April 9, 2009
Contact: Laurel Gailor, Cornell Cooperative Extension Warren County, 518-623-3291

First Time in NNY
WANTED: Volunteers for Master Forest Owners Training

Newcomb, NY -- Cornell Cooperative Extension is looking for a few good forest owners to volunteer to meet and work with their neighbors. For the first time in Northern New York, the Master Forest Owners training program will be offered May 13-17, 2009, at the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry Adirondack Ecological Center & Huntington Forest in Newcomb, NY (Essex County).

The goal of New York’s 19-year-old Master Forest Owners (MFO) Program is to provide private forest owners with the information and encouragement necessary to manage their forests to enhance ownership satisfaction. Volunteers who complete the 4-day MFO workshop will join the corps of 175 certified volunteers across the state.

The May 13-17 training will include presentations on maple syrup production, timber sales, and growing agroforestry crops, such as mushrooms, ginseng, Golden seal and Christmas trees. Course work includes tree identification, finding boundaries, forest ecology, wildlife and sawtimber management, water quality best management practices, communication techniques, timber harvesting, and invasive species identification and management.

Forest owner Kim LaDuke of Saranac Lake, an MFO since 2004, is one of the presenters at the May training program. LaDuke says, “As an MFO, my goal is to provide how-to information and resources to landowners. I try to present a balanced approach of the pros and cons of different options for those have a variety of objectives, such as selling sell timber and creating habitat for ruffed grouse, deer or other wildlife.”

LaDuke says the most popular question people ask is “how can I make money with my land.”

“This training covers the economic as well as environmental issues in our forests and prepares the Master Forest Owners to help neighbors learn more about their woodlots and make better decisions for their management. We are lucky to host this quality training for the first time in the Adirondacks,” says Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County Executive Director Anita Deming.

Registration deadline for the MFO training is April 24. A $50.00 registration fee upon acceptance helps defray lodging, publications, food, and equipment costs. Prior to applying, those interested in the training must invite a current MFO volunteer to their forest property for a visit and contact their local Cornell Cooperative Extension educator. A program application and a listing of current MFOs are online at www.cornellmfo.info.

To obtain an information packet and application, send name and address to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County, 377 Schroon River Road, Warrensburg, NY 12885; 518-623-3291 or email: warren@cornell.edu.

The MFO training program is co-sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension, Northern Forest Partnership, North East State Foresters Association, New York Forest Owners Association, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Lands & Forests, Robert H. Wentorf, Jr. Foundation, and U.S.D.A. Renewable Resources Extension Program. The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program provides resources on sugar maple forest management online at www.nnyagdev.org. #

More info: The four-day NY Master Forest Owner Training Program includes:
• Dinner & introductions to NY MFO & Cornell University Department of Natural Resources programs, Huntington Forest resources, NY Forest Owners Association, regional resources
• Introduction to MFO Notebook Resource
• The Do’s & Don’ts of a Forest Owner Visit
• NYS Forester and Wildlife Biologist presentations
• Field exercises
• Forest ecology, woodland management for amphibians and reptiles
• Maple syrup production, leasing and sugarbush management
• Forest management and invasive species, erosion control, agroforestry opportunities
• Sawtimber economics and arranging a timber sale
• Forest bird species
• What to expect in your role as an MFO volunteer, making contacts and planning
• Presentation of certificates.