavioral ecology and other subjects.

Chief among Tallamy's research goals is to understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities.

His book, "Bringing Home Nature: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants," was critically acclaimed. The New York Times said about the book, "Tallamy's message is loud and clear: Gardeners could slow the rate of extinction by planting natives in their yards."

Pennsylvania's privately owned forests and woodlands are the state's dominant landscape feature, representing 12 million acres and owned by nearly 750,000 individuals, according to James Finley, Ibberson Professor of Forest Resources and director of the Center for Private Forests.

"These lands provide diverse benefits and values to their owners and society," he said. "To ensure the sustainability of these resources it is essential to consider their ecological, social and economic values. Doing this brings together a diverse suite of stakeholders who care about private forests."

The Private Forest Landowners Conference: The Future of Penn's Woods will spotlight the conservation and management of healthy forests, with the intent of bringing together people who want to demonstrate a commitment to forest sustainability.

"It will provide an educational forum for finding common ground, expressing shared perspectives and creating a voice for promoting forest values and responsible, purposeful forest stewardship," Finley said.

Conference presentation tracks, offered by regionally and nationally recognized experts, will include woods and wildlife, forests and water, backyard woods, planning for your forest's future, weeds and threats to forest health, recreation, tending your trees, and other topics.

Forestry, wildlife, land and water exhibitors will offer displays and demonstrations to showcase tools and services available to those interested in the woods.

The program will begin at 1 p.m. on May 10, with general and concurrent sessions. Pre-conference field tours (at additional cost to cover transportation) also will be available on the morning of May 10. There will be an optional banquet that evening with keynote addresses and a silent auction.

On May 11, the program will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with more general and concurrent sessions. All meals and breaks are included in the registration fee. There will be an opportunity to view displays and meet exhibitors in advance of the program's start.

Those interested in becoming a sponsor, an exhibitor or an attendee should contact Allyson Muth at 814-865-3208 or by email at abm173@psu.edu. Information also is available online at the website.     

Last Updated March 04, 2013