Forest Landowners Conference slated in Altoona March 24-25

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Hundreds of landowners, natural resource professionals and conservationists interested in forests will gather at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona March 24-25 to learn how to better care for their woodlands.

The attraction will be the third biennial Forest Landowners Conference, sponsored by Penn State’s Center for Private Forests in the College of Agricultural Sciences. “Enriching Woodland Values” will be the theme for this year’s conference, which will feature professional presentations, informative and inspirational keynote talks, field tours, and workshops on a variety of wildlife and woodland-related topics intended to equip landowners with information and resources to effectively steward their woods. 

“With nearly 12 million acres of woodlands held by nearly 740,000 owners in Pennsylvania alone, landowners are making decisions about the care and future of their woodlands every day,” said Jim Finley, Penn State Extension forester and director of the Center for Private Forests. “Whether it is one acre or 1,000 acres, each property is different and every owner’s relationship with the land is unique. This conference will provide the information, resources and connections needed to improve woodland stewardship at all levels.”

During the nearly 100 presentations scheduled on Friday and Saturday, conference attendees will have the opportunity to learn about improving wildlife habitat, getting invasive plants under control, ideas to generate supplemental income, tools and technology for the woods, restoring degraded woodlands, conservation strategies for the legacy of their woodland, tax tips and financial insights, and more. In addition, the exhibit hall will showcase dozens of forest-related tools and services from vendors and service providers.

Attendees can arrive early on Friday morning to attend one of the optional pre-conference field tours or in-depth workshops.

A keynote talk by Jeff Larkin, professor of wildlife ecology and conservation at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, will kick off the conference on Friday. An expert in forestry, wildlife ecology and conservation implementation, Larkin has worked closely with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to deliver conservation programs to benefit forests, forest birds, and forest owners, and also serves as the Forest Birds Habitat Coordinator for the American Bird Conservancy.

Susan Morse, founder of Keeping Track, will offer the Friday night banquet keynote address, based on her years of tracking and photographing wildlife. Bern Sweeney, director, president and senior research scientist at the Stroud Water Research Center, will close out the conference with a presentation based on his years of applied research experience, explaining stream function, ecology and protection.

Registration and conference details are available online at ecosystems.psu.edu/forest-conference. Online registration closes March 17; participants may still register through March 20 by calling 877-778-2937; walk-in registrations will also be welcomed.

Last Updated February 28, 2017